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Samuel Bak’s ‘About Time,’ 1999

Since the tender age of 3, Samuel Bak has always known he would be an artist. A Jew born in Vilna, Poland, in 1933, the year Hitler came to power, he has said his paintings “come from a compulsive need to give meaning to the miraculous fact of my survival.”

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Bernie Pucker

It’s been a long time since Bernie Pucker lived in Kansas City and attended Congregation Beth Shalom. But Pucker’s love for his hometown, and his lifelong respect and admiration for his boyhood spiritual leader, Rabbi Gershon Hadas, is a big reason Kansas Citians will be able to view the upcoming exhibit “ILLUMINATIONS: The Art of Samuel Bak.” 

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Students and leaders at KU Hillel took time Monday to be a part of the KU Unity Torah, a project coordinated by the Chabad Center for Jewish Life. The Torah will be completed and dedicated on Sunday, Feb. 22, in Lawrence.

In mid-September, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life embarked on a project to write a special Torah scroll for the University of Kansas community. On Feb. 22, the final touches will be put on the hand-written Torah. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}A joyous celebration in which Jews from all ways of life will dance in celebration through the streets of the KU campus is planned to commemorate what Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, co-director of KU Chabad, calls an historic event.

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Ann and Kenneth Baum, Civic Service Award dinner honorary co-chairs.

The 2015 Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy Civic Service Award dinner Chairmen Renana and Michael Abrams and honorary Co-Chairs Ann and Kenneth Baum are looking forward to a wonderful evening in celebration of the school’s 49th year and its Civic Service Award honoree, the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation.

The dinner, which takes place March 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center, is HBHA’s only major fundraising event each year. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}All funds raised go toward scholarship assistance and educational operations costs at HBHA.

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Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy Kindergarten students Penina DeLuca and Brody Feldman show off the ‘grass heads’ that they and their classmates made as part of a special Tu b’Shevat celebration. HBHA students in grades K-12 celebrated the holiday in a variety of ways, including Tu b’Shevat seders, making crafts out of recycled items, and a Holchim Yarok (Go Green, the student-run environmental group) program.

CHECK OUT THE NEW HEBREW CORNER — Several members of the Jewish community have started a grassroots Hebrew initiative and intend to provide Hebrew learning opportunities. Recently, the Jewish Community Campus gave them permission to place a Hebrew Corner in the front lobby. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}I’ve been told there has been great discussions over the Hebrew translation of “Hebrew Corner.”  The three contenders are: HaPinah HaIvrit, Pinat Ivrit, or simply Pinah Ivrit. I also understand a person has to be a Hebrew grammarian, which I am not, to appreciate the nuanced differences. To find out which name finally won, stop by the corner and check out the sign! (And let me know, I haven’t seen it yet, either!) More information about the group’s programming should be available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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This summer will be the third time Shelley Hedrick has been on staff at GUCI. She is pictured (far right) with B’nai Jehudah campers who attended in 2013.

Jewish identity experts will emphasize three areas when advising parents how to raise a child to become an involved Jewish adult: visit Israel, belong to a Jewish youth movement and attend Jewish overnight camp. At least two local Reform congregations — Congregation Beth Torah and The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah — think sending their children to overnight camp is so important that they send their religious school directors there as well.

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The KU Unity Torah Scroll was completed and dedicated at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at KU on Sunday morning. After the final letters were written by the scribe, Rabbi Berel Sosover (from left), Bob Cutler was given the honor of raising the Torah for all to see while Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel proudly assists. Photo by Rachel Bayer

AM YISRAEL CHAI — Some people never get a chance to celebrate the completion of a new Torah. I have been privileged to witness such a momentous occasion three times in the past four years — each time it has been an exciting and heartwarming experience. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Sunday’s Torah Completion Ceremony at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at KU did not disappoint and the very cold weather did not keep approximately 150 people including KU students and parents, KU dignitaries such as Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, the mayor of Lawrence and a large group of KU Chabad supporters from attending. As Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel said, the completion of this Torah, which took seven months, tells the story of the vibrancy of the KU community. The Torah was written in Jerusalem and students and members of the community had opportunities to write letters all over campus and feel proud as they were reminded by the rabbi that, “One letter is as you have written the whole thing.” The Tiechtels have been in Lawrence for nine years now and have seen the Jewish community at KU grow by leaps and bounds, and he noted he was beyond delighted to share the day with everyone, also saying it will be a moment we will always treasure and remember. Indeed, it may be the one and only time I will ever see a school mascot, in this case Big Jay, help as the scribe, Rabbi Berel Sosover, writes a letter in the Torah! There was truly a lot of love, excitement and ruach in Lawrence on Sunday. Mazel tov!

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JBS, the Jewish Broadcasting Service, offers exclusive news coverage of events that affect the Jewish people across the world, including in-depth reports on the turmoil in Israel from last summer.

“I want my MTV.”

That was the rallying cry for America’s youth in the 1980s who wanted their local cable providers to add the then-fledgling music video station to their service. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Through this strategic marketing campaign, MTV was able to band its potential viewers together for the common cause, and now MTV is a staple of every cable company in America. 

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Samuel Bak

“ILLUMINATIONS: The Art of Samuel Bak,” a collection of 20 paintings on loan from Facing History and Ourselves, will open during First Friday on March 6 at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center and run through April 25. In addition, eight large paintings by Bak, selected for this exhibition by Bernie and Sue Pucker of the Pucker Gallery in Boston, will anchor the ILLUMINATIONS exhibit. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Both the artist and Pucker will be present at the opening. The exhibition is made possible with generous financial support from Bryan Cave LLP and the Sosland Foundation and is presented in cooperation with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.

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