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At 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, my clock radio awakened me in my home in the Bronx to the radio announcer saying, "Giants and Royals in Kansas City tonight. Game one of the World Series." "I am dreaming," I thought. When I realized I wasn’t, I jumped out of bed to call my Abba so we could share our exuberance about the ultimate Margolies World Series. His lifelong beloved Giants and his much-loved Royals. Then I truly woke up; my father’s second yahrzeit was rapidly approaching. This World Series was dreamt up in heaven, by my father.

My father’s passion for baseball began shortly after he arrived from Jerusalem in January 1930 at the age of 8, with his mother and siblings, to join his father who was already living in the Bronx. He spoke no English, only Hebrew, and Yiddish. But he quickly learned the language of baseball. However, as there were then three New York teams — the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants — he didn’t know for whom to root. The problem was solved when a Salanter Yeshiva classmate told him the only Jew on the three teams was Harry Danning, a catcher for the Giants. That was all this little boy, born in the ultra-religious section of Meah Shearim and desperately trying to acclimate to America, needed to know. Danning was a Jew, and to a wide-eyed boy from the backwaters of 1920s Jerusalem adjusting to a new life, this fact connected him to the world he just left. The Giants became his team and his love for his Giants never waivered even when they left New York for San Francisco and we left a few years later for Kansas City.

It was in fact through baseball that my father claimed to have received his best childhood advice ever. He told the story of how one yeshiva classmate, Josh Rednor, helped him make friends when he still barely spoke English. Josh told him that to become buddies with the other kids all he had to do was ask each one who was the greatest baseball player of all time. If someone didn’t know, Josh told him to simply say "Ty Cobb" and then he’d fit right in. And so he did. Perhaps too well.

According to my father, his father — the grandfather I never met — a rabbi and Talmud teacher at Salanter Yeshiva, thought my father’s obsession with baseball, which only increased over the years, was a waste of time, taking away valuable hours from Talmud study. As a teenager, in what proved to be a futile attempt to convince his father of the wonders of baseball, he took him to a game. After someone hit a home run, my grandfather turned to my father and said in Yiddish, "So what has he accomplished? He started out at home plate and he ran all the way around to get right back to where he started." That was the last baseball game my grandfather ever attended.

But to my father, baseball fit quite well with Torah and Talmud. After all isn’t Simchat Torah about completing the Torah reading only to immediately start back at the beginning, at home plate? Indeed, my father fused his passions and turned baseball into a vehicle to promote his greatest love: Torah.

His knowledge of Tanach and Talmud was encyclopedic. But so was his baseball knowledge, workings its way into many a sermon. His idea of entertaining his children and grandchildren was to quiz us on the Tanach, and the creativity in his questions would put Jeopardy writers to shame. He combined his knowledge to create a "Torah and Baseball" quiz, mostly for the benefit of my nephews who, like their grandfather, have an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport. He would pose a Torah question and if the right answer was given he would follow up with a baseball question.

When my father died in 2012, just days after his Giants won the World Series, I could not help but wonder who won the World Series in 1921, the year he was born, and so I looked it up. Sure enough, the Giants. Strangely, this brought me some comfort that he came into this world and left it with his Giants on top.

I will never know which team my father would have rooted for in the 2014 World Series. However, I am certain that he would have loved every pitch, every catch, and every play — and he would have used it all to continue doing what he loved most, teaching Torah.






The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye," by Jeffrey Dauber. (Nextbook, Schocken, 2013.)


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


Jeremy Krashin

With my daughter on her death bed, my wife, Julie, and I spent the day reciprocating her love, hope and inspiration with as much of the same as we could. Ilana was 3 days old and was not going to make it through the night. We learned of this around 1 p.m., which meant that by the time she would pass, we would have 11 hours more with her.


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.


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 


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