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Brady chapter gives Kansas Citians forum to speak out

Brady chapter gives Kansas Citians forum to speak out

Harold Koch Sixty-one years ago, on Aug. 20, 1953, the Koch family’s lives changed forever. A purportedly unloaded gun went off and killed 14-year-old Leo Koch. Read more...

Beth Liss inspires giving at National Young Leadership Retreat

Beth Liss inspires giving  at National Young Leadership Retreat

Co-Chair Designate Beth Liss speaking at the Jewish Federations of North America National Young Leadership Retreat. For Beth Liss, accepting the post of co-chair designate and, next year, co-chair of... Read more...

Author, outstanding programs highlight Jewish Federation Annual Meeting

Ari Shavit A dedicated young leader, two community programs and two local educators will be honored as part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City’s 81st Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Sept.... Read more...

KC SuperStar announces winner; Liberty Fruit makes challenge grant

Photo by Brian Turner: Taking part in the check presentation ceremony for KC SuperStar winner Keith Klein (center) are Lori Blinn (from left) and Edward Rose, representing the family of Craig Citron, for... Read more...

As baseball playoffs approach, book gives insight into Jewish major leaguers

“American Jews and America’s Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball” by Larry Ruttman (University of Nebraska Press 2013) “For American Jews, baseball has been the tent of Abraham, offering... Read more...

Listening Post

World War II vet Maury Dubinsky was invited by the Kansas City Royals to sit in its ‘Seat of Honor’ on Wednesday, Aug. 13. The 91-year-old was a Navy pilot who flew Corsair planes. He still actively... Read more...

Men with K.C. ties provide support to Israel’s Lone Soldiers

Earlier this month Jason Barnett helped issue Israeli IDs to new immigrants who will be joining the IDF in three months. Throughout Israel’s history, volunteers and supporters from all over the world... Read more...

Event to teach women about mitzvah of baking challah

Women will learn how to make and braid challah at the Mega Challah Bake Sept. 2. “The warm, delicious smell of Challah brings something peaceful into the atmosphere of the home.” Read more...

Listening Post

Celebrating a couple of auspicious birthdays are (from left) Eliyahu Eisenbach, 1, Tehila and Shalom Eisenbach and Sarah Zeldin, 102. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU AND YOU — This birthday was truly a family... Read more...

KC SuperStar finalists include Jewish contestant

Paris Naster is one of 10 finalists vying to become the next KC SuperStar. This year marked the first time 17-year-old Paris Naster auditioned for KC SuperStar, the Jewish Community Center’s “American... Read more...

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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...

Letters to the Editor

We need to combat hate Anti-Semitism is a worldwide problem that is getting worse, especially overseas. Our best protection is education, making living conditions better for others and swift eradication... Read more...

The underlying war: Islamism versus democracy

Are Jews the canary in Western Civilization’s cultural mine? Read more...

Turning 80

During my journey through life, as the years have rolled on, I have discovered that time flies even when you’re not having fun — and suddenly even a watershed event can sneak up on one, as it did me.... Read more...

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...

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Chopp Birth

Chopp Birth

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

Buchbinder Birth

Buchbinder Birth

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

Zwick-Pohlman Engagement

Arvin and Tammy Zwick of Overland Park announce the engagement of their daughter, Heather Ashley Zwick, to Andrew David Pohlman, son of Jeff and Robin Pohlman of Memphis, Tenn. Read more...

Nerman Wedding Anniversary

Margaret and Jerome Nerman will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary on Friday, Aug. 8. They are lifelong residents of Kansas City and have lived in Leawood since 1990. Read more...

Krashin Birth

Daniel and Jacki Krashin of Wilmete, Ill., announce the birth May 20 of a son, Drake Evan. They are also the parents of Madilyn Paige. Read more...

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

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...

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Eberman, Steve

Eberman, Steve

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

Fichman, Charlotte

Charlotte Fichman, 86, of Overland Park, passed away Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Nussbaum, Marie

Marie Nussbaum, 94, formerly of Prairie Village, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at Sweet Life of Overland Park. Read more...

Rainen, Marc H.

Marc H. Rainen, 66, Kansas City, Mo., died on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., after a short struggle with cancer. Read more...

Braeman, Aaron

Aaron Braeman, 100, of Overland Park, died on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Brown, Peedee

Peedee Brown (nee Roseroot), 74, of Overland Park, formerly of Fairway, died peacefully at her home on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, surrounded by her loved ones. Read more...

Hipsh, Sam Harry

Sam Harry Hipsh, 95, of Leawood, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Read more...

Mittelman, Sara

Sara Mittelman, 97, was born May 10, 1917, and died Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, at Menorah Medical Center. Read more...

Sher, Peyton

Peyton Sher, 90, international boxing matchmaker and promoter, of Leawood, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, at the Kansas City Hospice House. Read more...

Zingher, Fran Meadow

Fran Meadow Zingher, 92, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Read more...

Scholar in residence brings new perspective to aging wisely

Rabbi Rachel Cowan is passionate about aging wisely. But what is it exactly?

“It’s an agenda for a new stage of life that has never existed before in human history, which is the healthy years between age 60 and 80,” Rabbi Cowan said. She went on to explain that while some people will still suffer from dementia or other terrible illnesses, the majority of people in this country can expect to live with health and energy and alertness during that time.

Rabbi Cowan will be in town the weekend of April 25-27 discussing the issue of Aging Wisely during several events. (See below for complete schedule of events.)

The rabbi, who is senior fellow and co-founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, an organization that works with rabbis, cantors, educators and lay leaders to deepen the spiritual dimension of contemporary Judaism, said we no longer live in a world where “people got old and then thought of themselves as old.”


Whether it’s called the third chapter or third act, Rabbi Cowan said people now have a variety of options in how they want to live out these years.

“Do we want to continue living and working at the pace we’ve been at as we’ve been building our careers and our families? Do we want to continue to be sort of driving or is it a time where we might like to slow down a bit, explore new interests?” she noted.

Aging Wisely programming, Rabbi Cowan said, is really about helping people identify their personal agendas for this time of their lives and see the things they want to work on.

“We just can’t keep running, running, running and suddenly just drop. The way our society has viewed aging for so long in this sort of innate ageism is seen that getting older is getting weaker, is getting feeble, is getting demented, is dying,” she said.

Rabbi Cowan believes people don’t want to think dying is actually going to happen to them, so they simply pretend that it isn’t.

“Then at some point they can’t keep running at the pace they’ve been at and they can’t keep denying their aging anymore and then they’re left without much to sustain them now that times are harder. They haven’t done the work of building really close relationships. They haven’t done the work of cultivating gratitude and generosity. They haven’t done the work of forgiving people that might then still become a valuable part of their life. They haven’t learned to live with loss and pain. They haven’t been thinking about ways of being more creative and learning more things and discovering their own real, deep interests that they’ve never had a chance to develop. They haven’t been able to really think about death or dying in a way that makes them prepare well for it, so they are caught off guard with families that aren’t prepared to be there for them or to help them make choices. Those are some of the things that we are talking about in this work,” she said.

In other words, Cowan said Aging Wisely is bringing a new perspective to life.

“There’s something called the encore career movement, which is encouraging people who have worked for a long time to step out of their work, allow younger people to move in and find ways of work that are more serving the interests of their community or their society. That gives them more time for developing their own lives. That’s a very big thing,” she said.

The rabbi, who will be 73 in May and has been named to both Newsweek’s and the Forward’s top rabbis lists, began wondering about aging wisely herself just a few short years ago.

“I think when I turned 69 actually it hit me that I’m going to be 70 soon, I’m getting old. I better look into this. What do we do? How do we accept it? It’s a wonderful time of life. Our society needs older people who have wisdom, who have taken time to reflect, to make sense of their lives, speak out in terms of long-range interests and not just short-time decisions people make as they are rushing through their lives. To me it’s a fantastic time of life and I want to enhance that,” she said.

She said in recent years the Jewish community has paid attention to older Jews in nursing homes and in real old age, but hasn’t spent much time working on active aging issues.

“That’s a waste. We are people who want to learn, who want to care, who want to do, who want to be counted, who want to share what we’ve learned, who want to learn from younger people from their perspective. Most of that is just not happening anywhere in the Jewish world,” she said.

She said the things emphasized in Aging Wisely programs are things these seniors could and should be thinking about their entire lives.

“How do really know who you are most deeply? How do you create the relationships that really support you and nourish you and don’t hurt you or diminish you? How do you forgive people? How do you become a more generous, compassionate, caring person in the world? That’s the work of a lifetime but what we’re trying to do is bring that focus into this stage of life, to just make people more open hearted, more embracing of this time of their life and not hiding from it or feeling ashamed of it or pretending it isn’t happening,” she said.

Few cities actually have Aging Wisely programs in place, Rabbi Cowan said, because the concept is too new. She’s been teaching, and subsequently training others to lead groups, at Central Synagogue in New York. Another large congregation, Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, has also been working on aging initiatives. To help others facilitate such programs, Rabbi Cowan is preparing a handbook on the subject, which she hopes will be completed in the fall.

The rabbi doesn’t believe these types of programs need a lot of funding.

“The only cost of this program, once people are trained and we have this handbook, is somebody needs to lead the group, to get it facilitated. These groups could go on forever. I’m facilitating a group that has been meeting for eight years and they never want to stop because it’s like consciousness raising back in the old days. You just discover so much about yourself by listening to other people. We always use Jewish texts and Jewish study in it and the goal of the study is how is this text speaking to me in my life now,” she said.

Rabbi Rachel Cowan Aging Wisely weekend

Friday, April 25

Shabbat Eve Service — 5:30 p.m.at Congregation B’nai Jehudah bisseleh nosh; 6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat services. Rabbi Cowan will deliver the sermon: “Making Each Day Count: Opening to the Rest of Our Lives.”

Shabbat Dinner and Conversation for the newly and soon-to-be empty-nesters. Topic: “Wow, we’re free! Now, what’s next? Finding Sacred Meaning and Purpose in this New Phase of Life.” To register for Shabbat dinner, contact the office at 913-663-4050. Dinner is $18 per person 

Saturday morning, April 26

Torah study — 9:45 a.m. at The New Reform Temple. Rabbi Cowan will lead Torah study.

Wise Aging Curriculum —1 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Jehudah, “The River of Life: Reviewing the Stories of our Lives.” During this afternoon session, Rabbi Cowan will present a module from her Wise Aging curriculum developed through her work at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. This groundbreaking program is designed for the growing population of aging Baby Boomers, involving intellectual study and discussion about what it means to age. Using a model of intimate group conversations, Wise Aging applies texts to foster conversations on spirituality, God, family, comforting physical challenges, mindfulness and finding meaning in our golden years.

All events are open to the public. The weekend is co-sponsored by The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah and the Jewish Federation in collaborative partnership with the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, New Reform Temple and the Rabbinical Association and support from Dr. Daniel and Miriam Scharf.