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Ever since I was a young child and took my first trip to Israel, I knew that it held a special place in my heart. I did not know quite what it was at the time, but I knew that I had to return at some point. My family and I took our second trip to the Holy Land for my younger brother’s Bar Mitzvah, and I left with that same feeling inside of me.

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When I first came to town in 1997, Jewish Kansas City was thriving. All the major shuls were filled with families and children who were dedicated and committed to their respective synagogues. There were at least 150 B’nai Mitzvah each year, and after school religious programs had high enrollment numbers. Each synagogue ran many successful programs and events, both religious and social, and the JCC membership was predominantly Jewish.

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Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff poses for this photo with his 91-year-old mother Henrietta Dalke.

I like moms.

In fact, I think all of us should have one.

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April 22 marks Earth Day, which has been celebrated worldwide since 1970. It is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year. I would suggest that bringing a more specifically Jewish consciousness to Earth Day will help us deepen our commitment to practices that help and don’t hurt God’s creation.

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Israeli emissaries Shiran Cohen (from left), Bar Sananes of Palm Beach and Dana Berman of Delaware were among the 19,000 delegates that attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference last week.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and executive branch of the United States. AIPAC has more than 100,000 members and 17 regional offices all over the U.S. and was founded in 1951.

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Dangerous reporting

Although my wife, Rachel Perkal, and I currently reside in the Chicago area, we have kept a subscription to the KCJC for all of the years since we have moved away from Kansas City because we both have very strong ties to our former home.

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The itenerary of Jewish Federation Women’s Mission 2017 included a graffiti art tour in Tel Aviv. Shown here are Phyllis Carozza (front row, from left), Lori Ravis, Diane Ravis, Marge Schlosberg, Diane Davidner, Beth Liss, Michele Kaplan and Janey Goodman. Back row: Federation’s Financial Resources Director Lisa Schifman, tour guide, Lisa Bernard, Sandi Fried, Federation President and CEO Dr. Helene Lotman, Jenny Isenberg, Lynn Poskin and Amy Ravis Furey.

A little over a year ago, Lisa Schifman, financial resource development director at Jewish Federation, approached me to chair a trip to Israel for the women of Kansas City. I was excited as I have seen the energy that mission trips bring back to a community.

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Delicious Passover food

Once again, I am happy to say “todah rabbah” to the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City for sponsoring the Passover Meals prepared by Cathy Levin and her “chefs,” as well as the culinary staff at Brookdale.

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Campus indoctrination

College campuses are making our grandchildren agnostic or atheist. A recent Pew Research Center found 71 percent among non-Orthodox are intermarrying.

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AIPAC policies transcends party politics

Having just attended another AIPAC Policy Conference, it’s hard to accept the annual mischaracterization of what occurred, and the criticism of AIPAC as partisan.

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