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The J receives grant for field renovation: Expansion allows for new partnership with Kansas City Christian School and softball for girls

The J receives grant  for field renovation: Expansion allows for new partnership with  Kansas City Christian School and softball for girls

A rendering of the renovated baseball field at The J, which is expected to be complete by summer 2018. Read more...

PrayerWorks provides path for healing

PrayerWorks provides path for healing

The group of people who comprise PrayerWorks meets regularly at Congregation Beth Shalom and is celebrating the group’s 20th anniversary later this month. Shown here are Carol Goldstein (front row, from... Read more...

Jewish Culture Fest celebrates its 10th event, features 45 artists

Handmade felt flowers in multiple colors embellish headbands made by Amy Ravis Furey. Headbands fit all sizes and vary in complexity. Read more...

Listening Post

Screenshot of Sonia Warshawski being interviewed on Fox 4 KC. FLOOD IMPACTS YACHAD JEWISH COMMUNITY FOOD PANTRY — A few weeks ago we reported in this column that the Chabad House — its preschool in... Read more...

New KU Hillel director plans to keep program growing and evolving

In late July, Leadership Tomorrow awarded KU Hillel a $1,200 grant for its Challah for Hunger project. Money from the grant will go to purchase equipment to make challah and education regarding food insecurity.... Read more...

Eucalyptus West: A partnership 15 years in the making

Chef Moshe Basson in front of his restaurant, Eucalyptus, in Jerusalem, Israel. The internationally renowned chef will host a pop-up restaurant during Jewish Culture Fest on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Jewish... Read more...

Jewish professor leads effort to fight Epstein-Barr virus

Brandon DeKosky Read more...

Day of Discovery to offer two new innovative programs

Rabbi Daniel Kirzane of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, presented a class last year and will do so again this year. On Aug. 27 he will present ‘Jerusalem in Jewish Tradition — Nine Portions... Read more...

Scholar to explain Jewish calendar before total eclipse of the sun

Rabbi Dovid Heber Read more...

First person report - KU student experiences horror in West Bank

Paige Krug Read more...

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Be a Point of Light

Be a Point of Light

The news coming out of Israel, and here in the U.S., this summer leaves all peace-loving people in shock. A 19-year-old, a person in the prime of life, walks into a Jewish home on Friday night with... Read more...

Funding allows SAFEHOME’s Jewish Outreach program to continue

Funding allows SAFEHOME’s Jewish Outreach program to continue

  Thank you to the Flo Harris Foundation for continued funding of SAFEHOME’s Jewish Outreach Program for 2017-2018. Read more...

Letter to the Editor

‘Safety Net’ for all Governor Brownback proclaimed Aug. 13-19 as Primary Care Safety Net Clinic Week, a time to recognize primary care clinics providing a “safety net” for all, including the... Read more...

For those facing grief and loss, new book provides help

“Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and  Finding Joy”  by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Knopf, 2017) Many of us like to take some extra time during the summer with a good... Read more...

New historic novel weaves a literary mystery

“The Weight of Ink,”  by Rachel Kadish,  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 hardcover, June 6, 2017 Riveting narrative, well-honed characters, emotionally rewarding novel, rich detail, suspenseful.... Read more...

JWRP impacts mom from Kansas City in unexpected way

Those taking part in this year’s trip to Israeli included Kim Matsil (from left), Renee Polsky Silver, Adina Glass, Addie Harte, Rhea Nadler, Jennifer Schlozman, Vanessa Lehman and Andrea Levitan. Read more...

Reflections from my Berlin journey; am Yisrael chai

Not too long ago, I stood at the Tiergarten public park in the center of Berlin, Germany. That’s just a short distance away from the former location of a villa where more than 60 Nazi bureaucrats worked... Read more...

Israel, haredim, liberal Jews, and the Kotel Hama’aravi

Theodore Herzl founded modern Zionism for a single purpose: to normalize Jewish existence among the nations and thereby end anti-Semitism. Read more...

KU student brings Passover to Lawrence this summer

Danny Caine Read more...

Repeal of ACA will cause too much suffering

More than any other vote since President Trump’s inauguration, the vote on repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will determine the character and future of our nation. Read more...

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Celebrations

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Unowsky Bar Mitzvah

Unowsky Bar Mitzvah

Micah Unowsky Read more...

Okun Klein Engagement

Heather Okun and Daniel Klein Read more...

Schifman Nathanson Engagement

Lori Anne Schifman and Craig Mitchell Nathanson Read more...

Schifman Birth

Hannah Elizabeth Schifman Read more...

Simchowitz elected to Park University board of trustees

The governing body of Park University — its board of trustees — has elected four individuals to serve as members of the Board. Vince Clark, Anthony Melchiorri, Cyprienne Simchowitz, J.D., and Troy... Read more...

60th Wedding Anniversary

Nancy and Philip Reicher Read more...

Bass Bat Mitzvah

Tori Bass Read more...

Fehr Mankiewicz Engagement

Christopher Mankiewicz and Rachel Lynn Fehr Read more...

Truman Medical Centers’ Katz wins Trust Builder Award

Seth Katz Read more...

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Obituaries

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Fisher, Dr. Harvey F.

Fisher, Dr. Harvey F.

Dr. Harvey F. Fisher, Ph.D., 94, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at his home. Graveside services were set to take place Wednesday, Aug. 16, at Rose Hill Cemetery. In lieu... Read more...

Silver-Dunbar, Sonja

Silver-Dunbar, Sonja

Sonja Silver-Dunbar, 56, of Kansas City, Missouri, passed away Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, at Lee’s Summit Medical Center. Graveside services were held Aug. 14 at Mount Carmel Cemetery. In lieu of flowers,... Read more...

Yeddis Alexander (Al)

Alexander (Al) Yeddis, 97, passed away on June 8, 2017, in Overland Park, Kansas. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Jacob and Sonya Yeddis. Read more...

Zarr, Mortimer Benjamin

Ben Zarr, 93, of Overland Park, Kansas, died Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Funeral services were held Aug. 11 at Louis Memorial Chapel; burial followed at Rose Hill Cemetery. Read more...

Levitch, Joel

Joel Levitch, 74, a Kansas City native and long-time New Yorker, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Aug. 2, in Fort Lauderdale. The family had a private ceremony. Read more...

Castrianni, Dolores S.

Dolores S. Castrianni, 88, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away Saturday, July 22, 2017, at Menorah Medical Center. Graveside services and burial were held Tuesday, July 25, at Sheffield Cemetery.... Read more...

Kopin, Donald Jay

Donald Kopin, 88, previously of Overland Park, Kansas, died peacefully in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 20, 2017, where he had resided over the last year. Donald was born on Aug. 30, 1928, in Kansas... Read more...

Bohm, Elizabeth "Liz"

Elizabeth “Liz” Bohm, 90, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on July 15, 2017. Funeral services were held Monday, July 17, at Louis Memorial Chapel; interment... Read more...

Hurst, Morton Leon

Morton L. Hurst, 89, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away peacefully Saturday, July 15, 2017, at the Kansas City Hospice House. Funeral services were held Tuesday, July 18, at The Louis Memorial Chapel,... Read more...

Krug, Stuart Elliot

Stuart Elliott Krug, 69, of Las Vegas, Nevada, passed away on Saturday, July 15, 2017, from Crohn’s disease. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 20, 2017, at The Louis Memorial Chapel,... Read more...

Kansas City leader discovers why Brussels matters

BRUSSELS — A recent festive gathering in the capital of Belgium, saluting the vital importance of the relationship between Europe and the United States, highlighted the unique role of one Jewish organization, AJC, in deepening those ties. The occasion was the 10th anniversary celebration of the AJC Transatlantic Institute (TAI).

“We are here tonight to celebrate our shared values,” TAI Director Daniel Schwammenthal told the audience of more than 250. Dozens of European Parliament members, ambassadors to the EU and Belgium, Jewish leaders from across Europe, and civil society partners, as well as AJC leaders from across the United States, participated in the gala, which took place in the same hotel ballroom where AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization headquartered in New York, launched its Brussels operation in 2004.

“Brussels is the political nerve center of Europe,” said Harvey Kaplan, a long-time leader in the Kansas City Jewish community, who traveled to Brussels for the celebration and related meetings with European policymakers. “Understanding what takes place here, what the European Union does, is enormously important for us because it touches directly on the challenges that confront Jews, indeed democratic countries, worldwide.” Kaplan is a member of the board of directors and former chair of the JCRB/AJC.

Before the gala, the large AJC delegation spent two and a half days in intensive meetings with European parliamentarians, Jewish leaders and policy analysts, discussing the Iranian nuclear threat, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the impact of Muslim immigrants on Europe, and anti-Semitism.

Ambassador Pierre Vimont, executive secretary general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), briefed the AJC group on current EU foreign policy priorities. The EEAS supports EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton in conducting the common foreign and security policy of the 28-member state regional bloc. In that capacity Ashton has been the lead interlocutor on behalf of the P5+1 in talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

The AJC group also visited the European Parliament to discuss EU-Israel Relations. “It was gratifying to hear directly from a Dutch member of the European Parliament, Bastiaan Belder, who chairs the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Israel,” said Kaplan. 

But rising anti-Semitism across Europe, revealed in a penetrating EU survey last year, was a disturbing theme percolating throughout the mission. “Our conversations with the leadership of the Brussels-based European Union of Jewish Students, who shared the challenges confronting Jewish students on campuses across Europe, were eye-opening and worrisome,” said Kaplan.  

So is the potential outcome of the European Parliament elections, slated for May. A significant percentage of the parliament’s 766 members could be representatives of fascist, neo-Nazi parties. That would pose a challenge to the values of European democratic societies for the next five years.

Launching TAI in 2004 fulfilled a vision of AJC Executive Director David Harris, who has led the expansion of the organization’s global reach over the past 24 years. TAI was made possible by the visionary support of Rhoda Baruch and her late husband, Jordan. Establishing a permanent presence in Brussels was a prescient move, indicative of AJC’s global mission. EU membership has grown from 15 states to 28 over the past decade, an expansion that AJC has supported.

During its first 10 years, TAI has informed a broad range of European leaders in Brussels on a number of pressing issues of concern to the transatlantic community, including Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli-Arab peace process, terrorism, human rights, energy security, integration of immigrants, and, not least, anti-Semitism in Europe. 

“Hate crimes are a growing problem in Europe,” Cecilia Malmström, European commissioner for Home Affairs, said in her keynote address to the TAI gala. “It is time for the EU and its Member States to act firmly against it.”

The EU has reported a rise in hate crimes against gays, Muslims, and Jews. “Anti-Semitic hate crime was experienced by one in every four Jews in Europe,” according to a recent EU survey, Malmström said. “Young Jews are afraid to go to school, even in my own country of Sweden.”

All EU Member States are “obliged to ensure that hate crimes are investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted,” she added.

Other speakers at the gala included Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders; Francois-Xavier de Donnea, chair of the Belgian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee; Israeli Ambassador to the EU David Walzer; and U.S. Acting Chief of Mission to the EU Robert Wood.

“Transatlantic cooperation today is vibrant, and the AJC Transatlantic Institute is making an important contribution to the strengthening of this relationship,” said Donnea.