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KC Leadership Tomorrow gives summer interns valuable experience while helping nonprofits

KC Leadership Tomorrow gives summer interns valuable experience while helping nonprofits

Rae Pfau is the first paid employee the Mitzvah Garden has ever had. She serves this summer as the garden’s volunteer coordinator and is being paid through KC Leadership Tomorrow, a summer internship... Read more...

The Blue Card available to assist older Holocaust survivors; JFS makes local connection

The Blue Card available to assist older Holocaust survivors; JFS makes local connection

Every year, the number of Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle. Statistics indicate that of the 75,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States, about one-third live below poverty level. While... Read more...

B’nai Jehudah announces ‘interim’ year of music

Coleen Dieker The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah has announced to its congregation that it is embarking on a journey of musical exploration that they are calling “an interim year of music.”... Read more...

Listening Post

CDC teachers Barbara Abramowitz and Liz Bigus. STUDENT BECOMES CO-TEACHER — About 20 years ago Elizabeth Bigus was a 3-year-old preschool student in Barbara Abramowitz’s class at the Jewish Community... Read more...

Visitors, residents send K.C. folks messages they are safe

Members of the Jewish Federation’s Shorashim 2 mission visited an Iron Dome command center outside of Ashkelon in May 2014. Shorashim 2 was a mission for men only to learn about contemporary issues facing... Read more...

Special fundraising campaigns initiated: Israel needs you now

Late last week the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, through the Jewish Federations of North American, launched Operation Relief and Respite in response to the current tensions in Israel. Read more...

Survivorship courses to help cancer survivors incorporate ‘Back in the Swing’ lifestyle

Among other things, Barbara Unell spoke about the ‘Back in the Swing Cookbook’ at The Duke Cancer Center Survivorship Center in Durham, N.C., last fall. “This is a plan for wellness versus illness.”... Read more...

NCJW Back to School Store offers new clothing, school supplies to underprivileged kids

National Council of Jewish Women’s Back to School Store will impact 200 children living in poverty in the Kansas City metro area, primarily from Jackson County, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan. Read more...

Israeli Scouts to bring high-energy performance to Campus, B’nai Jehudah

Friendship Caravan Assif While things in their home country are a little tense, a group of young Israelis will be here to share their talents and their love of their country. On Friday, July 25, the Friendship... Read more...

Listening Post

Howard Haas (left) and Rabbi Morey Schwartz in Jerusalem. MELTON@HBHA — While traveling in Israel, Howard Haas, head of school at the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, met with Rabbi Morey Schwartz in Jerusalem... Read more...

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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...

Letter to the Editor

Half-truths and anti-Semitism I was irate after watching the late CNN news on July 10. Anderson Cooper pretended to deliver a factual report about Israel’s bombing of Arab residences, with a slight... Read more...

Amidst turmoil, life in Israel continues to be meaningful

My mother wants me to come home. I’ve been calling her every day, and she wants me on a plane immediately. She has been watching the news and following events as they unfold here in Israel and she is... Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Conference gives families hope My husband Harold and I were fortunate to attend the Mucolipidosis Type 4 (ML4) Foundation Family & Research Conference last month in Atlanta. ML4, a relatively unknown... Read more...

We mourn three senseless deaths caused by hate, again

Our Jewish community has held two memorial services in the last three months — 77 days apart to be exact. Thousands of people attended the first one, as the Jewish community grieved for the senseless... Read more...

‘Soul Encounters’ reminds us of Rebbe’s message

Rabbi Sholom Wineberg The name “Soul Encounters” appropriately identified the program at Chabad House Center, which took place Tuesday, July 1, 3rd of Tammuz. Nearly 100 people attended. Read more...

Letter to the Editor

No champion of Jewish values I cannot share Washington Jewish Week/JNS.orgreporter Dmitriy Shapiro’s lament for the demise of Eric Cantor’s political career (The Chronicle, June 19, or www.jns.org),... Read more...

Federation mission gives participants unique look at Eastern European Jews

Alan Widman (left) and Stacey Belzer (right) visit with Sybil Sylvian in June. Sylvian’s picture was featured on Page 1 of The Chronicle in January as part of a story about the KU Hillel European Leadership... Read more...

'State of Deception' exhibition should not be missed

“Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert.” — Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf,” 1924   I attended a press preview this week for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museums... Read more...

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Celebrations

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Chase Bat Mitzvah

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

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...

Zwillenberg 50th Anniversary

Morris and Linda (Fein) Zwillenberg will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, July 26. They were married at Beth Shalom Synagogue in Hartford, Conn., on July 26, 1964. Read more...

Halasz Birth

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz and Scott Halasz of Dayton, Ohio, announce the birth May 6 of a son, Ethan Falk Halasz. They are also the parents of another son, Jonah. Read more...

Unell Bat Mitzvah

Joe and Marcia Unell announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Alyssa Unell, on June 26 at Haas Promenade in Jerusalem. Read more...

Zeldin B'nai Mitzvah

Ashlyn and Alexis Zeldin celebrated their Bat Mitzvah commitment ceremony on June 6 in Santa Barbara, Calif. They are the daughters of Janine and Kevin Zeldin of St Louis, Mo. Read more...

Badzin-Fineman Engagement

Jim and Fern Badzin, Leawood, announce the engagement of their daughter, Brooke Michelle Badzin, to Nathan Gabriel Fineman, both of Chicago, son of Glen and Holly Fineman, Omaha, Neb. Read more...

Bergman-Kaplan Engagement

Victor and Susan Bergman announce the engagement of their daughter, Ruthie Bergman, to Asher Kaplan, son of Shlomo Kaplan, Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., and Judith Kaplan, Boca Raton, Fla. Read more...

Reidy Wedding

Jennifer Mayer and James Reidy were married Saturday, March 1, at the Overland Park Marriott. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Read more...

Alpert Birth

Jeremy and Ashley Alpert of Overland Park announce the birth May 28 of a son, Levi Caleb. Levi joins big brother Jonah Doni. Read more...

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Obituaries

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Silverman, Inge B.

Inge B. Silverman, 83, of Leawood, passed away Thursday, July 17, 2014, at Menorah Medical Center. Read more...

Warshawsky, Arnold

Warshawsky, Arnold

Arnold Warshawsky passed away on Friday, July 18, 2014, after a lengthy battle with health issues for almost a decade, including COPD. Read more...

Waxman, Michael Bernard

Michael Bernard Waxman, 63, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Baldwin City, Kan., on July 16, 2014. Read more...

Chick, Stephen

Stephen Bruce Chick of Prairie Village passed away peacefully on Monday, July 7, 2014. Read more...

Freed, Ronald

Ronald Lee Freed passed away on Monday, July 14, 2014. Read more...

Gladstone, Donald

Donald H. Gladstone, 93, of Overland Park, passed away Thursday, July 10, 2014. Read more...

Hammer, Robert L.

Robert L. Hammer, 73, passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Read more...

Hoffman, Dorothy

Dorothy Lillian Hoffman, 91, of Leawood, passed away on Sunday, July 6, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Megerman, Charles

Charles Megerman, 67, of Overland Park, passed away Monday, July 14, 2014, at his home. Read more...

Plotsky, Edward

Edward Plotsky, 68, of Reno, Nev., passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at his home. A private service and interment will be in Reno. 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.”