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HBHA will present ‘The Laramie Project’ on April 26 and 27. Those involved in the production include: Jacob Bell (front row, from left), Jesse Ernstein, Mia Velasquez, Leah Sosland, Amanda Sokol and Haidee Clauer. Back row: Micah Margolies (director), Gavi Glickman, Josh Kolkin, Joe Porter, Molly Kavanaugh, Ayelet Schuster and Sara Saidel. Not pictured are Alina Bell, Ariel Brudoley and Eliana Saidel.

On Wednesday, April 26, and Thursday, April 27, upper school students at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA) will perform the play “The Laramie Project.” This play has been banned in many high schools all over the world because it contains themes of homophobia, death and bigotry.

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Join Kansas City’s Jewish community as we remember Israel’s fallen — and celebrate its Independence Day – at the Jewish Community Campus.

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SevenDays Chairs Mindy Corporon (second from right) and Alana Muller (far right) joined Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (second from left) who spoke in Kansas City this spring. Jon Willis (left) with the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance joined the group.

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.

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Charles Hersch

It’s not exactly protest music, but jazz has deep roots as a vehicle for social change. Jazz bands offered some of the 20th century’s brashest experiments in racial integration; jazz songs themselves seduced a narrow-minded America with slyly multicultural influences.

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The very first program to launch as part of the new Jewish Voices United coalition is a partnership between JFS and JVS to assist recently settled refugee families with food. Here Johnna and John Perry of Up Up & Away Balloons and JFS Food Pantry Director Jo Hickey prepare for the first round of food deliveries that took place on March 13.

Twelve local Jewish organizations have banded together to form a new coalition, Jewish Voices United: A Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Kansas City. The mission of Jewish Voices United (JVU) is to use social action to stand with those who feel most vulnerable and persecuted in the general community by demonstrating support for and promoting positive relationships among our city’s diverse populations.

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The Gould family — Donna Gould Cohen (from left), Matt Gould, Karen Gould Courtney and Joel Gould — will be recognized for their work with Jackson County CASA at the Light of Hope event April 5.

A family committed to giving generously to help abused/neglected children will be honored when the Gould Charitable Foundation receives the Light of Hope Award on April 5. The award will be presented to Donna Gould Cohen and her children — Karen Gould Courtney, Matthew Gould and Joel Gould — in front of nearly 1,200 people at the city’s largest fundraising breakfast, the Light of Hope, which benefits Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

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Last week I asked friends on Facebook to send pics of kids during Passover. This one of Dylan and Danielle Kurz enjoying a seder when they were little tykes was submitted by Lisa Kurz.

CHABAD PLANS COMMUNITY SEDERS — Experience the freedom of Passover the way our ancestors did in a warm interactive Passover seder open to community.

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Lisa Schifman

Since the introduction of Dr. Helene Lotman as president and chief executive officer last May, many positive changes have taken place at Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. 

The latest news from Jewish Federation includes the announcement of a new campaign year for the organization, as well as several key staff changes. The 2017 annual campaign kicks off April 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017. Each year, the annual campaign raises approximately $5 million to fund a variety of Jewish community programs that sustain and enhance Jewish life in Kansas City and around the world.   

Annual campaign changes 

The changes are in line with several other strategic initiatives to enhance Jewish Federation’s fundraising efforts, and a renewed focus on community collaboration. And these changes have bred successful results: annual campaign dollars raised in 2016 were $5,102,317, a $90,000 increase over 2015, and Federation is working with its partner agencies to better allocate resources.

“We are looking forward to experiencing a nine-month annual campaign,” Lotman said. “It will make our internal systems more relevant and accessible to donors, and will create more efficiency among our staff and volunteers who are dedicated to raising this vital funding each year.” 

Among other events and initiatives, staff and volunteers are gearing up for the April 1 kickoff with: 

• a March 30 ambassador training led by JFNA National Campaign Chair Harold Gernsbacher, 

• the April 2 annual Note-a-Thon — designed for both men and women for the first time 

• the revitalization of Ben Gurion Society for donors 45 and younger, and

• the April 8 Vegas Night, a young adult campaign event.

“This timeline change is reflective of our faster-paced lives these days,” says Jewish Federation Campaign Chair Trudy Jacobson. “It truly makes our campaign easier to understand, and gives our volunteers and staff more succinct target dates to hit. In terms of goal measurement, we anticipate successful results with the shorter window.” 

Derek Gale

Staffing Changes

Another significant change for Jewish Federation are staff changes in three key roles. On April 1, 

• Lisa Schifman will transition from her position as Women’s Philanthropy director to director of Financial Resource Development; and

• Derek Gale will shift from his role as director of Financial Resource Development to a re-imagined Community Building and Allocations director position. 

Jane Blumenthal Martin

Additionally, Jane Blumenthal Martin recently rejoined the Jewish Federation team to resume her position as director of Marketing and Communications. 

“With the combination of Lisa’s record-breaking success in fundraising for Women’s Philanthropy, Derek’s strategic thinking and commitment to building our community, and Jane’s leadership in marketing, Jewish Federation is poised for even more exciting changes ahead,” Lotman said. “We are looking forward to an incredible year, full of many new and exciting opportunities and initiatives to benefit our community.”

 

River Hennick, a freshman at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, designed the button for SevenDays Day Five: Go. She received a $250 award for her winning design.

Interfaith discussions, blood drives, organ donor registration and a communitywide Faith, Love & Walk are just some of the activities planned for the 2017 SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World. The series of events begins Tuesday, April 18, through Monday, April 24.

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