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I am finished apologizing that I am unable to marry gay and lesbian Jewish couples. Thus, I write this personal, open letter to my congregation, as well as to the entire Jewish community of Kansas City.


According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child abuse kills over 1,600 children every year. Most child abuse victims are infants less than 1 year old. Abusive Head Trauma is the most common form of fatal child abuse.


Introducing Hebrew learning opportunities

We wish the K.C. Jewish Community a L’Shanah Tovah V’Metukah — a sweet near year filled with Hebrew learning! From across the Jewish community, we are promoting the importance of learning Hebrew. Our goal is simply “Something for everyone” — whether you know an alef from a bet or speak fluently. We are developing inclusive and exciting Hebrew language opportunities for all ages to be offered at no cost at times convenient to your schedule. To add your name to our growing mailing list or to learn about our exciting learning opportunities, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Yahav Barnea, K.C. Israeli emissary

Hazzan Tahl Ben Yehudah

Lisa Bernard

Gevurah Davis

Zev Dickman

Alan Edelman

Ann Elyachar

Galit Israeli

Miriam Glueck

Brendan Howard

Gary Kaplan

Orit Kamara 

Joe Karbank

Harold Koch

Sharon Loftspring

Suzy Rieber

Kathi Rosenberg

Hedy Shron

Sheila Sonnenschein

Sandy Suffian 

Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Harris Winitz


KU’s Sinai Scholars recently attended the Sinai Scholars Retreat in Chicago. Shown are Arie Mello (top row, from left), Rebeka Luttinger, Ethan King, Nechama Tiechtel, Betsy Jacob and Sammy Katz. Bottom row: Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, Annabella Zighelboim, Eric Tetenbaum, Michael Portman, George Rohr, Emilia Eryn, Michael Lebovitz, Molly Rissien and Samantha Levine.

Around third grade is when teachers start asking you what you want to be when you grow up. Typical third-graders would say that want to be an astronaut or an actor, something along those lines. Third-graders have


Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan: A Jewish reggae artist came to play at the synagogue, offering a taste spiritual and uniquely Jamaican Jewish experience to the community.

Many of us think of Israel as the melting pot of the Jewish people, as the one place where Jews of every color, nationality


Irresponsible comparison to Holocaust

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


Thank you for providing me with such a warm welcome to the community. It’s been a pleasure to meet so many of you and I look forward to the opportunity to meet more of you over the coming months.


Both sides suffer

(Editor’s note: This letter to the editor, originally  published in the Aug. 28 issue, is reprinted in its entirety with corrections.)

The latest issue of The Chronicle features a picture of an Arab child before a bombed building in Gaza. Everybody, except for Hamas, has sympathy for the people of Gaza who are suffering from the destruction arising from the so-called war.

But, we wonder, what were the editors of The Chronicle thinking about when they printed this picture? Where is the picture of a bomb hole in Israel, caused by a Hamas rocket? Where is a picture of Israeli children huddled in a bomb shelter when Hamas rockets are raining down upon their communities?

Hamas fires rockets into Israel with the intention of killing Jews.

Israel fires rockets into Gaza with the intent of stopping Hamas rockets. There is a distinction! There is a difference!

Innocent people are killed and wounded on both sides. You are not helping by featuring only the evidence of the suffering of one side.

Joel Pelofsky

Kansas City, Mo.


Shocking news

I had a shock.

On the news I saw that three people were murdered in South Kansas City. I knew exactly the spot as Susan and Charles lived there. 

Then I found out that she was one of the people murdered. I am in shock. 

We met about five years ago. She became active in National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Kansas City Section. We began working together on committees. She was very interested in two issues important to me, interfaith relations and the issue of agunot, Jewish women who could not get a religious divorce. 

When we met we realized that our lives had touched once before we met. I had replaced her as a speaker at an interfaith event when she was ill. She was supposed to speak about Judaism. Since I was at the event with my daughter, I was asked to fill in. Later, when we met, it was this incident that gave us something in common. 

This past March, I drove her to the national NCJW Convention in St. Louis. We had spent five hours together each way. 

In the car we talked about our families. Susan was very proud of her nephews. And spoke about them as I spoke about my children. We talked about interfaith, as our section of NCJW would soon be having our interfaith event. We had combined learning about different religions and the issue of divorce in these religions: Judaism, Catholicism and Islam. It turned out to be a wonderful panel discussion. Susan was one of the panelists.

A few days after our return, Susan and Charles brought us Hamantashen that Charles had made for Purim. And they wanted me to have some as a thank you and as, “shaloch manot,” for Purim.

I saw her the week before she died. We met by chance in a women’s clothing store. She was out shopping for the first time since her mother had passed. I had been out of town when her Mom died, so had not been at the funeral or paid a shiva call.

We talked about NCJW and when she would get back to volunteering. I told her everyone understood. It is difficult to lose your mother. When she was ready it was time enough.

Now I feel sad and am shocked, as she will not volunteer again.

Baruch Dayan haEmet, May her Name be for a blessing.

Ellen Portnoy

Overland Park, Kan.


Unconscionable act

It is with great shock and sorrow that the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council received word of the tragic death of its Jewish director, Susan Choucroun, Sept. 2 in the Kansas City Woodbridge neighborhood.

Susan was a valued member of the interfaith community and had a passion for community activism and interfaith understanding and cooperation. She was a caring person. She wanted others to know about her Jewish faith, and she wanted to know theirs.

This unconscionable act is, unfortunately, yet another indication that our society is in great need of compassion and healing that not only Divine love can give, but family, friends and the whole community can give to each other as well. The Council extends its condolences to Susan’s husband, relatives and to members of her congregational families at Ohev Sholom and Kehilath Israel Synagogue, as well as to the Jewish and Kansas City communities.

The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council calls on everyone to react with a determination to replace violence with peace as a way to honor Susan’s memory as well as the memory of the other victims.

Sheila Sonnenschein, convener

Mary McCoy, co-conveneer

Greater Kansas City 

Interfaith Council


Article omitted facts 

As president of the Missouri Kansas chapter of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, I am disappointed that Grandmothers Against Gun Violence was not mentioned in the article published in the Aug. 29 issue of The Chronicle about the new Kansas chapter of the Brady Campaign. Susan Blaney is not only co-founder of the Brady Campaign Kansas chapter, she is also co-founder with me, as well as vice president, of our local Grandmothers Against Gun Violence chapter. 

Susan has been in constant contact with the Brady Campaign staff for a long time, and was instrumental in getting the chapter set up in Kansas. In fact, Blayney is the one who recruited Harold Koch, Paul Temme and Loren Stanton to join her as charter members — and without her efforts, the chapter would not be here. These three men are also members of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, and the statistics cited in the article all came from the our chapter’s March 2014 meeting.

Judy Sherry


Missouri Kansas Chapter, 

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence 


Major General (res) Yoav Gallant, head of Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, shakes the hand of a wounded IDF soldier. Also in the room visiting the soldier are wounded veterans from Operation Cast Lead. ZDVO blurred the face of the soldier as he is still on active duty.

Over the years on more than one occasion my family and I had the great privilege of visiting the Beit Halochem Center in


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 has also come to their attention that pogroms against Jews are


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