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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...

Israel once again study abroad option at University of Kansas

By Kelli White, Contributing Writer

Study abroad. That’s something many college students dream of — especially those studying different languages and cultures. But for University of Kansas students in the Jewish Studies Program, studying in Israel was not supported by the university for more than a decade. Now, that has changed. 

When Professor John Younger became director of Jewish Studies on Jan. 1, 2013, he immediately set out to do two things: organize faculty meetings and start a study abroad program to Israel. 

“Since 2002, KU had not been supporting students going to Israel. Israel had been on a travel advisory warning and KU felt it could not officially support student travel there. They would have to un-enroll, go study, then re-enroll at the University,” Younger said.

Younger, along with Director of the Study Abroad Office Angela Perryman, formed a united front and approached the University Council Office to change things.

“We have a large Jewish student population — an estimated 1,600 to 2,000 students,” Younger said. “With that number, the university not sponsoring students to study in the core country was ridiculous. In other cultural departments, there is the assumption to study in the target country to learn the language and culture. For Jewish students in America, it seems obvious to go to Israel to immerse in the culture. Why have a Jewish Studies Program if they can’t go to Israel?”

In 2013, the University Council Office reconsidered University support for a study abroad program to Israel and created a review committee and petition process that allows students to travel to countries with warnings. 

“Juggling the safety, personal passions and need for study is always the challenge from the perspective of the Study Abroad Office,” Perryman said. “But now having Israel as an option is really beneficial for students and makes sense for academic progress. And given the limited time we’ve had this option — less than one year — student interest has been high.”

Last summer, Perryman and Justine Hamilton with the Study Abroad Office connected with representatives from four Israeli universities to partner with KU and offer courses that satisfy KU credits. Younger hopes to expand those offerings as the program develops.

While the current Jewish Studies Program does not offer a major, the program has grown with more faculty, more courses and more students declaring minors. 

In the fall semester last year, KU officially supported students by offering an Innovation and Entrepreneurship trip to Israel that took place over winter break.

Professor Wally Meyer, director of entrepreneurship programs in KU’s School of Business, organized and led this learning adventure in which 21 students from all areas of study participated. 

“The importance of the trip was to help understand why Israel is so accomplished in entrepreneurship and technology innovation as evidenced by its standing as second in the world (behind only Silicon Valley) in the number of technology startups created each year,” Meyer said.

This trip was important for KU students interested in entrepreneurship, but also for the Jewish Studies Program in particular because it was the first University-supported excursion to Israel in such a long time. 

And it was a huge success. So much so, that another Innovation and Entrepreneurship trip is planned for January 2015. To sign up, students can contact Professor Meyer or the Study Abroad Office.

“The trip’s itinerary includes studying at The Technion Institute, visiting a dozen or more start-up companies and touring key historic sites,” Meyer said. 

In the post-trip analysis, all students were asked if they felt unsafe at any time and their response was “absolutely not.” 

“The most common conclusion from the students in their reflection papers was ‘it was a life-changing experience,’ ” Meyer said.

Everyone involved in supporting students going to Israel is happy that this is the first of many life-changing experiences for students. Including Rabbi Neal Schuster, KU Hillel’s senior Jewish educator, who was also involved in pushing the study-in-Israel opportunity forward.

“This is huge for the Jewish community,” Rabbi Schuster said. 

He explained the number of students studying in Israel in the past had dropped dramatically. Because the university didn’t financially support it and didn’t allow credits to transfer, students had to go to places like Florence or Barcelona when studying in Israel made more sense for their academic program.

“Now, when parents and students ask about studying in Israel, we can say, ‘yes, through KU you can.’ It’s refreshing to say that,” Rabbi Schuster said. “Now there is a significant upswing in students interested in choosing Israel.”

But as with any revisited idea, it takes time to catch on.

“For 11 years, all people said was ‘no, you can’t go there.’ It will take time for perceptions to change,” Younger said. 

Younger, who is an archaeologist and has excavated in Israel, is a member of the University’s advisory board and wants to develop the Jewish Studies Program to be like any other cultural or language program at KU. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship trip jump-started studying in Israel and he hopes to continue building interest with an archaeological tour this summer that will count for KU credit.

To make the tour cost effective, 15 students need to sign up. Right now, only four have submitted applications. But Younger isn’t worried yet.

“We are still getting the word out about this study abroad opportunity. This tour will be a great opportunity to introduce students [in the Jewish Studies program] to the idea that, yes, you can go to Israel!” Younger said.

 An Archaeological Tour of Ancient Israel May 20-June 13

The 2014 trip to Israel is a three-credit-hour course taught by John Younger, professor of classics and the academic director of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kansas. Younger is internationally known as an archaeologist and art historian; he has traveled widely in the Mediterranean and has excavated at numerous sites in Greece, Italy and Israel. 

The program will focus on the cultures in Israel from Neolithic to Medieval, concentrating on Jerusalem and the archaeological sites of northern and central Israel. Study will include the development of the Prehistoric, Iron Age, Classical, Roman, Byzantine, early Arabian and Crusader cultures in Israel. Contact with the art, architecture, and archaeology will strengthen student appreciation of our Israeli heritage. 

Students will visit Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth and Tiberias. By the end of the program, students will have visited most of the important museums and sites in northern and central Israel.

For more information on this course and the exciting opportunity to study in Israel, visit jewishstudies.ku.edu/study-abroad.