SevenDays® 2017 has many Jewish community connections
- Published: Thursday, 13 April 2017 14:20
- Written by Marcia Montgomery, Community Editor
This year’s SevenDays® Make Ripple, Change the World begins Tuesday, April 18, and continues through Monday, April 24, and several members of Kansas City’s local Jewish community are intimately involved with the effort.
This marks the third year for SevenDays® — an effort to embrace diversity across races, religions and cultures. SevenDays® continues the healing journey following the murders that took the lives of Dr. William L. Corporon, his grandson Reat Underwood and Teresa LaManno outside of Jewish facilities in April 2014. The three lost their lives at the hands of a convicted Neo-Nazi gunman outside of the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom just before Passover. SevenDays® promotes interfaith dialogue by engaging all people to discover commonalities and overcome evil with acts of kindness. SevenDays® is sponsored by the Faith Always Wins Foundation and LaManno-Hastings Family Foundation in partnership with several organizations.
Alana Muller is one of three overall chairs of the SevenDays® along with Founder Mindy Corporon and Jill Andersen. As such, Muller has been responsible for overseeing seven of 21 committees working all year on this massive effort. A member of Congregation Beth Shalom, Muller said her connection to Judaism has played a significant part in her SevenDays® involvement.
“Our Jewish faith teaches us that to save one human life means to save the world,” Muller said. “To that end, I believe the work that SevenDays® is doing to eliminate hate crimes by bringing together people of different backgrounds is life-saving work.”
Jane Martin, a member of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, serves on the Steering Committee as social media chair. It’s Martin’s big job to help spread the word about SevenDays® and its interfaith and kindness efforts.
“A major factor in my initial support of SevenDays® was Mindy Corporon’s ability to respond to hate with love — enormous amounts of love,” Martin said. “I have since learned how important it is that we work to build bridges in our community, with an end goal of better understanding between Kansas City’s micro-communities,” she said. “We are fortunate to have organizations like SevenDays® to help facilitate these efforts.”
Other members of the community involved on the Steering Committee include Ruth Baum Bigus, media relations and public relations chair, and Shanna Haun, a member of the kindness committee.
Several Jewish teens are also involved in the SevenDays® efforts. The Youth Advisory Board has three Jewish teens serving — Nathan Safir and Sydney Galamba, Blue Valley North; and Blake Mendenhall, Shawnee Mission West. River Hennick, a student at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, designed the collectible button for Day Five: Go.
The Jewish Community Center (The J) is participating as an organization with numerous activities and staff will wear SevenDays® buttons throughout the week. The J will have a large display in the lobby about each day with photos representing what is going on at The J that correlates to each day’s theme. On Tuesday, April 18 — Day One: LOVE — The J will be giving out fruit at the Member Experience Desk and reception desks with a note about supporting SevenDays, and gratitude for its members. Also that day the CDC will parade through the Heritage Center handing out cards to the senior adults.
On Thursday, April 20 — Day Four-OTHERS — The J will collect supplies for Jewish Family Services. On Saturday, April 22 — Day Four: GO — the CrossFit program will do its Workout of the Day (WOD) in honor of Reat Underwood. Special “GO” buttons will be given out for Saturday’s Cross Fit group.
B’nai Jehudah’s Senior Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff will be part of a panel discussion, “Commonalities Within Our Faiths” on Day One: LOVE — on Tuesday, April 18, at the temple. A local pastor and Imam will join the rabbi for the discussion. The evening will feature award presentations to the winners of the Kindness Essay and Songwriting competitions as well as the button designers.
On Day Three: OTHERS on Thursday evening, April 20, Jewish philanthropist Edie Lutnick will deliver a special presentation at 7 p.m. “An Unbroken Bond” at the Church of the Resurrection’s Wesley Chapel. Lutnick is the co-founder of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund that has raised and distributed more than $250 million to victims of terrorism, disasters and emergencies. Trained as a labor lawyer, Lutnick’s life changed forever on Sept. 11 when her younger brother perished in the World Trade Center attacks and her other brother’s firm was nearly destroyed. Lutnick will share her very personal story that evening.
The Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition, housed at Jewish Family Services, is partnering with SevenDays® on Day Five: GO Saturday, April 22, for its Therapeutic Improv workshops. The two workshops — for youth in the afternoon and trainers and parents in the evening — focus on using improve as a healing tool for those dealing with mental health and grief issues.
Complete details can be found at www.givesevendays.org.
The SevenDays® 2017 line-up includes:
• DAY ONE: LOVE (Tuesday, April 18, 6:30-9:30 p.m.) — Celebration with songwriting, kindness essay and button award presentations. Google is the sponsor of the kindness essay contest. Evening will include “Commonalities Within Our Faiths,” a panel including a local rabbi, imam and pastor (Location: The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, 12320 Nall, Overland Park)
• DAY TWO: DISCOVER (Wednesday, April 19, 5:30-8:30 p.m.) —American Public Square Dinner and panel “Violence, Community and Faith: Connecting the Dots,” Reservations are required for dinner. (Location: Pierson Auditorium, UMKC Campus, 5100 Rockhill, Kansas City, Missouri)
• DAY THREE: OTHERS (Thursday, April 20, 6:30-9:30 p.m.) — Keynote presentation, “An Unbroken Bond” featuring Edie Lutnick of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund established after the 9/11 Terror Attacks; sponsored by Garmin. (Location: Church of the Resurrection-Wesley Chapel, 13720 Roe, Leawood)
• DAY FOUR: CONNECT (Friday, April 21) — Blood Drives (all day) at all six Community Blood Center locations (employee blood drives will take place at all St. Luke’s locations-daytime); Hispanic outreach event featuring a talk by Mindy Corporon, “Life: A Good Thing to Give,” about Organ Donation (presented in English and in Spanish; 6:30-9 p.m. at St. Antony’s Catholic Church, 309 Benton Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri)
• DAY FIVE: GO (Saturday, April 22) — “Lunch and Punch” T.A.K.E. Self Defense Workshop (10 a.m. at University Academy); Therapeutic Improv Workshops: “How Improv Breaks Down Barriers and Infuses Fun into Mental Healthcare: A Hands-On Workshop” for youth (1-4:45 p.m.) and educators/therapists (4:45-9 p.m.; Location: Church of Latter Day Saints, 15915 W. 143rd St., Olathe)
• DAY SIX: YOU (Sunday evening, April 23, 5:30-8 p.m.) —Youth Interfaith Dinner and Workshop for students ages 14-20 to interact and learn skills for finding common ground around shared values. (Location: Cleveland University, 8205 W. 108th Terrace, Overland Park)
• DAY SEVEN: ONWARD (Monday, April 24, 5:30-8 p.m.) — Faith Love & Walk beginning and ending at Union Station; sponsored by CommunityAmerica Credit Union. Pre-walk activities planned by Youth Advisory Board and hosted by Former Kansas City Chiefs Trent Green. Kansas City Chiefs Play 60 will be on hand. Various charities will have informational tables. Food trucks will be on site for participants to purchase refreshments. There is a $10 walk participation fee (those 5 and under are free) that includes a commemorative SevenDays T-shirt (if registered by April 10); walk registration is available at www.givesevendays.org.
Dozens of area businesses are partnering as Friends of SevenDays®. Community groups and organizations are invited to create their own ways to participate and share their activities through SevenDays® social media sites using #givesevendays. There are special restaurant nights and other promotions taking place, as well. Additional information about the themes, activities and sponsored events will be continuously updated on the SevenDays® website.