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Community Briefing with Consul General of Israel to the Southwest

 
The Honorable Ambassador Eitan Levon, Consul General of Israel to the Southwest, made his first visit to Kansas City on March 13, 2017 at a Community Briefing presented by JCRB|AJC.  He came to introduce himself to the Jewish community here, and was also scheduled to visit Wichita, Topeka, and Lawrence.  He opened the briefing with prepared remarks, primarily about the good relationship between the U.S. and Israel, which was then followed by a very active Q&A session, where he addressed, among other topics, the Consulate's reponse to bomb threats to U.S. JCCs, Israel's place in the Middle East, and Israel's relationship with Russia.

 

 

2017 Black-Jewish Freedom Seder 

 
JCRB|AJC's biennial Freedom Seder was held on March 7.  The Freedom Seder brings the African-American and Jewish communities together to celebrate their common bonds of history.  A special Haggadah, containing material and music relevant to the stories of both communities is used during this ritual meal.  This year's Seder was lead by Leo Morton, Chancellor of UMKC, and Sharon Lindenbaum, JCRB|AJC Board Chair, who also shared their moving personal stories with participants.  Additionally, Noah Bernstein led the Four Questions, and Ah'Lee Robinson and Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda were music leaders for this unique and special evening.

 

Strangers No More begins 2017 with Many Paths: A Worship and Learning Series

 
This new series gives Christian and Jewish women the opportunity to experience worship together in various faith communities.  Following each service is a learning/Q&A session with the service officiant.  The first service was held at Congregation Beth Shalom, where Rabbi David Glickman met afterward for discussion with the Many Paths visitors during a "Kiddush" luncheon (held to celebrate Shabbat - the Sabbath).  The program will run through May, 2017, and includes five such opportunities.

 

 

 

 

2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service kicked off the MLK Week of Celebration

Several hundred people attend the annual MLK Interfaith service at Community Christian Church on Sunday, January 8.  Long-time Co-Chairs Judy Hellman (JCRB|AJC) and Reverend Dr. Robert Lee Hill (SCLC) lead the proceedings, which began with a rousing and uplifting original work sung by Emily Tummons, Music Director of Congregation Beth Torah; Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda of Congregation Beth Shalom; Rachel Black of the Lawrence Jewish Community; Cantor Sharon Kohn of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah; Linda Salvay of Congregation Beth Shalom; and Lara Steinel of Congregation Kol Ami. The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D., President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY. Dr. McMickle is widely recognized as a scholar and a preacher.  He is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and in 2009 he served as a Visiting Professor of Preaching at Yale University Divinity School.  His well-received address to the audience was a call to action to move forward, and not let current issues and events cause us to stop working toward civil rights and justice for all.  The 2017 Evelyn Wasserstrom Award was presented to Carl Boyd, founder of the Art of Positive Thinking, and, founder and former host of "Generation Rap" on KPRS-FM Hot 103 Jamz; and Mary Sanchez, a nationally syndicated columnist and Kansas City Star columnist specializing in education, immigration, race, politics and culture.  The theme for the 2017 celebration is Remembering, Reflecting and Renewing: Justice and Equality NOW.  The week-long MLK celebration ended with the MLK Mass Celebration on Monday, January 16.  Howard Mayer, JCRB|AJC Board member, was one of the speakers at this very-well-attended event at Friendship Baptist Church, sharing the pulpit with keynote speaker U.S.Congressman Elijah Cummings, and also U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II.

 

JCRB|AJC 2016 Human Relations Dinner honoring Julia Irene Kauffman with the Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award

 
The 2016 Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award was presented by Henry W. Bloch to Julia Irene Kauffman at the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee dinner on Sunday, November 20, 2016 at the Westin Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center.  Julia Irene was honored for her dedication to our community and her vision in making the arts available to everyone. 
 
The Dinner was led by Chairs Janice and Tom Kreamer, Annabel and James B. Nutter, Sr., Sharon and Louis Smith, and Anne and Robert St. Peter.  Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, was the keynote speaker for this gala event. Click here to view The Independent's coverage of the 2016 Human Relations Dinner

 

Strangers No More service projects make an impact in 2016

 
For Strangers No More's first service project, participants gathered items to be presented to middle and high school girls who are part of Young Women on the Move. That organization works with girls in the urban areas of Kansas City, Kansas throughout the year teaching them life skills, such as empowerment, financial competency, setting goals for their education, and many others. They have a yearly conference where the young women hear from speakers, participate in workshops and learn to use these skills in their lives. At this conference, they received “goody bags” filled with the items that have been collected by Strangers No More.
 
For their second project, participants came together for fun social time, a preview of next year’s programs, and a service project benefiting Della Lamb, an organization that provides services to low-income families and is the local re-settlement agency for refugee families. New hats and gloves were provided by particpants for infant, toddler, pre-k-aged children and a new book for each of them were gathered and wrapped as gifts. 

 

 

Strangers No More presented a six-week program entitled Women of the Hebrew Bible: The Significance of their Lives for Women Today. 

 

This program featured two brief presentations about two different women from the Hebrew Bible each week.  Each presentation on the Bible woman was be given by a Jewish woman and a Christian woman, followed by discussion as to how their biblical narratives relate to our present day stories as women.

Week 1 covered Sarah (Genesis 16-23) and Hagar (Genesis 16, 21); Week 2 covered Leah (Genesis 29-35) and Rachel (Genesis 29-35); Week 3 covered  Deborah (Judges 4-5) and Jezebel (1 Kings 16-22); Week 4 covered Naomi (Ruth) and Ruth (Ruth); Week 5 covered Vashti (Esther 1) and Esther (Esther 1, 2), and Week 6 recapped the various Biblical women's stories and gave a broader overview of how the ten women relate to the lives of women today and to Strangers No More.

ABOUT STRANGERS NO MORE:

JCRB|AJC and the United Methodist Women of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection co-sponsored "Strangers No More," a program designed to bring Christian and Jewish women together to share the many similarities in their beliefs and goals for a better world, to learn from each other, and work together in making a difference in our community and creating a lasting civic peace. The women of Resurrection reached out to JCRB|AJC following the tragic events that happened at the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom.

Strangers No More is a joint project of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee and United Methodist Women of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

 
 

2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service

Kicking off a week-long commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and legacy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee presented the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service on Sunday, January 10.  Former Jackson County Executive Michael Sanders and attorney Taylor Fields, founding member and managing partner of Fields & Brown, both received the Evelyn Wasserstrom Award, presented by event co-chairs Reverend Dr. Robert Lee Hill and Judy Hellman.  The innaugural presentation of the Reverend Dr. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson Leadership Award was to Reverend Dr. Sam E. Mann, vice president of SCLC.  A musical presentation by area Jewish music leaders Hazzan Tahl Ben-Jehudah, Cantor Sharon Kohn, Lara Steinel, Emily Tummons and Lezlie Zucker began the program.  The Kansas City Boys Choir and Kansas City Girls Choir, led by Ah'lee Robinson, and the duo of Millie Edwards and Tim Whitmer also performed. The service included a wide array of prayers and proclamations by various religious representatives from Kansas City’s dynamic interfaith community, culminating with keynote speaker the Reverend Dr. Gary V. Simpson of Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brookyn, NY. 

 

2015 JCRB|AJC HUMAN RELATIONS DINNER

HONORING

MARK R. JORGENSON

WITH THE

HENRY W. BLOCH HUMAN RELATIONS AWARD

The Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award honors a person who lives a life of justice and selflessness and who makes our community a better place to live. The Award was presented by Henry Bloch to Mark R. Jorgenson at a gala dinner on Sunday, December 13, 2015, for his dedication to our community and his civic leadership, both of which have made Greater Kansas City a better place for all.  

Henry Bloch’s quiet brand of leadership and compassion has set an extraordinary standard for community activism. A humble and soft-spoken man, few aspects of community life remain untouched by Henry's kindness and concern. He is a man devoted to principle, a caring visionary of exemplary character and integrity, an inspiration and a role model in the pursuit of justice.

The Dinner was led by Chairs William S. Berkley, William A. Hall, Shirley Bush Helzberg, and Robert D. Regnier (pictured above).  Morton I. Sosland, Kansas City civic and business leader and past recipient of the Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award, was the keynote speaker.  Reverend Jeff Clayton of Southminster Presbyterian Church presented the invocation, and Dianne Cleaver presented closing remarks for this gala event.  Click here to see full coverage of the Dinner in The Independent.
 
New Testament scholar and author Dr. Amy-Jill Levine comes to Kansas City
 

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine (seated center, in red) with (from top left) Marvin Szneler - JCRB|AJC, Reverend Adam Hamilton - United Methodicst Church of the Resurrection, Marcia Rittmanster - Strangers No More, Sharon Ritter - Strangers No More/UMCOR, Henri Goettel - Strangers No More, Michelle Lentell - UMCOR, Michelle Funk - Morning Star/UMCOR, Kacy Levin, (seated, from left) Carol Burton - JCRB|AJC, Judy Hellman - JCRB|AJC, Nancy Brown - UMCOR, Rabbi Mark Levin. 

On Sunday, October 25, author Dr. Amy-Jill Levin, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, gave two presentations at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS.  Her first presentation was to the Morning Star class at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and guests, discussing Jesus in the Jewish context of the 1st century.  Later that morning, she gave a community-wide presentation on "Jesus In His Jewish Context: Prayer, Practice, Politics and Piety."  She was hosted by Strangers No More, a joint project of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee and United Methodist Women of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, and was sponsored by the Oppenstein Brothers UMKC Judaic Studies Outreach Program Fund.  She was also a panel participant at UMKC on Thursday, October 22 on the topic "Talking Scripture: Dialogue, Discussion, and Disagreement?"
 

The Whirling Dervishes of RUMI

 
JCRB|AJC co-sponsored a rare international entertainment opportunity with our Turkish Muslim friends at Dialogue Institute of the Southwest-Kansas City Branch and Raindrop Foundation.
 
Saturday, September 19, 2015, the Whirling Dervishes performed for a crowd at The Music Hall,  then traveled to Lawrence to appear the next evening at The Lied Center on the University of Kansas Campus in Lawrence, KS.  Included were a lecture about the history of the philosopher Rumi, and a demonstration of the art of caligraphy.
 
Other co-sponsers included UMKC, City of Lawrence, Saint Andrew Christian Church, Embrace Relief, The Fountain Magazine.  The performance was part of the UNESCO Heritage of Humanity.
 
The Forgotten Refugees: A film about the mass exodus of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th century 
 
 
On Wednesday, August 26, 2015, the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, in cooperation with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee, National Archives at Kansas City, and the National World War I Museum and Memorial presented The Forgotten Refugees.  This 49-minute documentary film used personal testimony, rare archival footage, and images of exodus and resettlement, to explore the history and contributions of Middle Eastern and North African Jews, the enormously rich cultures they were forced to leave behind, and the ultimate extinction of these indigenous communities, some of which had flourished for over 2,500 years. A discussion followed.
 

Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education presented Commemorating 50 Years of Israel-Germany Diplomatic Relations: The Next 50 Years on Monday, June 22, 2015 at the Jewish Community Campus. 2015 marks the 50-year anniversary of German-Israel diplomatic relations. The relationship began based on historic circumstances, but has become one of Israel’s key political and diplomatic connections.  The Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany the Honorable Herbert Quelle, and the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest the Honorable Roey Gilad discussed the 50 years of historic friendship, as well as what the future may bring.  Mark Adams, Education Director at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, moderated the well-attended evening.

JCRB|AJC presented a Community Briefing Breakfast with Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, The Honorable Roey Gilad on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.  Everyone enjoyed a continental breakfast during a presentation by the Consul General Gilad on topics such as Israel's current political climate, the P5+1 deal with Iran, U.S./Israel and Israel/Germany relations. A question and answer session followed.
 
2015 Freedom Seder:  Celebrating the common bonds of Black and Jewish history
 
One hundred Blacks and Jews participated in the JCRB|AJC Freedom Seder, held on March 23, 2015, to celebrate the common bonds of Black and Jewish history.  Led by Reverend Dr. Amy Hartsfield and Rabbi Rebecca Reice, using a special Haggadah created for the occasion, the celebrants participated in telling the story of freedom from slavery from both Black and Jewish history, while enjoying a Seder meal.  This highly anticipated event is held every other year, and has been an effective bridge-building event between the two communities.  Click here to see coverage in The Kansas City Globe.
 

JCRB|AJC and the SCLC presented the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service to a large crowd at Community Christian Church on Sunday, January 11, 2015. to kick off a week of celebration.  The service also commemorated and honored the life of civil rights activist and leader Reverend Dr. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson, president of the Kansas City SCLC, who passed away that morning. The service featured keynote speaker Reverend Charles Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan, who has been named one of the nation's 15 greatest preachers.  The 2015 Evelyn Wasserstrom Award was presented to Councilman John Sharp by long-time event co-chairs Reverend Dr. Robert Lee Hill of Community Christian Church, and Judy Hellman of JCRB|AJC.

 

2014 JCRB|AJC HUMAN RELATIONS DINNER

HONORING

GREG M. GRAVES

WITH THE

HENRY W. BLOCH HUMAN RELATIONS AWARD

The Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award honors a person who lives a life of justice and selflessness and who makes our community a better place to live. The Award was presented by Henry Bloch to Greg M. Graves at a gala dinner on Sunday, November 23, 2014, for his dedication to our community and his civic leadership, both of which have made Greater Kansas City a better place for all.  

Henry Bloch’s quiet brand of leadership and compassion has set an extraordinary standard for community activism. A humble and soft-spoken man, few aspects of community life remain untouched by Henry's kindness and concern. He is a man devoted to principle, a caring visionary of exemplary character and integrity, an inspiration and a role model in the pursuit of justice.

The Dinner was led by Chairs Peggy J. Dunn, Shirley Bush Helzberg, Roshann Parris, and Tammy Peterman.  Joseph Graves presented the invocation, and remarks by Morton I. Sosland were presented at the close of the evening.
 

Strangers No More

JCRB|AJC and the United Methodist Women of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection co-sponsored a second session on October 30 of "Strangers No More," a program designed to bring Christian and Jewish women together to share the many similarities in their beliefs and goals for a better world, to learn from each other, and work together in making a difference in our community and creating a lasting civic peace. The women of Resurrection reached out to JCRB|AJC following the tragic events that happened at the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom. 

JCRB|AJC held a community-wide event at the Central Baptist Theological Seminary campus on October 23, featuring Reverend Tobias Schlingensiepen, who recounted his family's dramatic involvement with the anti-Nazi movement during the Holocaust.  A Clergy Institute, attended by clergy from around the Kansas City metropolitan area, was also held that day.

JCRB|AJC assisted in arranging for the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, The Honorable Roey Gilad, to present at an IRC event on September 30 at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church.  The Consul General's presentation about the current and future challenges facing Israel in the wake of recent and ongoing events in the Middle East was followed by a Q&A session.

JCRB|AJC, the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest, and the Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest presented "Israeli Water Technology and Innovation" on Tuesday evening, September 9, 2014.  Israeli water specialists Oved Cohen and Miki Zaide gave an interesting and enlightening presentation about the special challenges facing Jerusalem and other areas of Israel regarding water delivery, quality, infrastructure maintenance, and their future.  Israeli water technology is constantly being developed and refined, and is ahead of  most other countries.  While in Kansas, these specialists also met with government leaders and water officials to share ideas, insights and plans.

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Community Solidarity Gathering in support of Israel

JCRB|AJC, the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City sponsored a Community Solidarity Gathering in support of Israel Monday evening, July 28, 2014 at Kehilath Israel Synagogue. Close to 1,000 people attended. After an introduction by JCRB|AJC Board Chair Dr. David T. Rudman, Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, The Honorable Alex Goldman-Shayman gave an update on what is happening in Israel, and to encourage and thank the Kansas City Jewish community for their support. Governor Sam Brownback and Leawood Mayer Peggy Dunn met with the Deputy Consul General prior to the event, and the Governor shared his support of Israel in a brief speech to the crowd. IDF Lt. Colonel Ido Mizrachi, currently stationed at Ft. Leavenworth at the Command and General Staff College, spoke of the work and sacrifice of IDF soldiers during this conflict and offered a prayer on their behalf. Other speakers in support of Israel included Rich Hasting of First Baptist Church of Raytown, and members and leaders of the Jewish Community. Co-sponsors of this successful event included Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Jewish Heritage Foundation, Menorah Legacy Foundation, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Jewish Community Campus, Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City, Jewish Vocational Services, all area congregations, University of Kansas Hillel and Republican Jewish Coalition.

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Strangers No More

JCRB|AJC and the United Methodist Women of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection co-sponsored "Strangers No More," a program designed to bring Christian and Jewish women together to share the many similarities in their beliefs and goals for a better world, to learn from each other, and work together in making a difference in our community and creating a lasting civic peace. The women of Resurrection reached out to JCRB|AJC following the tragic events that happened at the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom. The event, attended by 70 women, was a great success and served as the beginning of a series of similar gatherings, large and small, planned for the Fall.

JCRB|AJC was pleased to host a Ramadan Iftar dinner (break-the-fast) on Monday, July 21, 2014 after sunset, along with the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest and Rainbow Turkish House.  Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities came together to learn from each other, to socialize, and to enjoy a delicious meal. Dinner guest Eyyup Esen rounded out the evening with a presentation that explained the meaning and importance of fasting during this holy time in the life of Muslims. 

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Community Memorial Service, Wednesday, July 2, 2014:  In the wake of the kidnapping and tragic deaths of Israeli teenagers Ya’akov Naftali ben Rahel (Frenkel), Gil-ad Micha’el ben Bat-Galim (Shaar) and Eyal ben Iris Teshura (Yifrach), a memorial service was held at the Jewish Community Campus, co-sponsored by JCRB|AJC, the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City.

Leonard Zeskind, president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), author: "Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream," and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Award, spoke to a large crowd on Tuesday, June 24, 2014.  His presentation included an overview of the history of white supremacist groups in the United States, leading up to the current status and trends of such groups in Kansas and Missouri.  He also touched on specific individuals who have held leadership roles, as well as possible connections between groups here with those in Europe and the Mediterranean.

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Community Solidarity Service: On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, community members gathered together to pray for the return of kidnapped Israeli teenagers Ya’akov Naftali ben Rahel (Frenkel), Gil-ad Micha’el ben Bat-Galim (Shaar) and Eyal ben Iris Teshura (Yifrach), and in support of their families. This event was co-sponsored with the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City.

 

 

Kicking off a week-long commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and legacy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee sponsored the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service on Sunday, January 12.  Founder and Director of the Kansas City Boys Choir/Kansas City Girls Choir Ah'Lee Robinson received the Evelyn Wasserstrom Award, presented by event co-chairs Reverend Robert Lee Hill, Community Christian Church and Judy Hellman, Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee. The service included a wide array of prayers, musical presentations, and proclamations by various religious representatives from Kansas City’s dynamic interfaith community, culminating with keynote speaker the Reverend Dr. Frank A. Thomas of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

 

Henry W. Bloch presented James B. Nutter, Sr. with the Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award at the JCRB|AJC 2013 Human Relations Dinner on November 24, 2013. JCRB|AJC is proud to have celebrated Jim’s dedication to justice and outstanding civic leadership to make Kansas City a better place for all.   Attendees were also privileged to hear U.S. Congressmsan The Honorable John Lewis as Keynote Speaker for the evening.  Congressman Lewis, called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced", is an eyewitness and participant in important historical periods in the life of our country.

Renowned Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol discussed Turkey/Israel relations, issues facing Turkey today, Muslim extremism and the non-extremist view of the Koran regarding non-Muslims, a Muslim view of the Palestinians, Gaza and the issues between Palestininans and Israel. After the program, Mr. Akyol signed copies of his book "Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty."

Rockhurst University, in cooperation with JCRB|AJC, hosted an historic visit by His Excellency, The Honorable Zion Evrony, Israel Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican).  The Ambassador discussed the history of Israel/Vatican relations, the history of the embassy, and issues currently addressed between Israel and the Vatican.  The next morning, Ambassador Evrony addressed local clergy at a JCRB|AJC Clergy Institute held at Rockhurst University.  Afterward, he laid a wreath on the memorial to the Jesuits who perished in the Holocaust. Click here or on the flyer to view coverage of this historic event.

JCRB|AJC, Avila University, Rockhurst University and UMKC co-sponsored After the Inauguration: the Future of the United States, featuring TIME Magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle.  Von Drehle covers national stories and politics, authors frequent cover stories, and has also covered the presidential campaigns on the campaign trail.  He is the author of various books, including Triangle: The Fire That Changed America and most recently Rise to Greatness - Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year.  Von Drehle gave his perspective on what we should look for in the years to come, with the Presidential re-election and a new Congress and Senate, making interesting analogies to Lincoln's most difficult year as President.

JCRB|AJC presented Israel Ambassador, His Excellency, The Honorable Michael Oren on January 28, 2013, to speak about Israel: The Ultimate Ally. Over 400 people attended this rare opportunity to hear a high-ranking Israeli official speak and answer their questions about Israel, the peace process and current events effecting Israel.

To read coverage about this important event, please click here or on the flyer.

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2013 Martin Luther King Day Interfaith Service
JCRB|AJC co-sponsored an interfaith service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Pastor Raphael Warnock, PhD, Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia - where Reverend King served as pastor - was the keynote speaker.

  

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Community Update in Response to the Conflict in Israel: On November 28, 2012, over 300 people attended this informative and stimulating community update presented by JCRB|AJC and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City. Consul General of Israel to the Midwest The Honorable Roey Gilad shared facts and his views of the current situation, its impact on the Middle East and on the negotiations being mediated by Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi.

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The Pursuit of Peace: A Shared Agenda: A stimulating and informative community interfaith event was held at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. The panelists were Rabbi Noam Marans, National Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations at the American Jewish Committee, Professor David May, Professor of New Testament at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and Father David Grabner, Instructor in Non-Christian Religions at Conception Abbey. Dr. Molly Marshall, the president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and a professor of theology, moderated. The sponsors were JCRB|AJC, Avila University, Conception Abbey, and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Clergy Institute: Peace and War in our Sacred Texts: A clergy institute was held with Rabbi Noam Marans, Professor David May, and Father David Grabner. The sponsors were JCRB|AJC, Avila University, Conception Abbey, and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

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The Gathering VII: Hopes and Prayers for the Peace of Jerusalem: An interfaith celebration with music and dancing. In 2011, Pastor Paul Brooks and Rabbi Alan Cohen shared their joint prayers that Christians and Jews can, through their standing together, bring the people of the Middle East closer to peace. A reception followed the program.

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The Pursuit of Peaceful Solutions for the Middle East: How does "fear and security" play a role in reconciling foes or driving them further apart? This dialogue was held at Rockhurst University, and was part of an ongoing interfaith dialogue between Reverend Scott Myers of Westport Presbyterian Church and Rabbi Alan Cohen of JCRB|AJC.

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Civil Rights Trip: Blacks and Jews Travel the Road Together:  In 2011, 23 participants from the Black and Jewish communities traveled on a journey to Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, and Atlanta. We visited sites including the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Southern Poverty Law Center, 16th Street Baptist Church, the King Center, and the Rosa Parks Museum. We met with and heard stories from individuals who were a part of the civil rights movement in these cities. We attended Friday night services at a Reform temple in Montgomery, and Sunday morning services at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

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2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service: The speaker was Reverend Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., who was the first senior Black Minister (now Senior Minister Emeritus) of Riverside Church in New York City. The Eveyln Wasserstrom Award was presented to Alice Ellison, Vice President of Community Investment at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. The Southern Leadership Conference and JCRB|AJC co-sponsor the MLK interfaith service each year. Judy Hellman, former Associate Director of JCRB|AJC, and Dr. Robert Lee Hill, Senior Pastor of Community Christian Church, were co-chairs.

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Clergy Institute with Rev. Dr. James Forbes: Community clergy members had breakfast with Rev. Forbes, the first senior Black Minister (now Senior Minister Emeritus) of Riverside Church in New York City.

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Fireside Chat: "How Latter-day Saints and Jews Pray: Differences and Similarities": The presenters were Mark Paredes, a leading figure in the Mormon Church in Southern California, and Rabbi Alan Cohen, Director of Interreligious Affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee (JCRB|AJC). Over 1,000 people were in attendance at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Lenexa Stake Center.

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The Threat of Global Antisemitism Today: In 2010, the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and JCRB|AJC hosted Mark Weitzman, the Director of the Task Force Against Hate and Terrorism at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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Israel Advocacy Seminar with Neil Lazarus: In 2010, Neil Lazarus led an Israel advocacy session. He is an internationally acclaimed Israel advocacy training specialist, and is known for his witty and engaging seminars. The event was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee and KU Hillel.

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Candidate Forum for Secretary of State of Kansas: In October 2010, JCRB|AJC hosted a candidate forum between Chris Biggs and Kris Kobach. Steve Kraske of The Kansas City Star and "Up to Date" on KCUR-FM was the moderator. Members of the audience were able to submit written questions for the candidates.

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Interfaith Dialogue on War and Peace in the Middle East, “Sukkah Shalom: Building a Tabernacle of Peace”: Rabbi Alan Cohen, Director of Interreligious Affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee (JCRB|AJC), and Rev. Scott Myers of the Westport Presbyterian Church presented an interfaith dialogue on War and Peace that was open to the community. JCRB/AJC partnered with Avila University, Conception Abbey, and the Presbyterian Urban Ministry Network of the Heartland Presbytery to sponsor this event.

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“Anne & Emmett”
JCRB|AJC partnered with the Brown Foundation, Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the American Jazz Museum to sponsor a performance of “Anne and Emmett,” an Imaginary Conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till. The play was written by Janet Langhart Cohen, who was present with her husband, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. They led a talkback session after the show.

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Discussion Group on Genocide
Former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, led a discussion group on genocide. Secretary Cohen was a co-chair with Madeleine Albright of the Genocide Prevention Taskforce.

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Yom Hashoah Memorial Service
A community-wide service was coordinated with the Jewish Community Center and Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE), and featured a screening of MCHE’s film “Witnesses to the Holocaust: Liberation.”

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Interfaith Dialogue Community Day and Clergy Institute
Father Dennis McManus moderated a panel that consisted of representatives from each of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. This panel was open to the public. The program also included an interfaith clergy institute, during which clergy members forged relationships and learned from each other. The events were co-sponsored with Conception Abbey, Avila University, and the Diocese of Kansas City.

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Making the Ordinary Holy, a Conversation on Christianity and Judaism
Rabbi Alan Cohen of JCRB|AJC and Rev. Scott Myers of the Westport Presbyterian Church engaged in dialogues on theological beliefs that were open to the public and held at a Presbyterian church and the Jewish Community Center. Each dialogue was followed by a question and answer session.

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Seder Project
Each year, JCRB|AJC assists local churches with holding Seders around the Easter holiday. Volunteers from the JCRB|AJC board help in organizing and leading the Seders. We provide materials, ritual objects, and other information.

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2013 Freedom Seder
JCRB|AJC held its third African-American and Jewish Freedom Seder, celebrating their common bonds.  Presided over by leaders from both communities, the Seder was a successful event, and was well attended by individuals from both the African-American and Jewish communities.  Freedom Seders were also held in 2008 and 2010.

 
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