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Letter to the Editor

A lesson in BBYO history

Congratulations to an extraordinary young lady Ellie Bodker for the extraordinary achievement of election as the international n’siah (president) of BBG.

However, the KC Jewish Chronicle (hedging its bet) wrote she was thought to be the first person — male or female — from the Kansas City Jewish community to serve as an international president for the teen organization. (Feb. 25)

Anyone who passed their Aleph In Training (new member) training as a member of AZA knows the second international president of AZA, who served in 1925, was Ambassador Philip Klutznik of Kansas City. Klutznick later went on to serve two terms as president of B’nai B’rith International and served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Jimmy Carter. Klutznick’s entire bio of achievements would fill pages of The Chronicle.

Also from Kansas City, Rabbi Abraham D. Shaw served as international godol (president) in 1928-29.  He served Temple Ohev Shalom of Baltimore, Maryland, as rabbi for over 60 years.

On a slightly related note; the Kansas City area can boast of numerous individuals who served as the international president of BBW (B’nai B’rith Women — now Jewish Women International). They were Edith Kornbleet, Evelyn Wasserstrom and Grace Day from St. Joseph.

With the second AZA chapter in the International Order of AZA founded in Kansas City (and still strong today), and a long proud history of involvement in AZA and BBG, Kansas and BBYO are strongly connected.