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Jewish Federation announces three major award recipients to be honored at 2016 Annual Gathering

Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City has announced three award recipients for this year’s annual gathering scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, in the Galleria and White Theatre at the Jewish Community Campus.

The three award recipients for 2016 are:

Agency Program of the Year: Hyman Hebrew Academy, Upper School Social Justice Project

Congregation Program of the Year Award: The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, Shabbat in the Park

Educator of the Year Award: Dayna Gershon, director of formal and informal education at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah

Shabbat in the Park, the congregation program of the year, brings Shabbat services into a public space for the entire community. 

“Our goal is not to take folks away from their home congregations, but rather to permit the community to experience Shabbat in an open, neutral place,” says B’nai Jehudah Senior Rabbi Art Nemitoff. “Just as the service in Israel is at the port — and many just happen upon it — we have found a number of folks, Jewish and others, who have discovered our service and found meaning.”

In addition to receiving the congregation program of the year award, B’nai Jehudah is also the employer of this year’s educator of the year, Dayna Gershon.

“When we saw the way Dayna taught teachers, students and families, we turned our entire educational program over to her, as we made her our director of formal and informal Jewish learning. What makes her teacher of the year is what she has demonstrated to our families: She loves Judaism,” Rabbi Nemitoff says.

This year’s agency program of the year is HBHA’s Upper School Social Justice Project, which provides students an in-depth, hands-on experience in taking action on critical issues facing our community. 

“Students at HBHA yearn to connect their classroom and school experiences with making a difference in the larger world, especially when those issues center around injustice to individuals and/or groups based upon their background,” says HBHA Upper School Principal/ and College Guidance Director Todd Clauer. “By focusing on local issues, students get to have up-close experiences with real people affected by lack of opportunity, and also advocate to policymakers who might improve conditions for affected people.”

Each award recipient will be recognized at the annual gathering. All three awards are selected by a committee of community professionals and volunteers.

The annual gathering is free to attend and open to the public, however, reservations are requested. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.jewishkansascity.org/annualgathering or contact Cheri Anne Winkler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 913-327-8103.