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Brady chapter gives Kansas Citians forum to speak out

Brady chapter gives Kansas Citians forum to speak out

Harold Koch Sixty-one years ago, on Aug. 20, 1953, the Koch family’s lives changed forever. A purportedly unloaded gun went off and killed 14-year-old Leo Koch. Read more...

Beth Liss inspires giving at National Young Leadership Retreat

Beth Liss inspires giving  at National Young Leadership Retreat

Co-Chair Designate Beth Liss speaking at the Jewish Federations of North America National Young Leadership Retreat. For Beth Liss, accepting the post of co-chair designate and, next year, co-chair of... Read more...

Author, outstanding programs highlight Jewish Federation Annual Meeting

Ari Shavit A dedicated young leader, two community programs and two local educators will be honored as part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City’s 81st Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Sept.... Read more...

KC SuperStar announces winner; Liberty Fruit makes challenge grant

Photo by Brian Turner: Taking part in the check presentation ceremony for KC SuperStar winner Keith Klein (center) are Lori Blinn (from left) and Edward Rose, representing the family of Craig Citron, for... Read more...

As baseball playoffs approach, book gives insight into Jewish major leaguers

“American Jews and America’s Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball” by Larry Ruttman (University of Nebraska Press 2013) “For American Jews, baseball has been the tent of Abraham, offering... Read more...

Listening Post

World War II vet Maury Dubinsky was invited by the Kansas City Royals to sit in its ‘Seat of Honor’ on Wednesday, Aug. 13. The 91-year-old was a Navy pilot who flew Corsair planes. He still actively... Read more...

Men with K.C. ties provide support to Israel’s Lone Soldiers

Earlier this month Jason Barnett helped issue Israeli IDs to new immigrants who will be joining the IDF in three months. Throughout Israel’s history, volunteers and supporters from all over the world... Read more...

Event to teach women about mitzvah of baking challah

Women will learn how to make and braid challah at the Mega Challah Bake Sept. 2. “The warm, delicious smell of Challah brings something peaceful into the atmosphere of the home.” Read more...

Listening Post

Celebrating a couple of auspicious birthdays are (from left) Eliyahu Eisenbach, 1, Tehila and Shalom Eisenbach and Sarah Zeldin, 102. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU AND YOU — This birthday was truly a family... Read more...

KC SuperStar finalists include Jewish contestant

Paris Naster is one of 10 finalists vying to become the next KC SuperStar. This year marked the first time 17-year-old Paris Naster auditioned for KC SuperStar, the Jewish Community Center’s “American... Read more...

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Letters to the Editor

Irresponsible comparison to Holocaust On Saturday, Aug. 23, the New York Times published an ad signed by about 300 Holocaust survivors, their direct Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Interfaith Council needs to despise anti-Semitism In response to the letter written by Sheila Sonnenschein and Rev. Mary McCoy of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council (Aug. 14), I wonder if it... Read more...

The structure of racism: Change begins with all of us

For decades, structures have existed that created and sustained Ferguson, Missouri’s, damaged relationship with its police. They have quietly worked their magic, and brought about the shooting of Michael... Read more...

Letters to the Editor

Israel is the victim I can’t help but find a correlation between Muslim migration into Europe and other non-Muslim countries and the rising clamor of anti-Semitism in those countries. Hamas instigated... Read more...

The spiritual journey of a lifetime

Ten local women participated in the 2014 Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel last month. Posing for this photo at the Decks in Tiberious are Stacy Wright (back row, from left), Patricia... Read more...

Letters to the Editor

We need to combat hate Anti-Semitism is a worldwide problem that is getting worse, especially overseas. Our best protection is education, making living conditions better for others and swift eradication... Read more...

The underlying war: Islamism versus democracy

Are Jews the canary in Western Civilization’s cultural mine? Read more...

Turning 80

During my journey through life, as the years have rolled on, I have discovered that time flies even when you’re not having fun — and suddenly even a watershed event can sneak up on one, as it did me.... Read more...

Letters to the Editor

Why can’t Jews speak Hebrew? How come so few Jews in North America know how to speak Hebrew? Sure a lot of them know how to read Hebrew from Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and there is a flowery English translation... Read more...

Why we’re letting our daughter stay in Israel in wartime

Let’s just say that missiles and bomb shelters were not on the itinerary of our 16-year-old daughter’s pilgrimage trip to Israel this summer. I spoke to her this morning. Yeah, the alarms are unnerving,... Read more...

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Celebrations

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Chopp Birth

Chopp Birth

Elizabeth and Isaac Chopp announce the birth June 4 of a daughter, Stella Rose Chopp. Read more...

Buchbinder Birth

Buchbinder Birth

Baree Nottberg and Scott Buchbinder of Overland Park announce the birth June 27 of a son, Theo Everett Read more...

Zwick-Pohlman Engagement

Arvin and Tammy Zwick of Overland Park announce the engagement of their daughter, Heather Ashley Zwick, to Andrew David Pohlman, son of Jeff and Robin Pohlman of Memphis, Tenn. Read more...

Nerman Wedding Anniversary

Margaret and Jerome Nerman will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary on Friday, Aug. 8. They are lifelong residents of Kansas City and have lived in Leawood since 1990. Read more...

Krashin Birth

Daniel and Jacki Krashin of Wilmete, Ill., announce the birth May 20 of a son, Drake Evan. They are also the parents of Madilyn Paige. Read more...

Unowsky Bat Mitzvah

Keri and Daniel Unowsky announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Sarah Beatrice, on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Beth Sholom Synagogue in Memphis, Tenn. Read more...

Weiner-Conley Engagement

Barbara and Jeff Weiner of Prairie Village announce the engagement of their daughter, Rebecca Brooke Weiner, to Jason Robert Conley, son of Randi and Larry Haith and Kim and Bob Conley. Read more...

Bock-Lewis Engagement

Lynne and David Bock announce the engagement of their daughter, Hannah Rose Bock, to Joshua Aaron Lewis, son of Sheryl and Jim Lewis of Deerfield, Ill. Read more...

Chase Bat Mitzvah

Debbie and Jeff Chase announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Talia Faye, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Congregation Beth Torah. Read more...

Passer-Wolkofsky Engagement

Sandy and Steve Passer announce the engagement of their daughter, Emily Passer, to Peter Wolkofsky, son of Michael and Vicky Wolkofsky of Queens, N.Y. Read more...

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Obituaries

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Eberman, Steve

Eberman, Steve

Steve took his final victory lap on earth on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, and passed peacefully at Garden Terrace. Read more...

Fichman, Charlotte

Charlotte Fichman, 86, of Overland Park, passed away Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Nussbaum, Marie

Marie Nussbaum, 94, formerly of Prairie Village, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at Sweet Life of Overland Park. Read more...

Rainen, Marc H.

Marc H. Rainen, 66, Kansas City, Mo., died on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., after a short struggle with cancer. Read more...

Braeman, Aaron

Aaron Braeman, 100, of Overland Park, died on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Brown, Peedee

Peedee Brown (nee Roseroot), 74, of Overland Park, formerly of Fairway, died peacefully at her home on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, surrounded by her loved ones. Read more...

Hipsh, Sam Harry

Sam Harry Hipsh, 95, of Leawood, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Read more...

Mittelman, Sara

Sara Mittelman, 97, was born May 10, 1917, and died Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, at Menorah Medical Center. Read more...

Sher, Peyton

Peyton Sher, 90, international boxing matchmaker and promoter, of Leawood, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, at the Kansas City Hospice House. Read more...

Zingher, Fran Meadow

Fran Meadow Zingher, 92, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Read more...

JFNA leader shares strategies for worldwide Jewry with local leaders

Jewish Federations of North America CEO Jerry Silverman is from Tulsa, Okla. As JFNA’s leader, last week he said he always enjoys returning to the Midwest

“I’m always amazed at the commitment the Jewish communities in the Midwest truly have both for their community, for their future, but also for the Jewish people everywhere. I’m always amazed at the passion and the emotion, how grounded these communities are. It’s really special,” Silverman said.

He was here Jan. 9 at the invitation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City to meet with a variety of community leaders including members of its board of directors, young leaders and rabbis.

“Kansas City is one of the top 40 Federations in North America. As the CEO of the national system, I feel it is my responsibility to spend as much time as I can in our Federations because I can be more effective in practicing leadership and ensuring that we are supporting and providing value to our Federations if I am spending time understanding what is happening in our communities,” Silverman explained.

The winter weather shortened Silverman’s visit. He was set to begin meetings Wednesday night, Jan. 8, but he didn’t arrive until late in the evening due to two cancelled flights. One important meeting with local Jewish Federation President and CEO Todd Stettner was early Thursday morning between Silverman and members of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City. The meeting was brought about in part because of a letter signed by a large portion of the RA’s membership asking the Jewish Federation to support a variety of pluralism issues in Israel.

Silverman spoke to the rabbis about different facets of pluralism in areas that Federations have specifically supported in Israel, including civil rights and gender balance.

“I talked to them about their commitment to pluralism and about the strategies that can be employed to really make a difference and shared with them some best practices from another community, which has the same passion and commitment to pluralism, so they can see what another community is doing and how they are framing it,” Silverman said.

Specifically, Silverman told the rabbis about the first experience he had as JFNA’s leader. At the time JFNA lobbied and worked on behalf of the Jewish community and several religious movements against a bill that was going through the Israeli Knesset on conversion.

“That really was a team effort that (JFNA) took the front space in for no other reason than everybody wanted us to take a frontal approach representing the Diaspora Jewish community. We were able as a constituency to get the bill frozen and stopped,” he said.

Silverman said issues of pluralism is something JFNA watches very, very closely and the issue was an important element of its recent General Assembly meeting in Jerusalem.

“We talked about the issues of civil marriage in Israel,” he said. “We talked about the issue of the Kotel, about it really being a place for all Jewish people and how the Federations have been very front and forward on the issue encouraging dialog, encouraging the plan that was evolved by Natan Sharansky,” he continued.

Silverman is very proud that this most recent GA concluded with a major march from Safra Square in Jerusalem (the city hall) down to the Kotel.

“It showed that not only were we verbally supportive of the expansion of the Kotel to allow it to be for all people, but also while we were in Israel we made certain that we had this major commitment to go to the Kotel and there were 1,200 to 1,400 on this walk,” Silverman said.

Silverman said he shared with the rabbis “how impressed and amazed” he is that the Kansas City community as a whole, and the rabbinical group specifically, is talking about these issues as a community.

“I applauded them for thinking about it,” Silverman said. “There was great dialogue, wonderful give and take.”

The meeting ended with a recommendation that a subcommittee of rabbis and Jewish Federation board members “see how they can both strategically meet the needs and the requests of the Rabbinical Association while at the same time look at what best practices are and look at what’s happening on the ground to see how strategies can be employed to have the best effect,” Silverman said.

Rabbi Scott White, president of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City, said both parties are currently working to put this committee together and “keep the conversation going.”

“It was pretty incredible that someone of Silverman’s stature came to a community like ours. We’re not one of the larger, more influential Jewish communities that has a lot of clout and influence in larger matters to deal with the Jewish people,” Rabbi White said.

“He listened very closely and we learned a lot from him. I think it put a charge in the Rabbinical Association to know that our voice is being heard and that we are being appreciated,” the rabbi continued.

“I give Todd Stettner a lot of credit for that. He brought Jerry in and made him available to sit with the rabbis,” Rabbi White concluded.

Silverman also praised the local Jewish Federation’s leadership, saying it is exceptional.

“They have a fabulous group of leaders, both professional and volunteer, led by Trish Uhlmann who is someone who cares so deeply and passionately about the Jewish people. There’s an energy and a vibrancy within the people that I’ve met from Kansas City and that I’ve had the opportunity to become involved with, which is really something,” Silverman said.

In fact, when he compared Kansas City to other Jewish Federations, Silverman called it a model community.

“Look at their commitment to global Jewry, their commitment to pluralism, their commitment to the vulnerable here and abroad. There’s a lot of real significant positives in what they do and how they do it, which is really amazing. The work and the connections that they’ve made as it pertains to reaching out to two very poor Jewish communities in Bulgaria and Romania are heartwarming.”