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This colorfully illustrated French and Hebrew Haggadah was published in Vienna in 1930. It was restored by the National Archives and Records Administration Preservation Programs and will be on display as part of ‘Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage,’ at the National Archives at Kansas City beginning June 18.

For the third time, the National Archives at Kansas City is partnering with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education to bring a unique and educational project to Kansas City. “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage” details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters and the National Archives’ ongoing work in support of U.S. government efforts to preserve these materials. It opens at the National Archives, located at 400 W. Pershing Road in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 18, and continues through Aug. 15. Viewing hours for the exhibition, which is free and open to the public, are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. MCHE will present a benefit event on Wednesday evening, June 10. 


Rita Blitt

International artist Rita Blitt and the Jewish Community of Greater Kansas City, The J, have a deeply-rooted connection. 

It started as a child. Growing up Jewish in Kansas City, Blitt attended plays, meetings and children’s groups at The J. At one time, her mother, who devoted her time to Jewish humanitarian causes, even worked there. 


Young adults in the Jewish community gathered earlier this year at Moishe House for a traditional Shabbat dinner.

Young adults in the Kansas City Jewish Community will come together from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5, to celebrate Shabbat in the Crossroads District as part of the Good Shabbos KC initiative. The goal of the event, presented by Jewish Federation’s Young Business and Professionals in partnership with KU Hillel and Moishe House of KC, is to build a connected community of young Jews in a fun and exciting environment. The event will be hosted on the rooftop terrace at Barkley, a local advertising agency. Attendees are encouraged to bring their friends to celebrate in this pre-Shabbat program.


Three students graduated this month from the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kansas. Molly Rissien (center) is the first to graduate with a special major in Jewish studies. Morgan Goldstein (left) and Rebekah Durham (right) earned minors in Jewish studies. Maggie Boyles also graduated with a minor in Jewish studies but was unable to attend the ceremony.

Earlier this month Molly Rissien became the first student to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a special major in Jewish studies from the University of Kansas. The 24-year-old daughter of Kehilath Israel Synagogue members Aaron and Shelley Rissien double majored, also earning a degree in applied behavioral science. She is a 2009 graduate of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy.


Great Days Social Club participant Bryce Jones (left) shares a laugh with Village Shalom Day Stay Coordinator Paula Jones.

Life offers no guarantees. When retirees Sharon Ward and Bryce Jones met in 2005 and married in 2007 (the second marriage for both), they were looking forward to many happy, vibrant years together. Two weeks after their wedding, Bryce was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

“Your whole life changes — you just have a paradigm shift,” Sharon recalled wistfully. In the eight years since the diagnosis, Sharon found that becoming Bryce’s round-the-clock caregiver was more than she could handle alone. About a year ago, she contacted the Alzheimer’s Association for guidance, and they directed her to Village Shalom’s Great Days Social Club. “It saved my life,” Sharon confessed. 


In March, Overland Park Police Officer David Cole (left) and Jewish Federation President and CEO Todd Stettner (right) used Automatic External Defibrillators and performed CPR on Les Rosenfeld (center) after he collapsed on the racquetball courts at The J. On Wednesday night, May 13, the Overland Park Public Safety Commission and Police recognized Cole and Stettner for taking this action.

QUALITY HILL TO FEATURE STREISAND FAVORITES (AND JUDY AND LIZA, TOO) — Quality Hill Playhouse continues its season dedicated to film music with “Judy Barbra Liza,” a salute to three of the most dynamic performers to have graced the silver screen. The original cabaret revue featuring the signature songs of Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli opens May 29.


Rahel Berkovits

Shavuot, which marks the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, is typically a time for prayer, study and celebration. This year’s annual Tikkun L’el Shavuot program Saturday, May 23, at Kehilath Israel Synagogue features Rahel Berkovits, a senior faculty member at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Her keynote topic is “Darkhei Shalom — The Path to Building Community …Text Study of Mishnah Tractate Gittim.” (For more information about the event, see box.) The Kansas City Jewish community has celebrated this Shavuot tradition for more than 30 years


Jeff Wright, vice president of Cancer Services at University of Kansas Hospital, presents Annette Bloch the 2015 Philanthropist of the Year Award given by Nonprofit Connect. Photo by Sabrina Staires

BLOCH HONORED — On May 15 Nonprofit Connect honored Annette Bloch as its Philanthropist of the Year. Nonprofit Connect Executive Director Luann Feehan said Bloch and the other three Philanthropy Award winners have impacted the community through the giving of their time, talent and funds. The award was presented at the 31st Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon, Kansas City’s oldest and largest celebration of giving. The funds raised at the Awards Luncheon allow Nonprofit Connect to continue to offer education, resources and networking so that area nonprofit organizations can more effectively achieve their missions. Nonprofit Connect is a membership organization and is the first source for nonprofit professionals, volunteers, students, funders and businesses seeking opportunities to network, learn and grow. Nonprofit Connect links the nonprofit community to education, resources and networking so organizations can more effectively achieve their missions.


Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis (left), formerly of Kansas City and now of Warsaw, Poland, reads the Ten Commandments for Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, who was in Oswieciem, Poland, the city the Germans call Auschwitz.

Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis’ heart has been linked with the Jewish people of Poland since 2004. Since 2010 he has worked as a rabbi in the Eastern European country. He does so lovingly, following a path that began as a very young boy in Kansas City.


Noah Geller

When a group of talented musicians take the stage, the result can be magical. Audiences in Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts are in for a treat at the end of the month when two award-winning violinists join the KC Symphony in performing awe-inspiring classics.

During the Kansas City Symphony’s concert series on May 29-31, audiences will hear Bach’s Double Concerto, Malcolm Forsyth’s Ballad of Canada, Hindemith’s Trauermusik and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2. Violinists Noah Geller and Pinchas Zukerman will collaborate on Bach’s Double Concerto.


Robin Abramowitz amd Bev Jacobson

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, thousands of runners and walkers will participate in the 28th Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury, the major fundraiser for the Brian Injury Association of Kansas & Greater Kansas City (BIAKS). And two dedicated members of Kansas City’s Jewish community will be behind the scenes making sure things come off without a hitch.


Christa and Stanley Louis

Several community organizations recently received a wonderful surprise when they learned they were the charitable beneficiaries of a generous donor who created a Jewish legacy through the Jewish Community Foundation. 


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