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We love the State of Israel. We want it to succeed in every way possible. This includes, of course, its security and economic prosperity, and it also includes its ability to live up to its own stated values.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence ensures freedom of religion and conscience to all. This does and should affect many aspects of life in Israel, but the specific concern of this resolution is the right to marry.

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Yahav Barnea posed with this Harry S. Truman impersonator at the Truman Library during the official Truman birthday event.

“Make for yourself a rabbi (teacher), and acquire for yourself a colleague (friend), and give all individuals the benefit of the doubt.” (Pirke Avot, 1:6)

Coming to Kansas City as a shlichah (emissary), I didn’t know what to expect. The people that interviewed me seemed nice and interesting but the place was so far from me and I only had the common misconception that Kansas City is that place from “The Wizard of Oz” and I will probably find lots of farmers and fields there. I was very wrong. 

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Imagine my surprise when I saw my name appear in the articles about my AZA #22 Nordaunian Chapter (Nordaunian AZA’s Matzo Ball continues to bring community together, May 7). {mprestriction ids="1,3"}I have little recollection of that incident, however I am certain I enjoyed the notoriety at the time. I remain in touch with my buddies every so often during their Wednesday morning meetings when they pass around their cell phone and rap with me here in Cincinnati. Actually Morrie Kross (of blessed memory) and I were the co-chairs of the Matzo Ball several times during the latter ’40s, early ’50s before our service years. Thanks for the renewed memory and the coverage of the 80th Matzo Ball.{/mprestriction}



Dear Jonathan,

You and I have a lot in common. We have both spent roughly 18 years living in Kansas City. We were both fully engaged with Jewish life there; you graduated from HBHA, as did my older children. And we both have a very deep and abiding love for Israel, as well as a vision for its future; we recognize that there are Palestinian narratives as well, and we believe that Israel should pursue a two-state solution.

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The Jewish community commemorated Yom HaShoah on April 16. Holocaust survivors, members of the second, third and fourth generations and others who lost loved ones in the Shoah lit candles, said Kaddish, attended Holocaust memorial events and shed tears. In addition to crying for those we lost, we should have positive and loving thoughts of our parents. Enough talk of suffering. We should speak of accomplishments. I am proud of my parents, Jacob and Rachel, who came to America with nothing, settled in Kansas City, could not speak English and created a safe and secure world for me, their only child. Like many of your parents, my father struggled through many business endeavors; eventually he did well in this, the Goldena Medina. 

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“Words that come from the heart go to the heart.”

As I write this, I have just returned home from St. Peter’s Church to commemorate the yahrzeit of Bill Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno, murdered by an anti-Semite for being at Jewish locations one year ago today.

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The cornerstone of the American Holocaust survivors’ legacy is the government sponsored Yom HaShoah commemorations. These government-backed commemorations were created as a means of engaging elected leaders and lawmakers with Jews. The American Holocaust survivors recognized that elected officials have the power to protect civil liberties, as well as to deny them. With this in mind, they created the centerpiece of the commemorative services, the Proclamation for Days of Remembrance, for memory and as a warning. The first Proclamation for Days of Remembrance in Kansas was signed by then Gov. John Carlin in 1982, marking this year as the 33rd annual event.

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My father turned 90 years young, and my wife and I welcomed him here to visit.  

While here, we had a birthday party for him with family and friends. Did I mention this was his third party in three separate cities? My dad is loved all over the United States!

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I was happy to read that Mr. Meth was still up and around. And healthy at 102.  I remember when he first came to work at Beth Shalom Synagogue at 34th and Paseo.{mprestriction ids="1,3"}In those days when someone asked you what synagogue you belonged to, you would just say “34th & Paseo.”  Mr. Meth was only about five feet tall but he was nothing short of a human dynamo...always busy around the building.  Though he was originally hired as janitor, he eventually worked his way into taking on other tasks such as being music director of the choir.  And if memory serves, I believe he taught himself to play the violin.  I remember he was always soft-spoken and was careful not to ever say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.  He was a kind man then, and I’m sure he’s a kind man now...which is probably one of the reasons he has lived such a long and happy life.  May he live many more years. And be healthy.{/mprestriction}



In the April 16, issue of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle we are treated to a treatise on Obama’s tender care for Israel (Obama stresses how much he cares for Israel, Page 1). Sure. The article fails to remind its readers of Obama’s refusal to attend Netanyahu’s address to the Congress or to meet with him, his reference to potential reprisals for Netanyahu’s speech, and his chief of staff subsequently threatening that 50 years of Israeli “occupation” is enough. (Never mind the Palestinians’ ardent position that Israel should not exist.) Two White House meetings enthusiastically described in The Chronicle included support from Jewish fundraisers for the Democratic Party, participants who did not agree to be identified, and as well mention of a left-leaning columnist. This piece describes “difficulties that Obama and Netanyahu have in communicating with one another,” but it was not Netanyahu who refused an audience with Obama.

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“The Last Witness,” a thriller by Jerry Americ. (The Story Merchant, 2014)

“How Sweet It Is!” by Thane Rosenbaum. (Mandel Vilar Press, 2015)

“Fugitive Colors,” a novel by Lisa Barr. (Arcade, 2013)

As we commemorate Yom HaShoah this year, readers will find these new works of fiction fascinating, each in a completely different manner. The authors look at the Holocaust and the Nazi horror from very unique points of view, each book adding something new to Holocaust history and the history of the survivors.

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I have always felt safe knowing that I live in a country where my religious freedom is a priority. The First Amendment clearly lays out that each citizen of the United States is guaranteed the right to freely practice their religion. Being a Jew in America, I am without a doubt part of a religious minority. Just over 1 percent of Americans are Jewish, and our world makeup at 0.2 percent is even smaller. If Jewish populations are so infinitesimal, why are we subjected to so much discrimination? Why do political groups and other religious groups constantly have to target us? What did we ever do to deserve anti-Semitic oppression?

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