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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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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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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...

As it celebrates centennial, JDC enjoys fruitful partnership with local Jewish Federation

It’s simply impossible to describe everything the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has done to save Jews from all over the world over the past 100 years. As a JDC online campaign says, JDC ensures Jewish life can be passed from one generation to another.

Known as JDC or The Joint, since 1914 it has been considered the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. Today, JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Kansas City will celebrate the JDC’s centennial at two events — tomorrow night (Feb. 14) at Congregation Beth Torah with a joint Shabbat service featuring a speech by Patricia Uhlmann, chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and JDC board member, and Sunday, Feb. 23, when JDC CEO Alan Gill speaks. (For more information, see below.)

Jewish Federation’s President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Stettner said these two events, and others similar to it all over the country, are celebrating 100 years of JDC’s good deeds.

“The JDC started out helping those who were in distress in Palestine and in Russia,” Stettner said. “That role has continued to change and evolve over the past 100 years and the JDC still plays a very vital role beyond the wonderful history that it has in the rescue and the care of those Jews who were in Europe in pre-, post- and during World War II.”

He said the fact that the JDC helped our grandparents and our great-grandparents survive and get out of war-torn Europe as well as helping other Jewish immigrants from around the world is not the only reason we should care about the JDC today.

“If we truly believe as a people in tikkun olam and repair of the world and taking care of one another, then the JDC’s role over the last 100 years is very important and therefore the centennial should be celebrated by everyone who cares about humanity: Jews and non-Jews alike,” Stettner said.

Many people know about the JDC’s history — including many survivors who were literally saved by the JDC before they settled here after the Holocaust — but don’t know much about the role the JDC plays around the world today and the connection our local community has to JDC. For instance, when there’s a natural disaster somewhere in the world or in the United States, such as the earthquake in Haiti or Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the JDC provides non-sectarian assistance. During many of these disasters, our local Jewish Federation begins a special fundraising campaign to collect money, and then hands it over to the JDC to distribute.

“Those donations go directly toward assisting that particular crisis,” Stettner said. “Those funds do not come from our annual campaign.”

JDC helps provide basic assistance such as shelter, food and clothing for Jews in many parts of the world. Funding for some of that, Stettner said, does come from the Jewish Federation’s annual campaign and is managed through its Israel and Overseas Committee. But JDC does more than provide money and services to Jews around the world, it also helps them learn to do for themselves. Jewish Kansas Citians do so as well, in partnership with the JDC and Jewish communities in Bulgaria and Romania as well as the Ramla-Gezer region in Israel.

The Eastern European partnership began in 2000. A few years later, approximately 10 years ago, Stettner put together a professionals’ exchange program where leaders from Romania and Bulgaria, Ramla, Gezer and Kansas City met each other and learned about each other’s programs. Several local programs — including what used to be called the Simcha Box program that delivered food every month to those in need in the Jewish community and Jewish Family Service’s Help@Home program — evolved from those professional exchanges.

That’s how the relationship between JDC and Kansas City’s Heart to Heart International, a locally based humanitarian aid organization, began as well. Stettner said that Steve Israelite, who at the time was the executive director of the Jewish Heritage Foundation, was a part of that professionals exchange program. After visiting Romania and Bulgaria and seeing their needs first hand, Stettner said Israelite believed these people could be helped by Heart to Heart. Since Israelite already had connections with the organization, Stettner said Israelite “made an introduction for Trish Uhlmann, who serves on the board of the JDC and is currently the Jewish Federation’s president, and I to Heart to Heart,” Stettner said.

Stettner explained that Heart to Heart has good relationships with large pharmaceutical companies, and through Heart to Heart’s connections, JDC was able to get much needed medications to people — both Jews and non-Jews — in Bulgaria and Romania.

“We saw there was a great deal of need in Bulgaria and Romania because the medical systems in those countries really were not very good,” Stettner said. “Heart to Heart was able to get thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of medication for us, which we then sent to Bulgaria and Romania.”

“Heart to Heart also helped provide medical items to the Gaza Strip and in Israel,” Stettner continued.

Because Heart to Heart and JDC already had a relationship, the Jewish organization was able to assist Heart to Heart immediately following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“Heart to Heart was having trouble getting transportation because any vehicle that was in working condition was already taken,” Stettner explained. “Through the JDC connections in the Dominican Republic, which is on the same island as Haiti, they were able to get a truck for Heart to Heart to use to transport its equipment and its personnel. In fact we saw a picture that showed a sign on the truck that thanked JDC for assisting them.”

Stettner is thrilled the JDC continues its relationship with Heart to Heart and that the Jewish Federation has a part as a partner and a broker in that relationship.

“There’s been all of these things that have happened over the years between us and it’s been a wonderful partnership in that way. Both organizations have benefitted from it,” Stettner said.

Steve Weber, executive director of Heart to Heart’s Haiti division, said the partnership between Heart to Heart and the JDC has been phenomenal. He said he works very closely with JDC personnel in both Israel and New York.

“In fact a group of Jewish doctors will be coming to Haiti through JDC very soon,” Weber said.

In addition to helping Jews in need, Stettner pointed out that JDC is also helping train Jewish leaders of tomorrow through its Entwine program for young adults. Entwine offers a continuum of service opportunities for young Jewish adults who want to make an impact in overseas Jewish communities, in Israel, or in other locations where JDC is involved in non-sectarian development work. Service experiences take place in countries around the world, including in Argentina, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Haiti, India, Israel, Russia, Rwanda, Turkey and Ukraine. It was through this program that KU Hillel students recently visited Romania and Bulgaria.

“So JDC is also helping develop the next generation of Jewish leaders by having a program like that,” Stettner said.

Uhlmann to speak at Beth Torah

The congregations of B’nai Jehudah and Beth Torah will join together for erev Shabbat services at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, to be held at Beth Torah. Guest speaker Patricia Uhlmann will speak in honor of the 100th anniversary of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (The Joint). Uhlmann’s topic is The Joint and its role in Jewish life.

Kansas City celebrates JDC’s Centennial

Sunday, Feb. 23
3 to 4:30 pm
The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah
12320 Nall Ave.
Overland Park, KS
Many Kansas Citians have worked with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) over the years — either directly with the organization or through their gift to the Jewish Federation — to help Jewish people who are in dire need around the world. Those who wish to celebrate JDC’s many accomplishments may do so when Alan Gill, JDC’s CEO, visits Kansas City. Gill’s visit will highlight 100 years of helping Jewish people around the globe. Light refreshments follow the lecture. The event is free of charge; registration is requested by Feb. 20 at jewishkansascity.org/jdccentennial.
The JDC Centennial is sponsored by the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City and the Jewish Federation.