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Following the April 13, 2014, tragedy at the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom, a group of caring individuals decided that they, as a community, have the power to outshine and overcome such senseless acts of hate. SevenDays is a challenge for young and old to embrace diversity across races, religions and cultures. Through three events — Faith, Love & Song, Faith, Love & Kindness and Faith, Love & Walk — the group hopes to promote understanding and encourage kindness to “Make a Ripple to Change the World.”

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Family means everything to Ellen Portnoy. She knows her family history very well and has portraits of family members from past generations proudly displayed in her home. But she felt one family heirloom was better shared with the world than displayed once a year during Passover at her Overland Park home. So it now resides in a New York museum.

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Sunday night brought together more than 500 people to celebrate HBHA’s 42nd Civic Service Award Dinner. Irene Bettinger (left) 2014 CSA honoree, and Michael Abrams (right), 2015 dinner co-chair, presented the 2015 CSA award to the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation. The award was accepted by Henry Bloch (center). In its effort to make Kansas City a top-tier city, the Foundation has — for the last several years — generously supported HBHA, which it views as the cornerstone of a strong Jewish community.

HORROR MOVIE HAS KC CONNECTIONS — We found out too late last week to inform you that the movie “It follows” opened in theaters here last week. It was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, the grandson of Sunie and Lee Levin. “It Follows” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 to critical praise and was widely released March 27. It is still playing through today, Thursday, April 2, for sure. Interested theater-goers will have to check their local listings to see if it’s still on local screens through next week. Here’s the synopsis of the R-rated movie:

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Joan Jacobson is an active member of the National Council of Jewish Women. She and the organization both champion the rights of children, women and families. It’s her work advocating for the rights of children that will be recognized when CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties honors Jacobson as its CASA Volunteer Honoree at its Promise of Hope luncheon on April 2. The Promise of Hope Luncheon, celebrating the Kansas organization’s 30th anniversary, will be held from noon to 1 p.m., with networking beginning at 11:30 a.m., at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park. To reserve a free space, visit www.casajwc.org or call 913-715-4034. 

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Jackson County CASA Executive Director Martha Gershun and Matthew Gould show off some of the LEGO gift boxes that CASA kids have been receiving from Gould’s nonprofit, The Giving Brick.

Ever wonder what to do with the LEGO bricks that you or your children played with and no longer need? So did Matthew Gould, whose inspired answer is The Giving Brick, a nonprofit that compiles used LEGO pieces into complete sets and provides them to the abused/neglected kids served by Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). 

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Cindy Singer and Randy Block posed in front of the Kansas Capitol building last week when their business, Enhanced HomeCare, was recognized by the Kansas Small Business Development Center.

The Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC) statewide network has announced the 2015 Existing and Emerging Businesses of the Year. Each of the eight Kansas SBDC regional centers selected one emerging and one existing business for the award. Enhanced HomeCare, LLC, owned by Randy Block and Cindy Singer, was chosen Existing Business of the Year for the Johnson County Region.

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Slater Sousley completed this mural at Congregation Ohev Sholom in January. It honors the congregation’s history in Kansas and will be dedicated later this year. Photo by Ben McCall

When you ask 19-year-old Slater Sousley to describe himself, he answers assuredly: “I am Jewish, an artisit and I’m from Overland Park, Kansas.” 

A 2013 graduate of the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and a second-year merit scholarship student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), purpose and identity serve as cornerstones not only for his self-discovery, but for his approach to each work of art. 

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“And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” — Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

Thanks to the generosity and foresight of donors who provided the Jewish Community Campus with Automatic External Defibrillators, or AEDs, another life has been saved.

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Rabbi Rebecca Reice, associate rabbi at Congregation Beth Torah, has informed the congregation that she is opting out of the last year of her contract so that she may join her husband, Asher Lazarus, as he accepts new employment in Austin, Texas. She will continue in her role at the Reform congregation until June 30.

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Sophia Porter, a senior at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, was met with a standing ovation by 2,000 space industry experts when she delivered the keynote address at the National Space Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Porter, who competed with other high school seniors, as well as graduate and undergraduate students across the U.S. for the scholarship, was awarded the opportunity to speak at the dinner, along with a $10,000 scholarship by the National Space Club. Photo courtesy of Bill Berner

‘HELLRAISER’ FILM SCREENING — “I’m honored,” is all Sid Willens would say when his granddaughter, Sara Glass, said she aimed to write a documentary on her grandfather’s legacy to Kansas City.

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Make your reservation by Friday, March 27 to obtain the early registration price and come share the second night of Passover with family and friends at a community Seder on Saturday, April 4 at Congregation Beth Shalom. Space is limited and advance reservations are required. After the deadline, reservations will be accepted on a space available basis. Registration forms are available online at www.kcrabbis.org [1] or forms can be picked up at area congregations.

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Israel does it best to make sure everyone gets a chance to vote. This photo, shared by Israeli soldier Gavi Arnovitz, who is stationed near the Syrian border and the grandson of Sylvia and Marshall LaVine, shows how the voting booth was brought to the soldiers. Photo by Ron Tzur

JOKE OF THE WEEK — Here’s one, source unknown, I recently found in my inbox. “Don’t give up. Moses was once a basket case.” 

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