Jewish Cultural Tour

By Shayne Benowitz | Feb 12, 2018
Jewish Museum of Florida
The Jewish Museum of Florida's collection is housed inside two historic Art Deco synagogues

Take a tour through Miami’s Jewish cultural highlights with this curated itinerary.

Most travelers, and even a few locals, don’t necessarily associate the Magic City’s party-life reputation with the traditional values nestled among some of its longtime rooted communities. Some may even be shocked to learn that Miami has a rich Jewish cultural history that dates back to the 18th century. But we’re hear to help you dive deep into everything that makes Miami the melting pot it is by curating a day trip that allows you to explore some of these hallmarks, from the Jewish Museum of Florida to the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach. While you’re at it, indulge in delicious Jewish deli grub and kosher meals during this daylong itinerary exploring Miami’s Jewish culture.

Breakfast at Roasters 'n Toasters

Get your day started on the right foot with a classic New York-style bagel and schmear at Roasters & Toasters on Miami Beach’s 41st Street corridor. Order a freshly baked bagel or bialy with your choice of plain, scallion or nova cream cheese. You can also enjoy lox and bagels here or a heartier breakfast of omelets, corn beef hash and matzoh brie. Reenact your favorite Monk’s Café scenes from Seinfeld. Whatever makes you giddy and ready to tackle the day. This is a historically Orthodox Jewish area and it’s worth your time to take a little stroll along the boulevard after breakfast to people watch and window shop.

Jewish Miami Beach Walking Tour

If you’re in town on the second Sunday of the month, make plans to join the Miami Design Preservation League’s Jewish Miami Beach Walking Tour departing at 11 a.m. outside the Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive. A knowledgeable guide will recount the history of Jews in Miami over the last century with stories of prominent individuals and institutions, while also exploring Miami’s unique architecture that rose over this period of time.

Jewish Museum of Florida – FIU

The Jewish Museum’s collection is housed inside two historic Art Deco synagogues in South Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood. The permanent exhibition, “MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, 1763 to Present” features photos and artifacts exploring the Florida Jewish experience over three centuries. It also hosts a wide variety of fascinating temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Lunch at Josh’s Deli

By around lunchtime, that morning bagel has burned its last fill of calories so head north to Surfside and snag a stool at the counter at Josh’s Deli for a modern take on traditional Jewish deli fare featuring a constantly changing menu of crave-worthy comfort food. Breakfast and lunch is served all day, so take your pick from matzoh ball soup to latkes with apples and sour cream to hand cut, house cured corned beef sandwiches. The daily specials are always worth a gander too.

Holocaust Memorial

Miami Beach is home to a moving Holocaust Memorial at the corner of Meridian Avenue and Dade Boulevard. It features a dramatic, larger-than-life, bronze sculpture of an arm rising from the earth by artist Kenneth Treister surrounded by a tranquil pond with lily pads and a memorial wall with engraved names of those who perished in the Holocaust. It’s a sobering memorial that truly makes you ponder, reflect and remember.

Self-guided Synagogue Stroll

Just a short stroll south on Meridian from the Holocaust Memorial, you’ll reach 17th Street where you’ll find both Temple Beth Shmuel, which is the Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, and Temple Emanu-El, a conservative synagogue, a few blocks away from each other. Each building is significant for its unique historic architecture. It’s also a chance to get a glimpse at contemporary Jewish life in Miami.

Dinner at Kosh

Kosh is a classic kosher steakhouse in Surfside—with a twist! In addition to traditional steakhouse fare, Kosh also has an extensive sushi menu. For the carnivores, start with a classic Caesar salad and move onto the ribeye steak with mashed potatoes. They’ve also got an incredible miso sea bass and tamarind duck. For the sushi lover, they have every roll under the rainbow, from spicy tuna to California, as well as signature rolls, like the happy jalapeno made with Hamachi, avocado, cilantro and lime.

Catch a Show at the Jewish Cultural Arts Center

Housed inside the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Beach, the Jewish Cultural Arts Center is a thriving hub for the performing arts in Miami’s Jewish community. Their 2018 Youth & Community Season includes productions of Avenue Q, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Kindertransport. Check their calendar ahead of your trip and snag tickets.

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