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Nikki Multer

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 7, 20 students from KU Hillel travelled to Israel through KU Hillel’s Israel Leadership Mission (ILM). ILM is a high-level immersive experience in Israel for students that demonstrate a commitment to serving a leadership role within the Jewish community upon their return. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}The trip is intended to help students gain a deeper understanding of Israel’s economic and social issues that it faces on a daily basis. The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City has been funding ILM for the past seven years. Throughout the trip, students interacted with Jewish community leaders, peers and children while volunteering at many of the projects that the Jewish Federation supports. ILM is a way for students to see the issues first hand that Israeli’s are facing and then bring back what they have learned to KU.

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Jeremy Applebaum

Anne Frank wrote, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” {mprestriction ids="1,3"}On Feb. 8, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City is calling on you to start improving the world as we seek volunteers to give their time, talent and resources during our annual community campaign kickoff event — Super Sunday.

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Rabbi David M. Glickman

(Editor’s note: These are the remarks presented by Rabbi David Glickman at the Memorial and Solidarity Service for the Victims in France held Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the Jewish Community Campus. It was presented by Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City, Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee, Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City.)

The first Jew in France, Archelaus, son of Herod, found his way there in the year 6 of the Common Era, exiled by the Emperor Augstus, dying 10 years later in the year 16. Jewish legend, with some archaeological evidence behind it, teaches that when the Romans conquered Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, three boatloads of Jewish captives were sent to Bordeaux, Arles and Lyons. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Over the past two millennia, the Jewish community of France has been one of the greatest cauldrons of Jewish thought and creativity. France was the home of Rashi our greatest commentator, as well as his brilliant grandsons and great-grandsons. In the past century, France was the adopted home of the Lubavitcher Rebbe before he came to America. France was the home of contemporary Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, and French the adopted language of Elie Weisel. This is not even recalling the centuries of hardship from the Crusades to the Dreyfus Affair to Vichy.

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Alana Gaffen carries her army boots on the day she completed her two-year IDF service, Dec. 10, 2014.

I’m writing from my cozy apartment in the middle of winter on my kibbutz in the south of Israel. Never did I expect to actually move my entire life out here, let alone serve and be respectfully discharged from my army service in the IDF, and further, continue living day-to-day life as an Israeli-American citizen. Sure I was raised Jewish and spent most of my life in youth groups, Jewish day school and synagogue on the high holidays. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Being brought up this way encouraged me to hold tradition, to be proud of being Jewish and to eventually travel to the Holy Land.

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Members of K.I. gathered several times this summer for a Shabbat Alfresco experience along with members of Temple Israel. It was held outdoors at K.I.’s Millie and Saul Kass Patio.

My family — including my wife Marlene, my children and my in-laws — has come to love and value our second home, Kehilath Israel Synagogue.

My family has been affiliated with K.I. for more than 15 years. I often wonder why so many Jews are not affiliated with a synagogue.

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We would like to thank the Jewish community for your generous toy donations to CASA during the SPIN 1000 event at the Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Dec. 14. The children we represent have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect, and the foster parents and relatives who care for them often struggle to provide basics such as food, clothing and school expenses. There is rarely money left for toys. Your generous donations will help us provide holiday gifts and birthday presents for these children — who have very little joy in their lives.

Thank you so much for including us in your wonderful Hanukkah celebration.

 

Our world community and our K.C. Jewish community know the swastika as Hitler’s “symbol.” But we should know as well that the swastika is at least 3,000 years old, and has a positive meaning in many of the old civilizations around India and beyond, being widespread in their old art. One can find a more complete history of the swastika on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (www.ushmm.org) or by Googling the topic. I think it is important for us (and my parents escaped from Warsaw in early September 1939) to have the history of the icon and then see how it was distorted in its usage. This knowledge may help explain the use of it in the particular wrapping paper that started the public cry — for it reminds me of old decorative art in India.

 

The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council (GKCIC) has viewed with dismay the violent events which have marred this fresh new year of 2015. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}GKCIC notes also that, even while violence is still among us, there are many people throughout the world who are working actively for peace and unity among peoples of different faiths.

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Todd Stettner

There have been many blogs and emails concerning the tragedies in France. I have been wrestling with the issue of whether or not to add mine to this flood of commentary and analysis. What added value can I give to the comments of very talented people who have already written insightful, moving and meaningful words? {mprestriction ids="1,3"}After much internal conflict, I have decided to offer my perception of how this has dovetailed our lives and our community in Kansas City.

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I was thrilled to see the wonderful article about the University of Kansas students that are on the Birthright Israel trip this winter. Studies by Brandeis University have shown that this is one of the most effective ways to enhance Jewish identity and insure Jewish continuity. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}But, as in most things in life, this “free trip” is not really free.

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When our children move what do they take with them? What did I take with me from the West Virginia home where I grew up? Wonderful memories of a good childhood free of parent-induced guilt and the belief we should always do our best so we have no regrets.  What reminders of home do our children display? More importantly, what moral and spiritual legacy do they carry with them? What actions will they be remembered for in their new communities?

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The spinning-top name (not the game) appears to be of recent origin, perhaps first employed in the 19th century. From the German word drehen meaning to turn or to spin our Yiddish-speaking forefathers forged the neologism dreidel despite the fact that the German term Kreisel for a spinning-top existed. In southern Germany the final /l/ sound often is used to indicate diminutive objects suggesting that the word dreidel originated from this geographical area. Alternatively speakers of Yiddish no longer living in southern Germany may have created the word dreidel. In any event, the creator or creators of the word dreidel cleverly selected a German word root to name a distinctively Jewish object, thereby, avoiding a German word to commemorate an upbeat rabbinic holiday.

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