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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City’

Three Dead in Multiple Kansas Jewish Center Shootings

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

UPDATES:  see updates at the bottom of this article.

Someone used a gun to terrorize Jews in two separate locations just outside of Kansas City, Kansas on Sunday afternoon, April 13.

The Jewish Community Center in Overland Park was the site of the first shooting incident. It happened at approximately 1:00 p.m. local time. At least one person was killed.

Shortly after the first shooting, another one took place less than a mile away, at a Jewish assisted living facility, Village Shalom. At least one person was killed at this location as well.

It is not yet known at which of the two locations the third victim was shot.

A male suspect was taken into custody. He was apprehended at a local elementary school, Valley Park Elementary, which is near the assisted living facility.

There is a report from a local news station, KCTV5, that when the suspect was led away, he was believed to be yelling, “Heil Hitler.”

Since March 8, a sniper has been terrorizing drivers in that area of Kansas, shooting at over 20 drivers. But it is not currently believed that the serial shooter is connected to the JCC center shootings.

UPDATE: The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City posted the following information at approximately 4:00 local time:

JCC Kansas City.jpgUPDATE: A press conference was held at 5:00 p.m. in Kansas City, with the Police Chief and mayor of Overland Park. The new information that was provided at the briefing revealed that five people were shot at, three were hit and all three of those died. The two victims from the Jewish Community Center were both males, a female was killed outside the Shalom Village Assisted Living facility.

The suspect is not from Kansas and was unknown to local officials prior to the shootings.

Police Chief Douglas acknowledged that the suspect made several statements while he was in custody, but would not confirm whether or not the suspect made anti-Semitic statements. At this point the shootings are  being investigated as a hate crime, but it has not yet been classified a hate crime.

UPDATE: 11:00 p.m. EST CNN is now identifying the suspect in custody is Frazier Glenn Cross.

Suspect in shooting at two Kansas Jewish centers which left three dead, April 13, 2014.

Suspect in shooting at two Kansas Jewish centers which left three dead, April 13, 2014.

Woodmere Shul Gets Post-Sandy Torah Gift from Kansas City

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

A Woodmere synagogue which lost four Torah scrolls in the chaos of Hurricane Sandy received a gift given in the spirit of Jewish brotherhood and Torah values from their kinsmen in Kansas City.

Congregation Ahavas Yisroel in Woodmere, which sustained heavy damage on October 30th, welcomed the donated scroll from Congregation Kehilath Israel in Overland Park, near Kansas City, at a special ceremony.

Congregation Kehilath Israel said it had several scrolls, and decided to donate one to a synagogue hit hard by Sandy.  Moreover, because of an upcoming replacement of prayer books, the pre-loved copies were also brought along as a gift to the Woodmere community.

Ahavas Yisroel reportedly lost four Torah scrolls, including one donated by a Holocaust survivor who brought the scroll with him to America after the war.

Happy Birthday, My Other Home Country!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I love America.

Having arrived at JFK in September of 1975, I remained on a small Island next to mainland USA for 37 years, most of my adult life.

I’m not sure I could take life in the U.S. itself, in, say, Kansas City, or Chicago (brrrr…) or even Los Angeles. But in Manhattan I found just the right combination of a relatively civilized life and enough Mediterranean color to keep me happy.

I love the poetry of Baseball.

I am one of the few Israeli born men who actually understands Football. It had to do with too many hours spent in bars with fellow taxi drivers.

Ah, yes, I totally fit the stereotype, I actually drove a yellow cab in New York City, for two and a half years.

I’m a registered Democrat, which is a bit unusual in a publication like the Jewish Press, but we don’t have Republicans on the Lower East Side. We ate them during the blizzard of 1978.

I thought Jimmy Carter was a terrible president, but I also believe Reagan is to blame for much of the evil America and its friends are facing today. Reagan practically invented the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, and at the same time took major steps to bankrupt the Soviet Union, the only policeman in the region with the will and the means to keep them down.

I have no idea why so many Americans idolize Reagan. I think our economy started to die when he took over. From facing double-digit inflation, which, granted, threatened our stability, we moved, over two decades, to facilitating the shipping of our industries to China and impoverishing millions at home. It can all be traced back to Reagan. What a loser.

But I’m digressing. I often do. This column is about how I love America.

In all the world I haven’t met a nicer bunch of goyim. The best goyim in the world, many of them my personal, dear friends. I don’t believe we ever experienced such a reality before, being loved by our gentile neighbors.

I’ve traveled by car across much of the country over the past three and a half decades, and I know first hand how decent Americans are. Sweet and honest and friendly. Even when they spot my New York State license.

I’m awed by the American democratic system. Nothing like it in the world. The best that the human mind could conceive, despite all the myriad accidents of cheating and thieving and crookedness – it’s still the most resilient and reliable system of government in the world.

Having said all that, I’d love to see my fellow American Jews come here, to Israel, where I’ve returned to stay some six months ago. I think they’ll have a ball. I think Israel would become a Garden of Eden if it were flooded by, say, two million American Jews.

Jews who understand a policeman is there to serve them, not the other way around.

Jews who know how to make businesses work.

Jews who are not ashamed to drop everything and engage in spiritual pursuits.

Jews who are genetically polite.

Jews who drive their cars simply to go from point A to B, not as part of a morality play.

Jews who demand that someone freaking bag their groceries at the checkout counter.

I’m far from thinking that America is a bad place for Jews. I only know that Israel is by far, and I mean by many miles, better.

You can stay in my office until you find a place of your own. Rents are relatively cheap. I’ll give you fresh coffee and a danish in the morning.

Rabbi Simon Joshua Glazer (Part III)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

 

In two earlier articles we traced the life and rabbinical career of Rabbi Simon Glazer until 1918. Rav Glazer was a rare individual in that he was a secularly educated European trained Orthodox Rov who spoke and wrote English fluently.

 

Rabbi Glazer left Montreal in 1918 to become the rabbi of Congregation Bikur Cholim in Seattle, Washington. However, in 1920 he accepted the position of chief rabbi of a consortium of Orthodox synagogues in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

 

            The rabbi’s organizational ability, his determination to work with all the Jewish groups in a community, and his outreach beyond the Jewish community were already evident, therefore, before he arrived in Kansas City. Invited to become head of the eight Orthodox congregations in the Greater Kansas City area, which had federated as the United Synagogues, he was quick to take advantage of the opportunity now afforded him, and he began to implement what he would later refer to as the “Kansas City Plan.”1

 

            In Kansas City, he successfully centralized, under the auspices of the United Synagogues, many areas of Jewish life, including education, kashrut supervision and philanthropy. He attributed his success to his decision to place the synagogue in the center of his kehillah organization. The synagogue, he argued, was the only institution capable of representing the entire spectrum of the Jewish community . Another major factor in his success in Kansas City was the fact that he had obtained both city and state charters for the United Synagogue, something which he had not done in Montreal. Having legal status, the United Synagogues of Kansas City was very effective in implementing it programs.2

 

Political Activism

 

As we have seen, Rabbi Glazer was multi-talented, and he was one of the first Orthodox Jews to understand the importance of using political connections to benefit the lives of American Jews. He spearheaded efforts to block the passage and signing of the Johnston-Dillingham Bill that sought to limit immigration to the United States. This bill was eventually signed into law by President Harding, but the delay in its passage enabled thousands of Jewish immigrants to enter the country.
 

Rabbi Glazer was an ardent Zionist, so it is not surprising that he played a key role in fostering the passage and signing of the 1922 congressional resolution on Palestine.

 

            On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the “Mandate for Palestine,” confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine – anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea:

            ” Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.”

            On September 21, 1922, the then President Warren G. Harding signed the joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.3

 

Rabbi Glazer was involved in a myriad of diverse issues. On November 19, 1921 The New York Times reported, in a story headlined “Harding Lets Rabbi Adopt Five Orphans in Rumania”:

 

            President Harding gave Rabbi Simon Glazer of Kansas City, Kan., executive permission to adopt five children who are now in Rumania. The rabbi has already five children, and the new additions are Jewish children who were left orphans by the death of their mother in one of the massacres in the Ukraine in 1920 and the death of their father in the United States.

            Immigration restrictions would have prevented them from coming to the United States, but President Harding agreed to allow Rabbi Glazer to adopt them and thus legalize their entry .4

 

In 1923 Rabbi Glazer relocated to New York, where he served a number of congregations. He began as the rabbi of Beth Medrash Hagadol in Harlem, then served as rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Brooklyn from 1927 to 1930, and finally as rabbi of the Maimonides Synagogue in Manhattan from 1930 until his passing in 1938.

 

Prolific Writer

 

Rabbi Glazer not only authored 26 books, he wrote literally hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines.

 

            His multivolume History of Israel and his translations of Maimonides’ writings were considered useful educational tools for untutored laymen. He also wrote instructional material for children like the Sabbath School Guide, published while Glazer was a rabbi in Toledo. In addition, Glazer often edited the local Jewish newspapers in communities where he served as rabbi. While in Des Moines. Iowa, for example, Glazer was the editor of the Jewish Herald, and in Toledo, Ohio, he assisted in the publication of the Jewish Compromiser. In Montreal he was part of the editorial staff of the Jewish Times, revived the dormant Yiddisher Shtern, and was one of the founders of another Montreal Yiddish newspaper, the Kanader Adler.5

 

   On May 22, 1938 Rabbi Glazer died at the age of 60, thus depriving American Jewry of an unusual rabbi, activist, and scholar.
 

   His New York Times obituary read in part: “Since coming to the United States more than forty years ago, Rabbi Glazer had held many important positions, among others, those of chief rabbi of the United Synagogues in Montreal, 1907-18; chief rabbi of Kansas City, 1920-23; rabbi of Beth Hamidrash Hagodol, this city, 1923-27. From 1930 until his recent retirement he was head of the Maimonides Synagogue and school at 312 West Eighty-Ninth Street . Surviving are his widow, Ida Cantor Glazer; three sons, B. Benedict Glazer, who is an associate rabbi of Temple Emanuel; Charles and Aubrey Glazer, all of New York, and two daughters, Mrs. David Schneer of New York and Mrs. Sidney Goldberg of Newark, N.J.6

 
 

1. “Rabbi Simon Glazer and the Quest for Jewish Community in Kansas City, 1920-1923″by Joseph P. Shultz and Carla I. Klausner, American Jewish Archives, 1, 1983.

2. “The American Rabbinic Career of Rabbi Gavriel Zev Margolis” by Joshua Hoffman, Masters Thesis, Bernard Revel Graduate School, Yeshiva University, July 1992 (unpublished).

3. www.mythsandfacts.com/article_view.asp?articleID=100 

4.The New York Times, October 30, 1923.

5. Orthodox Judaism in America, a Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook by Moshe D. Sherman, Greenwood Press, 1966.

6. The New York Times, May 23, 1938.

 

 

   Dr. Yitzchok Levine formerly worked as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.

Rabbi Simon Joshua Glazer (Part II)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

   The first part of the life of Rabbi Simon Joshua Glazer was sketched in last month’s Glimpses column. In his youth Rabbi Glazer received a first class Torah education. At the age of 18 he was ordained by Rabbi Alexander Moshe Lapidus, a lifetime friend of Rav Yisroel Salanter. In 1897 Rabbi Glazer immigrated to America where he devoted himself to mastering the English language and acquiring secular knowledge.
 

   After four years of study he possessed an unusual combination of skills for his time, namely, he was an Orthodox rabbi who was at home both in the Torah and secular world. “He was able to appeal to a wide range of people. He became an outspoken proponent of the use of English in sermons, and criticized Eastern European rabbis who did not learn this skill.”1

 

His first rabbinical position was in Des Moines, Iowa, starting in 1902, just after his marriage. By 1904, he had published his first book, a history of the Jews of Iowa.2 One must consider that this book, whatever its deficiencies, was the product of a man who had been in America for less than a decade. [See last month's Glimpses column for information about this publication.] Moreover, he also began editing an English-language Jewish newspaper in Iowa, the Jewish Herald.3

 

   In 1905 Rabbi Glazer become a Rov in Toledo, Ohio, where he edited the Anglo-Jewish newspaper The Jewish Compromiser. In 1907 he published in English The Sabbath School Guide, a textbook designed for use in Jewish Sunday schools. While Rabbi Glazer certainly felt that a once-a-week Jewish education was not at all ideal, he realized this was the only religious education that many Jewish children received. Until the appearance of his book, most Sunday religious schools used books prepared by reform rabbis. Rav Glazer felt he should provide an alternative that presented Judaism from the standpoint of Orthodoxy.

 

The Move to Montreal
 
           In 1907 Rabbi Glazer and his family relocated again, this time to Montreal, where he became the rabbi of the United Synagogues, a consortium of some of the city’s congregations.
 

Rabbi Glazer was an activist in the area of labour relations. He was, apparently, a supporter of the organization of the Jewish Butcher’s Employees Association of Montreal in 1909 and instrumental in getting this association recognized by other Jewish labour organizations. He also intervened in other labour disputes involving Jewish workers, in one of which he incurred the wrath of one of the manufacturers for having denounced him in a sermon.4

Rabbi Glazer lectured widely outside of Montreal, including in his journeys Ottawa and Toronto. He spoke publicly in English as well as in Yiddish. Thus in 1911, to celebrate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, a special thanksgiving service was held in the Chevra Kadisha synagogue in which Rabbi Glazer was advertised as speaking in English.
 
Rabbi Glazer was interested in looking beyond the immediate controversies within the Montreal Jewish community in which he was constantly engaged. He had begun an attempt to chart the future of North American Jewry and to influence what American Orthodox Judaism was going to look like. To this end, he wrote a very interesting book during his years in Montreal, publishing it in 1917. Its title was The Guide of Judaism. The Hebrew subtitle, much to the same effect, was Moreh ha-Yahadut.
 
Glazer designed the book to be a systematic work for the study and instruction of Judaism in its entirety. It takes its general structure from Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, which was designed as an all-inclusive work on Judaism. Rabbi Glazer’s guide to Judaism is completed in approximately 180 pages. From his preface, it is possible to understand not merely that he wrote in English, but also the high level of his English writing.
 
He stated: ” the vis vitae of Judaism in the New World, its renaissance and its progress is possible only in this generation of patriotism and consciousness of self. The bricks of the great edifice of European Jewishness are being carried over the Atlantic. One Jewish center was always built upon the ruins of another. Such is our history and its philosophy. The problems confronting Israel today are: How shall, or rather, how can Judaism be perpetuated in the face of Western civilization? Is Judaism really in danger because of its Oriental origin?
 
“Eliminating Reform as a factor in solving these problems, the question arises: What alternative have the spiritual leaders in Israel to offer to the growing generation which is both free and cultured?
 
“Judaism, since the last quarter of the eighteenth century, continued to develop among the great masses of European Jewries along three distinct lines: the Mendelsohnian School, the Israel Baal-Shem School, and the Elijah Gaon School. Frankfurt, Warsaw and Wilna fairly illustrate the characteristics of the intentions of those schools. Will it be possible, or, facing conditions as they are, is it desirable to perpetuate the divisions and create a Hassidic Chicago, an Ashkenazic Philadelphia, or a Pilpulistic New York?
 
“By means of observation during two decades among various types of communities, and alongside Reform colleagues and radical agitators, it is my firm conviction that the problems of Judaism in the New World can, and will be solved by only one means – by means of EDUCATION.
 
“And, as an avant propos, I dedicate this work to American Israel, to the growing and grown generation.”
 

Gazer was thus a man who did not merely know English (and at least a smattering of Latin and French); he was also able to write a powerful essay, which expressed some very interesting ideas, and, indeed, a unique vision of Judaism’s future in North America.5

 

   Rabbi Glazer left Montreal in 1917 for a pulpit in Seattle, Washington. In 1920 he became the chief rabbi of eight Orthodox congregations in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. In 1923 he came to New York, where he served as the rabbi of several congregations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. His activities in New York will be the focus of next month’s column.

 

1. “The American Rabbinic Career of Rabbi Gavriel Zev Margolis” by Joshua Hoffman, Masters Thesis, Bernard Revel Graduate School, Yeshiva University, July, 1992, page 92 (unpublished).
 
 
3. Rabbis and their Community: Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896-1930 by Ira Robinson, University of Calgary Press, 2007, page 37.
 
4. Rabbis and their Community, page 44.
 

5. Ibid., pages 48-49.

 

  

   Dr. Yitzchok Levine was a professor for 40 years in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.

Wiping Off The Old Crystal Ball For 2009

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The baseball spotlight, as always, is on New York.

 

This year, however, it’s shining much brighter. Because of high-priced free agents signed by the Yankees and Mets, anything less than a World Series championship would be considered a failure by their fans.

 

The Yankees and Mets have already won the chutzpah award. The clubs asked local government for an additional $450 million in public bonds to pay for their new stadiums. That’s on top of the $1.5 billion (combined) they already received for their new cash-generating ball yards.

 

Besides collecting more cash this year, the New York teams have collected enough talent to win more games than any other team in their leagues. Let’s take a look at the National League first.

 

Based on their new bullpen additions — J.J. Putz and Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez — the Mets should be able to hold on to late inning leads the bullpen blew last year. The extra wins the revamped bullpen will provide this year should be enough to pass the Phillies.

 

A very knowledgeable Jewish Press reader from Brooklyn (Ph.D. with rabbinical ordination and a member of the Society of American Baseball Research) is an avid Phillies fan. He reminded me that Phillies closer Brad Lidge was 48 for 48 in save opportunities last year. That’s precisely why I’m picking the Phils to end up behind the Mets this year. I expect Lidge to blow one or two leads in 2009 while the Mets will hold on to enough victories to be number one in the N.L. East.

 

The Florida Marlins, led by shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.301, 33 homers, 35 stolen bases in 2008 and capable of even better numbers in 2009), should place ahead of Atlanta but behind New York and Philadelphia. But don’t be surprised if the Marlins are close on the heels of the Mets and Phils. The bullpen is solid and the starting pitching, though young (the oldest starter is 26), is good.

 

After capturing 14 consecutive division titles, the Braves over the past three seasons have been mediocre – winning 235 while losing 251. This year, though, they’re on track to win more than losing. The Washington Nationals, winners of just 59 games last season, will win more this year but not enough to get out of the basement. The Nats are in great shape for the June draft as they get two of the top 10 picks and also have some talent in the minor leagues.

 

The Chicago Cubs are far better than the other five teams in the National League Central. Milwaukee lost too much pitching to free agency to challenge the Cubs this year and will be passed by the Houston Astros. The Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates will bring up the rear and compete with each other to avoid a last-place finish.

 

The weak National League West is more competitive as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are all capable of topping the division. Arizona has balance, L.A. has Manny and the Giants have pitching. The Colorado Rockies will place fourth while my favorite city in which to spend February — San Diego — will have its baseball team spend the spring, summer and autumn in last place.

 

The American League East has baseball’s three best teams — the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. All will field better teams this year via moves made through free agency and trades and it should be a close and interesting race all the way.

 

I’m going with the Yankees on top — even without A-Rod in April — as they have the ability to come up with money later in the season to make any needed changes. Here’s one early prediction: The Yanks will trade for Matt Holliday, the 29-year-old outfielder now with Oakland who hit .321 with 25 homers in Colorado last year.

 

The Toronto Blue Jays, 86-76 last year, may see those numbers reversed this year, but they’ll still be better than the Baltimore Orioles, who at least will improve on their 2008 record.

The A.L. Central doesn’t have the best teams but it does have the best balance. With luck, a young and rising Kansas City team might win the division, but the rest of the pack — Indians, Tigers, White Sox and Twins — are all better on paper than the Royals and very capable of finishing first. It all depends on who has the healthiest pitching staff.

 

 The Indians look like the team to beat and they shored up the bullpen with Kerry Wood. The Tigers had several pitchers hit with injuries last year and they experimented with new positions for veteran players. This year the pitching staff looks better, as does the defense. Chicago, Minnesota and Kansas City will follow close behind.

 

Only four teams comprise the American League West — the Los Angeles Angels (based in Anaheim), Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. And that’s the order I’m picking ‘em. It’ll be a three-way-race with the Mariners sinking early.

 

I’ll give you my post-season picks next month. In the meantime, send me yours.

 

            Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His Baseball Insider column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, is available for speaking engagements and may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports//2009/04/07/

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