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SevenDays Chairs Mindy Corporon (second from right) and Alana Muller (far right) joined Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (second from left) who spoke in Kansas City this spring. Jon Willis (left) with the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance joined the group.

This year’s SevenDays® Make Ripple, Change the World begins Tuesday, April 18, and continues through Monday, April 24, and several members of Kansas City’s local Jewish community are intimately involved with the effort.

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Kohn’s deli pastrami sandwich.

Hot dogs. Get your KOSHER hot dogs here!

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Last week I asked friends on Facebook to send pics of kids during Passover. This one of Dylan and Danielle Kurz enjoying a seder when they were little tykes was submitted by Lisa Kurz.

CHABAD PLANS COMMUNITY SEDERS — Experience the freedom of Passover the way our ancestors did in a warm interactive Passover seder open to community.

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Lisa Schifman

Since the introduction of Dr. Helene Lotman as president and chief executive officer last May, many positive changes have taken place at Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. 

The latest news from Jewish Federation includes the announcement of a new campaign year for the organization, as well as several key staff changes. The 2017 annual campaign kicks off April 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017. Each year, the annual campaign raises approximately $5 million to fund a variety of Jewish community programs that sustain and enhance Jewish life in Kansas City and around the world.   

Annual campaign changes 

The changes are in line with several other strategic initiatives to enhance Jewish Federation’s fundraising efforts, and a renewed focus on community collaboration. And these changes have bred successful results: annual campaign dollars raised in 2016 were $5,102,317, a $90,000 increase over 2015, and Federation is working with its partner agencies to better allocate resources.

“We are looking forward to experiencing a nine-month annual campaign,” Lotman said. “It will make our internal systems more relevant and accessible to donors, and will create more efficiency among our staff and volunteers who are dedicated to raising this vital funding each year.” 

Among other events and initiatives, staff and volunteers are gearing up for the April 1 kickoff with: 

• a March 30 ambassador training led by JFNA National Campaign Chair Harold Gernsbacher, 

• the April 2 annual Note-a-Thon — designed for both men and women for the first time 

• the revitalization of Ben Gurion Society for donors 45 and younger, and

• the April 8 Vegas Night, a young adult campaign event.

“This timeline change is reflective of our faster-paced lives these days,” says Jewish Federation Campaign Chair Trudy Jacobson. “It truly makes our campaign easier to understand, and gives our volunteers and staff more succinct target dates to hit. In terms of goal measurement, we anticipate successful results with the shorter window.” 

Derek Gale

Staffing Changes

Another significant change for Jewish Federation are staff changes in three key roles. On April 1, 

• Lisa Schifman will transition from her position as Women’s Philanthropy director to director of Financial Resource Development; and

• Derek Gale will shift from his role as director of Financial Resource Development to a re-imagined Community Building and Allocations director position. 

Jane Blumenthal Martin

Additionally, Jane Blumenthal Martin recently rejoined the Jewish Federation team to resume her position as director of Marketing and Communications. 

“With the combination of Lisa’s record-breaking success in fundraising for Women’s Philanthropy, Derek’s strategic thinking and commitment to building our community, and Jane’s leadership in marketing, Jewish Federation is poised for even more exciting changes ahead,” Lotman said. “We are looking forward to an incredible year, full of many new and exciting opportunities and initiatives to benefit our community.”


River Hennick, a freshman at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, designed the button for SevenDays Day Five: Go. She received a $250 award for her winning design.

Interfaith discussions, blood drives, organ donor registration and a communitywide Faith, Love & Walk are just some of the activities planned for the 2017 SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World. The series of events begins Tuesday, April 18, through Monday, April 24.

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HBHA ‘s 50th Anniversary Civic Service Award honorees, Blanche and Neil Sosland, (far right) presented this year’s award to Jonathan Kemper (left) and Crosby Kemper III for their work with the Kansas City Public Library. In return, the Kempers gave the school a signed and dated miniature model of Kansas City’s First National Bank Building. More than 350 HBHA supporters gathered at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Sunday night, raising funds for programming and financial aid to assist the children at the Hebrew Academy. The evening’s program book was dedicated to longtime supporter and friend of HBHA, Seymour Krinsky.

SUPPLEMENTAL HAGGADAH READINGS — Every year I get emails from assorted organizations regarding new readings you can insert into your seder to freshen it up and make it relevant to the news of the day.

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Charles Hersch

It’s not exactly protest music, but jazz has deep roots as a vehicle for social change. Jazz bands offered some of the 20th century’s brashest experiments in racial integration; jazz songs themselves seduced a narrow-minded America with slyly multicultural influences.

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The very first program to launch as part of the new Jewish Voices United coalition is a partnership between JFS and JVS to assist recently settled refugee families with food. Here Johnna and John Perry of Up Up & Away Balloons and JFS Food Pantry Director Jo Hickey prepare for the first round of food deliveries that took place on March 13.

Twelve local Jewish organizations have banded together to form a new coalition, Jewish Voices United: A Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Kansas City. The mission of Jewish Voices United (JVU) is to use social action to stand with those who feel most vulnerable and persecuted in the general community by demonstrating support for and promoting positive relationships among our city’s diverse populations.

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The Gould family — Donna Gould Cohen (from left), Matt Gould, Karen Gould Courtney and Joel Gould — will be recognized for their work with Jackson County CASA at the Light of Hope event April 5.

A family committed to giving generously to help abused/neglected children will be honored when the Gould Charitable Foundation receives the Light of Hope Award on April 5. The award will be presented to Donna Gould Cohen and her children — Karen Gould Courtney, Matthew Gould and Joel Gould — in front of nearly 1,200 people at the city’s largest fundraising breakfast, the Light of Hope, which benefits Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

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Sonia Warshawski (front) attended the West Coast premiere of ‘BIG SONIA’ in November at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Also in attendance were No’coel Stark (from left), co-executive producer; Leah Warshawski, producer, co-director and Sonia’s granddaughter; Regina Kort and Morrie Warshawksi, two of Sonia’s three children; and Todd Soliday, co-director.

Leah Warshawski set out to tell the story of her grandmother, Sonia Warshawski, who is now 91 and one of the Kansas City area’s last Holocaust survivors who speaks publicly about her wartime experience.

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