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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...

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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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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...

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Obituaries

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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...

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

By Barbara Bayer

Editor

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.