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Inspirational couple ‘front and center’ of Jewish initiatives

The Mordechai Award will be presented to Dr. Jay and Margie Robinow at the 2018 BIAV Purim Gala. The Gala will be held on Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

He is a radiation oncologist who likes to bake challah and give them out for Shabbat and simchas. She spearheaded the anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) legislation in the Kansas legislature and has had enough Shabbat guests stay in her home to fill three volumes of guest books.

Such is the wide range of community-supporting activities of Dr. Jay and Margie Robinow, who will receive the Mordechai Award at the 2018 BIAV Purim Gala. The Gala will be held on Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center and is the annual fundraiser for Congregation Beth Israel Abraham & Voliner (BIAV).

“Since I have known them,” said Rabbi Daniel Rockoff of BIAV, “Jay and Margie have been front and center of virtually every initiative of consequence, big or small. They open their home and their hearts to so many; both decades-long friends and brand-new acquaintances will find a comfortable seat the Robinows’ Shabbat table. It is an inspiration to watch what they do on a weekly basis, and they are truly very deserving of this special honor of the Mordecai award.”

The Robinows have lived in Kansas City since 1993, with children Hannah, Joey, Aaron, David and daughter-in-law Calyn. Both Margie and Jay discover opportunities to help others and then initiate them, very often behind the scenes.

In the community, Jay revived the KC Kollel and served as president. He has served on the boards of the Jewish Heritage Foundation and the Jewish Community Center. Wanting to promulgate the mitzvah of building a sukkah, Jay created the Sukkah Project to raise money for the Kollel. Every year, he provides materials for and helps to build dozens of sukkahs, free for teachers and those unable to pay.

Jay is a regular minyan member at BIAV. He is an avid cyclist and bike collector. Jay’s mechanical talents go beyond building sukkahs — he fixes orphan bikes and gives them to neighbors and gives car maintenance lessons to rabbis for free.

Jay’s kindness comes through in all his endeavors, personal and professional. He also has great relationships with patients in a difficult setting. 

“Many of Jay’s patients come up to me and say how they love my husband,” Margie joked. “If I did not know what his job was, I would be worried!”

Margie has been a driving force in making BIAV thrive in the larger community as well. She was deeply involved in the merger that created the Menorah Heritage Foundation and serves on its board. In addition to working on anti-BDS legislation, Margie hosts political candidates who support this legislation and Israel. She served as city leader of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project of KC Community Kollel. At BIAV, she started the Shavuot Children’s D’var Torah Program and Sukkah Hop. (And though she and her husband are being honored this year at Purim Gala, Margie has chaired it herself about a dozen times in 20 years.)

Margie and Jay together are leaders in Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and AIPAC. The Robinow home is a welcome place for countless weekend guests from out of town who wish to be in the eruv on Shabbat.

“Before there was Airbnb, our home was a Shabbat Airbnb!” Jay said. 

They have also loved providing a second home for several young people in transitions in their lives. In their spare time, the Robinows enjoy travel, music, theater, learning Torah and visiting Israel.

The Gala will be at the new Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center at 8788 Metcalf Ave., starting at 5 p.m. with cocktails, a silent auction and a tour of the Johnson County Museum, which is now located in the renovated building. Dinner will begin at 6:15 p.m. 

Invitations have been mailed, but are also posted on the shul’s website, biav.org.

Opportunities for sponsorships and ads in the virtual journal are available. For more information, to volunteer or to make reservations for BIAV’s Purim Gala fundraiser, contact Joel Krichiver in the BIAV office at 913-341-2444 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..