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Doctors take issue with film discrediting shaken baby syndrome

Doctors take issue with film discrediting shaken baby syndrome

  Scott Olitsky, M.D. Doctors from all over the country read the Oct. 2 article about "The Syndrome," the documentary that premiered last weekend challenging the validity of shaken baby syndrome, written... Read more...

Listening Post

Listening Post

  The Jewish owners of ANB Bank were in town for a VIP reception last week. The bank is the financial sponsor of the Jewish Community Center. Many members of the Jewish community attended the reception... Read more...

KU Hillel to showcase vibrant Jewish life at the Kansas campus

  About 50 Jewish high school juniors and seniors attended Jewhawk Day last year. The event is sponsored by KU Hillel and the University of Kansas Office of Admissions. Over the years KU Hillel has... Read more...

New play at Unicorn focuses on views of the younger Jewish generation

  Photo by Cynthia Levin A new play at the Unicorn Theatre is promising to have a lot of chutzpah this fall. Read more...

Pack’s dedication to the community recognized at Lion of Judah event

  Karen Pack with sons David (left) and Zachary (right) attended the Lion of Judah conference awards ceremony in September. When Karen Pack was 7 years old, she remembers watching her grandmother pack... Read more...

New First Bra Foundation supports, celebrates breast cancer survivors

  First Bra provides garments for breast cancer survivors Terry Levine knows bras. She is co-owner of clair de lune, the lingerie boutique known for its wide variety of luxurious lingerie she established... Read more...

Listening Post

  The three Schwartz brothers are Chiefs fans as well as Royals Fans. Shown here wearing Chiefs gear and watching a recent game are Yoni (from left), Naftali and Akiva. Akiva is currently serving in... Read more...

Listening Post

SHALOM CHAVER — This is the last issue for our friend and Community Editor Marcia Montgomery. After working here more than 10 years — editing everything from obituaries to Bar Mitzvah announcements... Read more...

MainStream Education Foundation to honor Bert Berkley

Bert Berkley The MainStream Education Foundation will honor Bert Berkley and Sandy Praeger at its 14th annual “Stand Up, Speak Out” awards dinner on Sunday, Oct. 19, at the Overland Park Marriott... Read more...

Sherry honored as AARP Missouri Andrus Award winner

Judy Sherry was honored as the AARP Missouri Andrus Award winner last month. She is shown here with AARP Missouri State Director Craig Eichelman. Judy Sherry has been selected by AARP to receive the 2014... Read more...

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Documentary not factual; shaken baby syndrome does exist

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child abuse kills over 1,600 children every year. Most child abuse victims are infants less than 1 year old. Abusive Head Trauma is the most... Read more...

I am finished aplogizing!

I am finished apologizing that I am unable to marry gay and lesbian Jewish couples. Thus, I write this personal, open letter to my congregation, as well as to the entire Jewish community of Kansas City.... Read more...

Making our facilities safe

Thank you for providing me with such a warm welcome to the community. It’s been a pleasure to meet so many of you and I look forward to the opportunity to meet more of you over the coming months. Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Introducing Hebrew learning opportunities We wish the K.C. Jewish Community a L’Shanah Tovah V’Metukah — a sweet near year filled with Hebrew learning! From across the Jewish community, we are... Read more...

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

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...

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Rose Bar Mitzvah

Rose Bar Mitzvah

Daniel Aidan Rose Julye and Mark Rose announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Daniel Aidan Rose, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Congregation Beth Shalom. Read more...

Steinzeig Wedding Anniversay

Steinzeig Wedding Anniversay

Alan and Gloria Steinzeig Alan and Gloria Steinzeig recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. The couple married on Oct. 9, 1949, in Oklahoma City. Read more...

Caviar Bat Mitzvah

Morgan Danielle Caviar Allison and Zane Zismer announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Morgan Danielle Caviar, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Congregation Beth Torah. Morgan is the granddaughter... Read more...

Fink Bar Mitzvah

Samuel L. Fink John and Robin Fink announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Samuel L. Fink, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Sam is the grandson of Sid and... Read more...

Hedrick and Yagerman Engagement

Erica Hedrick and Zachary Yagerman Shelley Hedrick and Thomas Hedrick of Kansas City announce the engagement of their daughter, Erica Hedrick, to Zachary Yagerman, son of Hillary and Howard Yagerman... Read more...

Richmond birth

Rebecca and Chad Richman of Winnetka, Ill., announce the birth Sept. 10 of twin sons, Sidney Graham and Henry Blake. They are also the parents of Daniel Maurice. Grandparents are Sara and Michael Sher... Read more...

Shniderson Bat Mitzvah

Beth Shniderson Mark and Regan Shniderson announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Beth, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Congregation Beth Torah. Read more...

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

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...

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Bloomberg, Leon

Leon Bloomberg, 94, passed away Oct. 6, 2014, in Luthersville, Md., a suburb of Baltimore. The funeral was held Oct. 8 at Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc. in Pikesville, Md.; burial at Anshe Emunah Aitz... Read more...

Morgen, Florence

Morgen, Florence

Florence Morgen Florence Morgen, 93, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend, passed away on Sept. 30. Funeral services were held Oct. 2 at Downing & Lahey Mortuary East, followed by burial at... Read more...

Seymour, Keith Goldin

Keith Goldin Seymour, Ph.D., died Sept. 29, 2014, at Menorah Medical Center after a four-month battle with pneumonia. Burial was Oct. 3 in Fairfax, Mo. Read more...

Zoglin, Rose

Rose Zoglin, 90, of Leawood, passed away Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Read more...

Bresel, Barbara

BARBARA BRESEL Barbara Bresel, 72, of Overland Park, Kan., passed away Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, at her home. Funeral services were expected to take place Wednesday, Oct. 8, at The Louis Memorial Chapel,... Read more...

Krakauer, Jane Rieger

JANE RIEGER KRAKAUER Jane Rieger Krakauer, 89, a native Kansas Citian, died Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Born on Sept. 5, 1925, she was the daughter of Nathan and Dorothy Ludwig Rieger and the granddaughter... Read more...

Krashin, Melvin L

Melvin L Krashin Melvin L. Krashin, 86, former synagogue executive director of Congregation Beth Shalom, and more recently the vice president of property and casualty for the Sanford L. Cohen Insurance... Read more...

Levinson, Sylvia Spector

Sylvia Spector Levinson died on Monday, Sept. 22, at the age of 86. Read more...

Kapustin, Moysey

Moysey Kapustin, 89, of Overland Park, passed away at Manor Care of Overland Park on Monday, Sept, 29, 2014. Read more...

Eriksmoen, Paul

Paul Eriksmoen, 34, of Shelton, Wash., formerly of Prairie Village, died on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in the crash of an airplane he was piloting near Kulusuk, Greenland. Read more...

IDFWO helps widows and children cope and thrive after tragedy in Israel

By Barbara Bayer



Those who know Harvey Bodker understand that he can get very emotional about the causes he deeply believes in. His newest cause is the IDF Widows & Orphans Organization (IDFWO), and he learned about it by chance on an airplane last summer.

It all started in August when Bodker, who is an active alumnus of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, was on his way to the fraternity’s 100th anniversary celebration. His plane to New York was delayed for several reasons, one being that a group of foreign students was stuck in security.

“As it turned out, there were 42 youngsters and 10 adults from the Israel Defense Forces Widows & Orphans Organization,” he said.

During the flight he chatted with two of the young Israelis and one of the leaders. The group had been at a Jewish summer camp in the Wisconsin Dells and were planning to spend the remainder of their trip in the New York area.

Coincidentally, or maybe more appropriately luckily for the IDFWO, that group was also invited to attend AEPi’s Shabbos dinner event on the USS Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier now a museum in New York. 

When Bodker first met some members of the group on the plane, he didn’t know that all the teens on the trip were orphans, in the Israeli translation of the word. That means these teens had lost one parent — usually a father — who died while protecting Israel. 

“I went to pieces, when I heard that,” Bodker said. “From then on I was bound and determined I was going to get to know them and their cause better.”

Meeting these young people, was “mind-boggling and life-changing” for Bodker. It was such a moving experience that he brought a fundraiser and an “orphan” — Daniel Tuksar, director of resource development, and Roi Schiffenbauer — here to get the word out about their organization and help them raise money. He arranged speeches at Congregation Beth Shalom, Kehilath Israel Synagogue and with the ROMEOS (a group of retired Jewish men) and organized a private event for friends to hear their story.

Tuksar was thrilled to be here, saying “it’s not every day you meet a Zionist like Harvey.” He pointed out that during the beginning, the IDFWO was a part of the Israeli government, but since 1991 it has been independently run and funded completely by private donations.

Tuksar explained IDFWO works with more than 5,000 widows and about 3,000 boys and girls who are left without a parent. Only seven professionals run the organization along with a voluntary chairwoman — a widow herself who is democratically elected by her peers.

“The bottom line for the organization is for the widows to spend time together,” Tuksar said. “This is important to them, so it’s important to us. When they get together they are able to talk, to relate to each other, cry, laugh, hug and embrace each other. We do our best to keep them connected.”

IDFWO takes women on retreats, sends presents to the widows on Rosh Hashanah, connects widows with each other, offers classes and provides emergency medical and financial assistance.

“It’s just a warm, second home to them,” Tuksar said.

But the majority of the work IDFWO does is with the children. The children continue to live with their surviving parent.

“We are there for them whenever the father is supposed to be with them,” Tuksar explained. These times include the beginning of first grade — providing them with backpacks full of school supplies — Bar-Bat Mitzvah trip to North America to Jewish communities (this is where Bodker met the kids) and a Bar-Bat Mitzvah celebration at the Western Wall attended by Israeli dignitaries who embrace the children. Camps are also held during various times during the year especially Chanukah, Sukkot and Passover vacations. The camps are for kids between the ages of 12 to 18 from all over Israel.

“We do fun stuff but we also have therapy sessions,” Tuksar said. “They are usually the only kids in their schools who have lost a parent so you can imagine how important it is to spend time with each other.”

IDFWO also presents scholarships and wedding gifts to these now-grownup teens.

Roi was almost 13 when his father was killed in a helicopter training accident in Romania. He’s now a junior in high school and will join the IDF following his high school graduation. He was featured in story that aired on Israeli television, which was shown to those attending the private event. He spoke about his father, what it was like when the family heard about the accident, and why the IDFWO is important to him and his family.

“The only people that can understand my loss are the people who have experienced the same loss as me. So we have the same things in common and we can talk about our loss. It’s very nice to see someone who can understand you,” said Roi, who lives on Moshav Kidron, an area he described as “a very nice neighborhood near Tel Aviv.”

Roi explained that the organization’s activities for the widows, especially the vacations and camps for the children, are very important to them.

“It’s very hard for my mother to handle three kids during this vacation,” he said, explaining that while he and his older brother were on IDFWO-sponsored trips and activities, she could rest and care for only one child.

Roi’s older brother is now in the IDF. His younger brother just turned 12, making him eligible for IDFWO camps and trips.

“He can take the Passover trip and then the Bar and Bat Mitzvah trip to the USA,” Roi explained.

This is the second time Roi has been to the United States, the first time he came was on an IDFWO Bar-Bat Mitzvah trip. This fundraising trip lasted 10 days and took him to Key West, Fla., where they experienced “nice weather,” and here.

Roi said it was very generous of Bodker to host the Israelis in his home and called him a “very nice man.” They had a very busy few days here, visiting the Harry S. Truman Library, eating Jack’s Stack barbecue, and attending the Kansas City Symphony as well as making the four presentations. 

“This organization is very important for me and my friends. I hope people understand my needs because it’s very hard without our fathers and this organization really serves as a second home for us. It’s very, very nice to be there with my friends,” Roi said.

Tuksar pointed out that taking care of kids like Roi and their families takes money. For instance it costs $300 for first-grade supplies per child, $1,200 per child for the Bar-Bat Mitzvah celebration in Israel and $900 for the three annual retreats per child.

“If we don’t support them, who will,” Bodker notes.

Tax deductible donations may be sent to P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc., 317 Madison Ave, Suite 607, New York, NY 10017. Make checks payable to: P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, stating in the memo section the donation is for IDFWO.