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Following tragedy, Jewish Federation hires community security director

Following tragedy, Jewish Federation hires community security director

Blair Hawkins It’s been said that from all bad things come something good. In the Jewish community, 155 days after the tragedy on April 13 in which three people were murdered in the parking lots of... Read more...

Two KCUSY alums running Nativ gap year program in Israel

Two KCUSY alums running Nativ gap year program in Israel

Elana Goldberg David Helfand For the first time ever, two people from Kansas City’s USY chapter — Elana Goldberg and David Helfand — are serving as the American leaders of Nativ in Israel. Both... Read more...

Listening Post

BORTNICK HERE TONIGHT — Ethan Bortnick will be performing a live concert at 6 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Folley Theater. As of Monday tickets were still available. You may remember he was... Read more...

Rabbi recounts irony of Susan Choucroun’s murder

This photo was taken at Congregation Ohev Sholom on Labor Day, after the morning minyan, the day before Susan Choucroun was murdered. Choucroun is standing on the right, dressed in the dark pink shirt... Read more...

KU Chabad launches first ever Torah-writing project for Lawrence

Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel opened the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Lawrence, Kan., along with his wife and co-director Nechama, eight years ago. During that time KU Chabad has never had its own Torah, always... Read more...

Beans&Greens Program a win-win for farmers, low-income families

As part of the Beans&Greens program, low-income families can take their SNAP debit cards to participating farmers markets, where they receive tokens to purchase SNAP-eligible food. We live in the... Read more...

Amy Shapiro to be honored with Federation Young Leadership Award

Amy Shapiro When it comes to Jewish Federation leadership, Amy Shapiro’s actions speak volumes. She’s been through local leadership development programs, attended national conferences and international... Read more...

Local adviser celebrates 60 years in finance

Seymour Krinsky Seymour Krinsky likes to joke that he made a career transition from “spiritual wealth to material wealth.”  Read more...

As Yom Kippur approaches, it’s time to think about the need to get even

“Payback: The Case for Revenge,” by Thane Rosenbaum. University of Chicago Press, 2013. With Ferguson in the news, the horrendous murders in South Kansas City, and the execution of Steven Sotloff,... Read more...

Listening Post

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become so popular even young children have gotten into the act at the Beth Shalom Rose Family Early Childhood Education Center. The preschool teaches Jewish Values as a... Read more...

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Letters to the Editor

Both sides suffer (Editor’s note: This letter to the editor, originally  published in the Aug. 28 issue, is reprinted in its entirety with corrections.) The latest issue of The Chronicle features... Read more...

Five days of ‘wow’ at the national Sinai Scholars Retreat

Five days of ‘wow’ at the national Sinai Scholars Retreat

KU’s Sinai Scholars recently attended the Sinai Scholars Retreat in Chicago. Shown are Arie Mello (top row, from left), Rebeka Luttinger, Ethan King, Nechama Tiechtel, Betsy Jacob and Sammy Katz. Bottom... Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Article omitted facts  As president of the Missouri Kansas chapter of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, I am disappointed that Grandmothers Against Gun Violence was not mentioned in the article published... Read more...

Shabbat in Jamaica: ‘Out of many, one people’

Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan: A Jewish reggae artist came to play at the synagogue, offering a taste spiritual and uniquely Jamaican Jewish experience to the community. Many of us think of Israel as the melting... Read more...

Show wounded Israeli soldiers we stand by their sides

Major General (res) Yoav Gallant, head of Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, shakes the hand of a wounded IDF soldier. Also in the room visiting the soldier are wounded veterans from Operation Cast... Read more...

Letters to the Editor

Irresponsible comparison to Holocaust On Saturday, Aug. 23, the New York Times published an ad signed by about 300 Holocaust survivors, their direct Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Interfaith Council needs to despise anti-Semitism In response to the letter written by Sheila Sonnenschein and Rev. Mary McCoy of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council (Aug. 14), I wonder if it... Read more...

The structure of racism: Change begins with all of us

For decades, structures have existed that created and sustained Ferguson, Missouri’s, damaged relationship with its police. They have quietly worked their magic, and brought about the shooting of Michael... Read more...

Letters to the Editor

Israel is the victim I can’t help but find a correlation between Muslim migration into Europe and other non-Muslim countries and the rising clamor of anti-Semitism in those countries. Hamas instigated... Read more...

The spiritual journey of a lifetime

Ten local women participated in the 2014 Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel last month. Posing for this photo at the Decks in Tiberious are Stacy Wright (back row, from left), Patricia... Read more...

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Celebrations

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Fehsenfeld Birth

Fehsenfeld Birth

Wes and Emily Fehsenfeld announce the birth June 25 of a daughter, Caro Elizabeth. Grandparents are Elizabeth and Paul Uhlmann III, Joseph Fehsenfeld of Delavan, Wisc., and Debra Davis of Charleston,... Read more...

Gorodetzky-Sanditen Engagement

Gorodetzky-Sanditen Engagement

Dr. and Mrs. Charles Gorodetzky announce the engagement of their son, David Gorodetzky, to Lynne Sanditen, daughter of Dean Sanditen and the late Patricia Sanditen. Lynne is a graduate of the University... Read more...

Rosenberg Bat Mitzvah

Natalie and Steve Rosenberg announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Meredith at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Read more...

Lebovitz-Meklir Engagement

Allen and Susan Lebovitz announce the engagement of their daughter, Sara Francis, to Derek Meklir, son of Sam Meklir of Detroit and the late Linda Meklir. Read more...

Brudoley Bar Mitzvah

The Bar Mitzvah of Avi Brudoley, son of Sherri and Jonathan Jacobs and Jacob Brudoley, took place at the Kotel in Jerusalem on June 30. Read more...

Mendel Bar Mitzvah

William and Doris Mendel announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son, James Reid Mendel, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Read more...

Deutch-Perilstein Engagement

Judy and Larry Deutch, Des Moines, Iowa, announce the engagement of their daughter Lisa Deutch, to Ari Perilstein son of Robin Daynes of Cairns, Australia, and Sam Perilstein of Margate, N.J. Read more...

Krigel Birth

Beth and Ari Krigel of Chicago announce the birth Aug. 18 of a son, Everett Robert (Hebrew name Asher Reuven). Read more...

Chopp Birth

Elizabeth and Isaac Chopp announce the birth June 4 of a daughter, Stella Rose Chopp. Read more...

Buchbinder Birth

Baree Nottberg and Scott Buchbinder of Overland Park announce the birth June 27 of a son, Theo Everett Read more...

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Obituaries

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Harding, Dorothy

Harding, Dorothy

Dorothy Harding, of Kansas City, Mo., died Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park. Read more...

Eberman, Steve

Eberman, Steve

Steve took his final victory lap on earth Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, and passed peacefully at Garden Terrace. Read more...

Friedlander, Judy

Judy Friedlander, 74, of Las Vegas, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, after a six-month battle with cancer. Read more...

Orlovick, Marvin

Marvin Orlovick, 91, of Kansas City, Mo., passed away Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Read more...

Steinhardt, Barbara Lois

Barbara Lois Steinhardt, 83, died Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, at Delmar Gardens of Overland Park. Read more...

Choucroun, Susan

Susan Choucroun, 69, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. Read more...

Matzdorff, Ralph G.

Ralph G. Matzdorff, 87, of Overland Park, Kan., passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Read more...

Pener, David

David Pener, 60, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Read more...

Blumenthal, Amy

Amy Michelle Blumenthal passed away suddenly on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, at her residence in New York City at the age of 47. Read more...

Eberman, Steve

Steve took his final victory lap on earth on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, and passed peacefully at Garden Terrace. 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.