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Approximately 850 people attended Spin 1000 at The J on Dec. 14 in an attempt to break the record for spinning the most dreidels simultaneously.

STOP. DROP. SPIN. — On Sunday, in celebration of the Jewish Community Center’s 100th birthday and in anticipation of Hanukkah, The J set out to break the world record for spinning the most dreidels simultaneously. The old record was 749 dreidels set by Binghamton University’s Chabad. In what The J officials chose to call Guinness “Berg” style, they estimate approximately 850 people in various rooms at the Jewish Community Campus as well as nearby Village Shalom decided to stop, drop and spin at 6 p.m. Regardless of whether or not a new world’s record was set, people of all ages took part in carnival games, fitness and sports activities and art projects before the big event. People also enjoy schmoozing with old and new friends. It was easy to see a fun time was had by all!

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Ellen Kort

As a native New Yorker — where there are Jews and Judaism everywhere you turn — Ellen Kort wasn’t much interested in Jewish community. After the Lawrence Jewish Community Center welcomed her with open arms in 1976, her eyes were opened to just how important such a community really is.

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Donna Thomason plays Hollywood agent Sue Mengers in the Unicorn Theatre’s new one-woman show ‘I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers.’ The show runs from Dec. 11 to 28.

On one side of the room Jack Nicholson is talking to Warren Beatty. On the other side Steven McQueen shares a secret with Ali McGraw while Woody Allen has a sneezing fit. This is an “A List” party, filled with Hollywood’s rich and powerful. Now the Unicorn Theatre is inviting the Kansas City community to an intimate view of one of these parties, thanks to its new show “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers.”

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Cory Gutovitz

FIGHTING CANCER ONE BEARD AT A TIME — HBHA senior Joel Gutovitz has launched a novel way to collect money to fund research for several different kinds of cancers. He feels “personally obligated to eliminate” cancer for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that both of his grandfathers died from cancer. His zayde, Abe Gutovitz, fought lung cancer, while just last year his maternal grandpa, Sylvester Sher, battled colon cancer. 

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Col. Miri Eisin

There are about 450 colonels in the Israel Defense Forces, only 15 or so who are women. Do the math and you will discover that’s roughly only 3 percent of those who reach that high rank. One of the IDF’s cream of the crop, Col. Miri Eisin (res.) will be in Overland Park Monday, Dec. 15, as the featured speaker for a program co-sponsored by Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation, Hadassah and National Council of Jewish Women. The free event focusing on Women Warriors takes place in the Social Hall at the Jewish Community Campus and begins at 7 p.m.

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Jewish Federation’s Israeli Emissary Yahav Barnea is featured in this clip from its Donate Now video.

SHAKE IT WITH FEDERATION — If you are a regular reader of this column, you know I like Matt Rissien’s videos. While I expect he will release his Hanukkah video soon (hint, hint Matt!), he’s got one out right now that is just fabulous! The Jewish Federation teamed up with him for a fantastic parody of Taylor Swift’s latest hit, “Shake It Off” as a way to put some energy into the remaining days of its annual campaign. Rissien wrote lyrics and sang them, while members of the community, Jewish Federation staffers and leaders you will recognize grooved to the beat. I love it and I can’t get the song out of my head! 

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The local group of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom had its inaugural meeting at the end of October. Shown at that first gathering are Hadas Moshonov (from left); Sarah Aptilon; Fatima Chaudhri; Sheila Sonnenschein, a national advisory board member of Salaam Shalom; Allison Berey; Inas Younis, local co-leader; Founder and Executive Director Sheryl Olitzky; Farah Jafri and Vicky Kulikov, co-leader.

Jewish people — as evidenced by many, many events this year, even in our area — are no strangers to hate. Muslims face a lot of hate as well. Some Jewish and Muslim women are coming together as part of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, to move toward peace and away from hate by learning and understanding more about each other. Recently a local chapter of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom formed and had its first meeting.

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It’s been a dark year for Kansas Jews in more ways than one, and Chabad wants to bring a little light into it. As has been its custom over the past several years, Chabad of Kansas will bring the Festival of Lights to the people of the state of Kansas and this year, for the second year in a row, the event will take place in the Rotunda at the Kansas State Capitol. It happens on the first night of Hanukkah, Tuesday, Dec. 16. 

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“Gluten Free Around the World” by Aviva Kanoff. (Brio Books, November 2014)

Aviva Kanoff has been described as “the Indiana Jones of cooking,” and the subtitle of this book is “a journey of food, travel and extraordinary adventure.” She is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and has worked as a chef, painter, and photographer.

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John Shuchart’s new book, ‘They’re Going to Cut You Open Like a Chicken’...will be published in the middle of January.

Local author, former teacher and businessman John Shuchart has found success in many areas of his life, but amid the high points has been a deep, underlying sadness. Shuchart has suffered from depression for most of his lifetime but has found a way to cope by focusing on the lighter side of everything that weighs him down. Humor and laughter have become his rescuers. 

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Dr. Barbara Kahn

The discovery of a new class of lipid molecules that enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control offers a promising new avenue for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. A team of scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Salk Institute discovered this new class of molecules.

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