Featured Ads

Move
Display 0 | 5 | 10 | 15 Stories

Latest News

Topics
Top Story

KC Leadership Tomorrow gives summer interns valuable experience while helping nonprofits

KC Leadership Tomorrow gives summer interns valuable experience while helping nonprofits

Rae Pfau is the first paid employee the Mitzvah Garden has ever had. She serves this summer as the garden’s volunteer coordinator and is being paid through KC Leadership Tomorrow, a summer internship... Read more...

The Blue Card available to assist older Holocaust survivors; JFS makes local connection

The Blue Card available to assist older Holocaust survivors; JFS makes local connection

Every year, the number of Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle. Statistics indicate that of the 75,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States, about one-third live below poverty level. While... Read more...

B’nai Jehudah announces ‘interim’ year of music

Coleen Dieker The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah has announced to its congregation that it is embarking on a journey of musical exploration that they are calling “an interim year of music.”... Read more...

Listening Post

CDC teachers Barbara Abramowitz and Liz Bigus. STUDENT BECOMES CO-TEACHER — About 20 years ago Elizabeth Bigus was a 3-year-old preschool student in Barbara Abramowitz’s class at the Jewish Community... Read more...

Visitors, residents send K.C. folks messages they are safe

Members of the Jewish Federation’s Shorashim 2 mission visited an Iron Dome command center outside of Ashkelon in May 2014. Shorashim 2 was a mission for men only to learn about contemporary issues facing... Read more...

Special fundraising campaigns initiated: Israel needs you now

Late last week the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, through the Jewish Federations of North American, launched Operation Relief and Respite in response to the current tensions in Israel. Read more...

Survivorship courses to help cancer survivors incorporate ‘Back in the Swing’ lifestyle

Among other things, Barbara Unell spoke about the ‘Back in the Swing Cookbook’ at The Duke Cancer Center Survivorship Center in Durham, N.C., last fall. “This is a plan for wellness versus illness.”... Read more...

NCJW Back to School Store offers new clothing, school supplies to underprivileged kids

National Council of Jewish Women’s Back to School Store will impact 200 children living in poverty in the Kansas City metro area, primarily from Jackson County, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan. Read more...

Israeli Scouts to bring high-energy performance to Campus, B’nai Jehudah

Friendship Caravan Assif While things in their home country are a little tense, a group of young Israelis will be here to share their talents and their love of their country. On Friday, July 25, the Friendship... Read more...

Listening Post

Howard Haas (left) and Rabbi Morey Schwartz in Jerusalem. MELTON@HBHA — While traveling in Israel, Howard Haas, head of school at the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, met with Rabbi Morey Schwartz in Jerusalem... Read more...

Move
Display 0 | 5 | 10 | 15 Stories

Opinion

Topics
Top Story

Letters to the Editor

Why can’t Jews speak Hebrew? How come so few Jews in North America know how to speak Hebrew? Sure a lot of them know how to read Hebrew from Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and there is a flowery English translation... Read more...

Why we’re letting our daughter stay in Israel in wartime

Let’s just say that missiles and bomb shelters were not on the itinerary of our 16-year-old daughter’s pilgrimage trip to Israel this summer. I spoke to her this morning. Yeah, the alarms are unnerving,... Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Half-truths and anti-Semitism I was irate after watching the late CNN news on July 10. Anderson Cooper pretended to deliver a factual report about Israel’s bombing of Arab residences, with a slight... Read more...

Amidst turmoil, life in Israel continues to be meaningful

My mother wants me to come home. I’ve been calling her every day, and she wants me on a plane immediately. She has been watching the news and following events as they unfold here in Israel and she is... Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Conference gives families hope My husband Harold and I were fortunate to attend the Mucolipidosis Type 4 (ML4) Foundation Family & Research Conference last month in Atlanta. ML4, a relatively unknown... Read more...

We mourn three senseless deaths caused by hate, again

Our Jewish community has held two memorial services in the last three months — 77 days apart to be exact. Thousands of people attended the first one, as the Jewish community grieved for the senseless... Read more...

‘Soul Encounters’ reminds us of Rebbe’s message

Rabbi Sholom Wineberg The name “Soul Encounters” appropriately identified the program at Chabad House Center, which took place Tuesday, July 1, 3rd of Tammuz. Nearly 100 people attended. Read more...

Letter to the Editor

No champion of Jewish values I cannot share Washington Jewish Week/JNS.orgreporter Dmitriy Shapiro’s lament for the demise of Eric Cantor’s political career (The Chronicle, June 19, or www.jns.org),... Read more...

Federation mission gives participants unique look at Eastern European Jews

Alan Widman (left) and Stacey Belzer (right) visit with Sybil Sylvian in June. Sylvian’s picture was featured on Page 1 of The Chronicle in January as part of a story about the KU Hillel European Leadership... Read more...

'State of Deception' exhibition should not be missed

“Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert.” — Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf,” 1924   I attended a press preview this week for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museums... Read more...

Move
Display 0 | 5 | 10 | 15 Stories

Celebrations

Topics
Top Story

Chase Bat Mitzvah

Chase Bat Mitzvah

Debbie and Jeff Chase announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Talia Faye, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Congregation Beth Torah. Read more...

Passer-Wolkofsky Engagement

Passer-Wolkofsky Engagement

Sandy and Steve Passer announce the engagement of their daughter, Emily Passer, to Peter Wolkofsky, son of Michael and Vicky Wolkofsky of Queens, N.Y. Read more...

Zwillenberg 50th Anniversary

Morris and Linda (Fein) Zwillenberg will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, July 26. They were married at Beth Shalom Synagogue in Hartford, Conn., on July 26, 1964. Read more...

Halasz Birth

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz and Scott Halasz of Dayton, Ohio, announce the birth May 6 of a son, Ethan Falk Halasz. They are also the parents of another son, Jonah. Read more...

Unell Bat Mitzvah

Joe and Marcia Unell announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Alyssa Unell, on June 26 at Haas Promenade in Jerusalem. Read more...

Zeldin B'nai Mitzvah

Ashlyn and Alexis Zeldin celebrated their Bat Mitzvah commitment ceremony on June 6 in Santa Barbara, Calif. They are the daughters of Janine and Kevin Zeldin of St Louis, Mo. Read more...

Badzin-Fineman Engagement

Jim and Fern Badzin, Leawood, announce the engagement of their daughter, Brooke Michelle Badzin, to Nathan Gabriel Fineman, both of Chicago, son of Glen and Holly Fineman, Omaha, Neb. Read more...

Bergman-Kaplan Engagement

Victor and Susan Bergman announce the engagement of their daughter, Ruthie Bergman, to Asher Kaplan, son of Shlomo Kaplan, Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., and Judith Kaplan, Boca Raton, Fla. Read more...

Reidy Wedding

Jennifer Mayer and James Reidy were married Saturday, March 1, at the Overland Park Marriott. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Read more...

Alpert Birth

Jeremy and Ashley Alpert of Overland Park announce the birth May 28 of a son, Levi Caleb. Levi joins big brother Jonah Doni. Read more...

Move
Display 0 | 5 | 10 | 15 Stories

Obituaries

Topics
Top Story

Silverman, Inge B.

Inge B. Silverman, 83, of Leawood, passed away Thursday, July 17, 2014, at Menorah Medical Center. Read more...

Warshawsky, Arnold

Warshawsky, Arnold

Arnold Warshawsky passed away on Friday, July 18, 2014, after a lengthy battle with health issues for almost a decade, including COPD. Read more...

Waxman, Michael Bernard

Michael Bernard Waxman, 63, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Baldwin City, Kan., on July 16, 2014. Read more...

Chick, Stephen

Stephen Bruce Chick of Prairie Village passed away peacefully on Monday, July 7, 2014. Read more...

Freed, Ronald

Ronald Lee Freed passed away on Monday, July 14, 2014. Read more...

Gladstone, Donald

Donald H. Gladstone, 93, of Overland Park, passed away Thursday, July 10, 2014. Read more...

Hammer, Robert L.

Robert L. Hammer, 73, passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Read more...

Hoffman, Dorothy

Dorothy Lillian Hoffman, 91, of Leawood, passed away on Sunday, July 6, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Megerman, Charles

Charles Megerman, 67, of Overland Park, passed away Monday, July 14, 2014, at his home. Read more...

Plotsky, Edward

Edward Plotsky, 68, of Reno, Nev., passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at his home. A private service and interment will be in Reno. Read more...

Beth Torah Weiner Religious School earns national accreditation

“ ‘I’ll just have to see for myself’ was Marlene Myerson’s response when I told her that parents did not just drop their children off for Sunday religious school classes; but instead they stayed in the building and often attended family worship with their students,” explained Marcia Rittmaster, religious school and youth groups director at Congregation Beth Torah.

Rittmaster was referring to the September 2013 site visit by the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) Accreditation Team led by Myerson. But when Myerson arrived her doubts were put aside. Unlike many Reform congregations across the country where religious schools are “drop off” centers for parents, Myerson walked into the building to find nearly 100 adults hanging out for Sunday Schmooze and News while their students attended Sunday classes.

Commendations in the NATE accreditation report highlight the “sense of a warm and welcoming community that exists among the staff, the leadership and the congregants.” The nearly three-year process included interviews of the congregational staff and lay leadership, teaching staff, students and parents; detailed documentation of the policies and procedures of the Weiner Religious school (including the parent handbook), marketing materials, progress reports, lesson plans and even a map of the facility; budget information; evaluation of the congregation and the school vision; review of the curriculum and teaching materials; a staff visit by NATE; and much more.

A summary of the findings stated: “Your program is an excellent one, led by dedicated and committed staff who care about their students and each other, and who work in tandem in order to offer congregants an outstanding Jewish education.”

In addition to evaluating the nuts and bolts of a Jewish education program, the accreditation process is designed to help congregations reflect upon their mission.

Rabbi Mark Levin said that since the inception of the congregation, education served as a focal point of all other programs.

“The school has served as the core for developing a sense of community in Congregation Beth Torah from the beginning,” he said.

Led by Rabbi Educator Rebecca Reice and Rittmaster, Sunday morning classes for pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students include classroom study, family school once a year and weekly family worship. Midweek Hebrew begins in fourth grade as students and families begin to think about Bar and Bat Mitzvah. The Keshet program is for fourth- through sixth-graders; the TAG program is for seventh- through 10th-graders. Post-confirmation students stay involved by serving as madrichim.

With lifelong learning programs a requirement for accreditation, the NATE team looked closely at the opportunities for adult education at Beth Torah. Impressed with the variety of programs the report stated: “The congregation offers a variety of programs that address the needs of learners of all ages.”

Lifelong learning was described as innovative, including speakers, discussion groups and current event forums as well as opportunities for travel to Israel.

Rabbi Reice stated that “the core of her pride in Beth Torah educational programs could be explained by the support shown from an Adult B’nai Mitzvah class.” When one of the older students in the class died suddenly, the class organized food and provided a caring community to help support the family in the face of this tragedy. “We always say ‘we are the community we need.’ Learning together helps us build that community.”

Although the process is complete and the accreditation awarded, the impact will continue as Congregation Beth Torah continues to reflect the spirit of Reform Judaism by placing learning as the central goal of its community. Currently the board of directors is reviewing the recommendations and engaging in plans to incorporate technology into the learning programs without sacrificing personal relationships and community building.

Of the more than 900-member congregations of the Union for Reform Judaism, Beth Torah joins an elite group of only 20 other congregations with accredited religious schools. That represents 2 percent of reform congregations in the United States and Canada, and is the only accredited school in Kansas or Missouri.

Members of the congregation’s NATE Accreditation Team, responsible for completing the application process from beginning to end, were: Shari Blank, Debbie Chase, Sheila Ginsberg, Henri Goettel, chairperson Robin Hendrikse, Diana Hurst, Elizabeth Lenz, Sanam Millerlile, Aaron Nielsenshultz, Rabbi Reice, Aaron Rittmaster, School Director Marcia Rittmaster and Elaine Tobias.