Remembering those lost and honoring humanity

On display May 6 – June 21, Leon Family Gallery, Sandler Family Campus

To commemorate Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of acts of terror, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, the Leon Family Gallery at the Simon Family JCC will feature two special exhibits.

The exhibits will encompass two walls, creating an L-shaped gallery that will honor the approximately 1,600 people who have lost their lives in Israel since the attacks on October 7, 2023, as well as the Israelis who have continued to show bravery and strength over the last six months.

On the first wall, which will become a hall of remembrance for weeks leading up to and following Yom HaZikaron, the names and ages of each Oct. 7 victim, fallen soldier, and victims of terror attacks since the Israel-Hamas war began will be listed. The names will be accompanied by various Israeli artists’ work that memorialize the lives lost.

The second wall will feature a collection of portraits by renowned Israeli photographer Erez Kaganovitz, illustrating the Humans of October 7. Kaganovitz’s work, Humans of Tel Aviv, was previously featured in the Leon Family Gallery.

“As an artist and a photojournalist,” Kaganovitz says, “I feel it’s imperative to fight back against [misconceptions about Israel] and rising antisemitism by showing the human side of Israel. From my experience, highlighting the human elements of Israel can provide a reminder of what Israeli society is all about and what we are actually fighting for.”

Paired together, as Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut are, the goal of both exhibits is to help the community grieve and remember those lost to inhumanity while also celebrating Israel’s humanity and resilience.

The Leon Family Gallery is located on the second floor of the Simon Family JCC on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community. For hours and more information, visit or contact Hunter Thomas, director of Arts + Ideas, at

This exhibit is funded in part by the citizens of Virginia Beach through a grant from the City of Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission