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Soldier tells rally crowd there is no Plan B, Israel must win the fight

Soldier tells rally crowd there is no Plan B, Israel must win the fight

Photo by Alyssa Dinberg/Jewish Federation Supporters of Israel filled the Kehilath Israel Synagogue to capacity Monday night for the Community Solidarity Gathering. “The only option is to fight back... Read more...

Third annual Kosher BBQ festival expands, changes location

Third annual Kosher BBQ festival  expands, changes location

Photo by Josh Goteiner: Yosef Silver (from left), Simon Majumdar of the Food Network and Rabbi Mendel Segal, executive director of the Vaad HaKashruth and the KC Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival, mugged... Read more...

Rabbi Alpert named new Melton director

Rabbi Doug Alpert Rabbi Doug Alpert has been named the new Kansas City director of the Florence Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning. Locally the Melton School is a project of the Hyman Brand Hebrew... Read more...

Showing gratitude to donors, Federation offers thanks

Derek Gale (left) and Sarah Beren meet with Ofer Lichtig (center), director of the Israel office of Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, during the recent mission. Though the news out of Israel changes... Read more...

NCSY helped teen make meaningful connections and take on leadership roles

Shaina Stasi This year marks a monumental milestone for NCSY as it celebrates the 60th anniversary since its founding in 1954 by the Orthodox Union. Through the decades, NCSY has become a treasured part... Read more...

Listening Post

PRAY FOR SOLDIERS —From now until Tisha b’Av (the evening of Aug. 4 and all day Aug. 5) 1 million Jews around the world will Read more...

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

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...

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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...

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Celebrations

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Unowsky Bat Mitzvah

Unowsky Bat Mitzvah

Keri and Daniel Unowsky announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Sarah Beatrice, on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Beth Sholom Synagogue in Memphis, Tenn. Read more...

Weiner-Conley Engagement

Weiner-Conley Engagement

Barbara and Jeff Weiner of Prairie Village announce the engagement of their daughter, Rebecca Brooke Weiner, to Jason Robert Conley, son of Randi and Larry Haith and Kim and Bob Conley. Read more...

Bock-Lewis Engagement

Lynne and David Bock announce the engagement of their daughter, Hannah Rose Bock, to Joshua Aaron Lewis, son of Sheryl and Jim Lewis of Deerfield, Ill. Read more...

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

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...

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Obituaries

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Sandhaus, Frances Zurovsky

Sandhaus, Frances Zurovsky

Frances Zurovsky Sandhaus, 98, passed away on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at Kansas City Hospice House. Read more...

Beiman, Melvyn

Melvyn Beiman, 82, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., died on Wednesday, July 24, 2014, at the Village House on the campus of John Knox Village. Read more...

Elyachar, Daniel

Daniel Elyachar, 87, loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 21, 2014, at his home in New York City. Read more...

Gorrel, Shirley

Shirley Gorrel passed away Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in the Atlanta area. She spent the last year and a half there to be with her daughter and granddaughters. Read more...

Grunspan, Mira

Mira Grunspan, 90, of Merriam, passed away Monday, July 28, 2014, at Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation. Read more...

Silverman, Inge B.

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

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...

Why do we eat poppy seeds for Purim?

By Sybil Kaplan, Contributing Writer

JERUSALEM — Purim has its share of food customs as it is observed by most of the Jewish communities around the world, however, some ask, why the poppy seeds — particularly in hamantaschen? 

A little research indicates Esther ate seeds which were healthy in order to maintain a kosher diet.

They are also said to have been the only food Esther ate during the three-day fast before she went to see the king.

Another interpretation indicates that poppy seeds symbolize the promise G-d made to Abraham, Genesis 22:17, “I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore…” because this is the antithesis of the annihilation planned by Haman.

Mohn, the Yiddish word for poppy seed, was combined with milk, sugar or honey and sometimes raisins and nuts and used as a filling as early as medieval times. Tasch is German for pocket so the original name was mohntaschen, pockets filled with poppy seeds. Why pockets? Haman carried the lots (purim) he cast to determine on which day the Jews would be killed in his coat pockets.

When Jews fled Germany for Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, they took the poppy seed pastry with them and added the Yiddish prefix, “ha,” thus making it hamohntaschen.

By the way, if you plant poppy seeds, you end up with poppy flowers. The milky fluid found in the unripe seed capsules of poppy flowers, when processed, are the source of heroin, opium and morphine.

It is said that if you consume poppy seed-flavored cake or pastry or hamantaschen, you could test positive on a drug test. Many years ago, a state police crime lab in Oregon tested driving ability of subjects who had consumed 25 grams (about 1.75 tablespoons) of poppy seeds baked into a Bundt cake and found that their driving ability was not impaired, however, they did test positive for opium. Another bit of research indicated eating two poppy seed bagels could cause failure of a drug test!

Poppy seeds contain high amounts of oil and are best refrigerated when not being used. They are also an excellent source of calcium. However, a 50-gram hamantash (about 1.76 ounces ) may have 200 calories.