It should come as no surprise that the Jewish community in South Beach has often defied the status quo.Barbara Capitman was a Jewish woman who defied the establishment. Capitman fought city officials “tooth and nail” to preserve the historical buildings that light up Miami Beach and make it the second most popular place in Florida. If not for her vision and perseverance, there would not be an Art Deco District. The over 800 Art Deco buildings that remain are testaments to Capitman’s defiance. The Art Deco District was the first 20th century neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places much to her efforts. The Miami Design Preservation League continues Capitman’s legacy. What’s more, Henry Hohauser, an architect who was Jewish, built over 300 Art Deco buildings. Hohauser lived in an era when signs “Gentiles Only” and “No Jews Allowed” were commonplace in South Beach. Jews were not even allowed to live beyond 5th Street. Visit one of Hohauser’s buildings and experience first hand the story of Jewish culture in Florida. Hohauser’s building, once a synagogue, is now the home of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Eighty stained glass windows, a copper dome, and chandeliers are reminders of the days when Hohauser and others worshipped in the synagogue. Taste and see the Jewish experience during the Jewish Food Tour that leaves from the Museum. Learn how the Jewish community thrived despite many obstacles. Facing off with those who thought South Beach should be known only as a place for “fun in the sun,” Holocaust survivors garnered public support for the building of the Holocaust Memorial. A memorial garden and a sobering sculpture recall those who died and remind all who visit: “we shall NEVER forget.” The impact of Jewish culture permeates every aspect of the city. Mount Sinai Hospital was built because Jewish doctors weren’t given staff privileges at area hospitals. The Bass Museum scheduled to reopen in the fall, is named in honor of John and Johanna Bass, Jewish immigrants who bequeathed over 500 works of art to the City of Miami Beach. It is said that obstacles are opportunities. Fighting bias and opposition, the Jewish community realized that no means yes in South Beach.
Art can unite us. After the recent attacks in Paris, countries around the world lit up their landmarks with France’s national colors to display solidarity with the French people.
Terrorists hate unity. Hitler sought division and invaded France. Hitler like the terrorists committed suicide. After his demise, the monuments of France stood still. The bells of Notre Dame speak while the corpses of the fallen terrorists are silent.
Art has always been the heart of Paris. Terrorists used a satirical drawing as an excuse to strike the heart of Paris and slaughter innocent people.
The pen is mightier than the sword. The drawing remains intact while the terrorist fighting against it in Paris have perished.
Art outlives dictators and terrorists. Even now decayed ruins speak in Rome and Greece. Art is the foundation of culture.
Terrorists and madmen seem to be at war with art. They know the power of art. Destroying monuments are their futile attempts to rewrite history.
Viva La France!