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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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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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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...

Lituanian-Israeli violinist thrilled to be part of tribute concert at Helzberg Hall

By Barbara Bayer


Ben Sayevich has played in a lot of concert venues over the years. Next week Sayevich will get his first chance to play at Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts when his Park Piano Trio performs. The concert, to be held at 7:30 p.m. April 4, celebrates the 10th anniversary of Park University’s International Center for Music. Stanislav Ioudenitch, gold medalist of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and founder of the ICM and his protégé and rising star — and 2009 winner of the London International Piano Competition — Behzod Abduraimov, will also perform in the special Van Cliburn Tribute Concert.

“It is very exciting. It’s definitely one of the best halls in the country, if not in the world. So we are very much looking forward to it,” said Sayevich, a professor of music at Park, in a phone interview last week.

The concert itself, Sayevich said, is an important event.

“It’s commemorating the life of Van Cliburn, a very important, great musician,” he continued. “It is very important for any musician to play a part in a concert for somebody who is so admired by so many people.”

Ioudenitch will perform in the first half of the concert. Ioudenitch is currently associate professor of music and the artistic director of the Youth Conservatory of Music at the ICM. Abduraimov will also perform in the first half of the concert. 

Sayevich is very complimentary of the young pianist.

“At 22 he’s now one of the leading pianists of his generation and he’s a student of ours at Park. He’s trained already with major orchestras such as the Boston Symphony and will play in Carnegie Hall. He’s a very distinguished young pianist,” Sayevich said.

The Park Piano Trio, consisting of Sayevich, Ioudenitch and cellist Daniel Veis, will play Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Trio in A Minor.”

“This piece is very appropriate because it’s very dramatic and very long and it’s celebrating life. It’s very appropriate in memory of Van Cliburn because he won the Tchaikovsky competition in 1958. That was the first Tchaikovsky competition ever and in those days it was the height of the Cold War and he was a young American from Texas winning the gold medal in Moscow. For Russians, he was an incredible symbol of how music transcends politics and he was very much loved by everybody in Russia,” Sayevich said.

“It’s very fitting to play the Tchaikovsky piano tribute because not only is that piece in memory of a great artist, but also it is Tchaikovsky, which Van Cliburn had a very big affinity for all his life.

“Our pianist also won the Van Cliburn competition, so it’s all those connections.”

Sayevich the violinist

Sayevich moved to Israel in 1971 from Lithuania when he was 12. Nine years later, just one day after he completed his Israeli army service, he came to the United States. He’s been in this country ever since.

“I was discharged and then the next day I was in New York and started to audition for schools.”

In September of 1980 he enrolled in the New England Conservatory.

“I came here to study with this very well-known teacher Dorothy Delay,” he said. He earned the prestigious artist diploma from the conservatory and was a teaching assistant to Eric Rosenblith.

When he came to the United States to study, he really didn’t know where he would live after that. But he was offered a job at the University of Kansas a short time before he graduated. So a month after graduation he was living in Lawrence, Kan. 

“I stayed, but my two brothers are in Israel so I go there at least once a year,” said the Jewish violinist who now lives in North Kansas City with his wife and 4-year-old daughter. He was at KU from 1987 until 2006, when he joined the staff at Park.

“My background is very Jewish, not religiously Jewish, but traditionally Jewish. For example my first language at home was Yiddish. My parents talked Yiddish with each other. That was the first language I heard,” said Sayevich, who speaks four languages fluently — English, Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian. He also speaks Lithuanian and German.

Not only has he taught music for many years, he has concertized extensively throughout North America, Europe and the Far East, and has appeared on radio and television as a soloist and chamber musician. He is featured as the soloist in a recording of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. One of the most important works in his repertoire is the Violin Concerto by Alban Berg, for which he was chosen to play at the New England Conservatory’s celebration of the composer’s centenary. Sayevich’s interpretation carries the tradition that comes down directly from the composer, through his work on the piece with the late Louis Krasner, the commissioner, dedicatee and the violinist at the work’s premiere.

He said he plays strictly classical music, but “sometimes I play Klezmer music just for fun.”

Sayevich is currently in London playing with the London Chamber Music Society, something he has been doing since 2002 “two, maybe three times a year.”

Tickets for the Van Cliburn Tribute Concert are available through the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts at www.kauffmancenter.org, 816-994-7222 or at the Kauffman Center’s Box Office, 1601 Broadway.