Following a national search, the Board of Directors of the Jewish Museum of Florida (JMOF) has announced that Jo Ann Arnowitz will be the next Executive Director. This appointment is effective October 1, 2011, upon the retirement of Founding Executive Director, Marcia Jo Zerivitz, who retains that title for the life of the museum.
Linda Zilber, president of the Museum’s Board, said, “We are so pleased to have Jo Ann as our next director of the JMOF. She has been an important part of our development and growth. The board looks forward to her leadership and working with her in reaching new goals.”
Chair of the Museum’s transition committee and JMOF past president Ira Giller, said, “We selected our Associate Director, Jo Ann Arnowitz, based upon her merit and professional standing. She will begin the next leadership generation of the Jewish Museum of Florida with a running start and a seamless transition.”
Jo Ann Arnowitz has, indeed, been part of the success of JMOF. She joined the staff in 1998 as Membership and Development Associate and in 2002, was named Associate Director. For 13 years, Arnowitz and Zerivitz have worked together as a team, collaborating on all aspects of the Museum’s operations and programs. “Marcia & I even finish each other’s sentences,” said Arnowitz, about the close relationship they developed to create and execute all Museum decisions and functions.
Jo Ann has more than 30 years of museum experience that began with 14 years at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the American Friends of the Israel Museum, followed by the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY. She currently serves on the Board of the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) and has helped plan their annual conferences. A native of Chicago, IL, Jo Ann is a 1978 graduate of the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Advertising.
Marcia Jo Zerivitz, overwhelmed with emotion when the announcement was made, stated, “I was so relieved that Jo Ann will be taking JMOF to the next phase of development. She is very smart and informed about museums, knows every detail of our operation and loves the Museum with a passion equal to mine. Working together, the leadership, supporters, membership and professional staff have accomplished so much in just 16 years. We have a strong, focused and unique mission in a most unique space, have presented more than 60 exhibitions and hundreds of public programs for adults, have a creative and effective student program and our important collection grows daily. We are stable and internationally known and the opportunities for creativity and growth are limitless.
“Moses did not get to the Promised Land. A person never accomplishes ALL that he/she wants to accomplish. You do as much as you can humanly do to create something and move it forward and your consolation is knowing that there is a Joshua to follow. Jo Ann is JMOF’s Joshua,” said Zerivitz.
“I am excited about this opportunity to build on the solid foundation Marcia has established to carry on the important work of our Museum and guide us into our next stage of growth. Working in partnership with our leadership towards our shared vision, I am confident that we will continue to thrive. I am proud of what we have achieved together to create our Museum’s stellar reputation in the community and around the world, and invite everyone to join in our efforts to go from strength to strength.”
The Jewish Museum of Florida on South Beach is housed in two adjacent lovingly restored historic buildings that were once synagogues for Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation. The focal point of the Museum is its core exhibit MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida 1763 to the Present and temporary history and art exhibits that change periodically. Opening in September are: Rabbi Irving Lehrman: His Life & Art and Wooden Synagogues of Poland & The Florida Connection. A Collections & Research Center, several films, Timeline Wall of Jewish history, Museum Store and Bessie’s Bistro complete the experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. The Museum is located at 301 Washington Avenue, South Beach and is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays and Civil and Jewish holidays. Admission: Adults/$6; Seniors/$5; Families/$12; Members and children under 6/Always Free; Saturdays/Free
Jewish Museum of Florida
301 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139