kansas city | Not in Our Town

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  By Rachel Burke Koslofsky Last Monday, I led our family’s Second Annual Interfaith Skype Passover Seder. At 6 p.m. California time and 9 p.m. Kentucky time, each segment of the family crowded around a computer screen to participate. This offbeat tradition was born out of an experimental seder set in Kentucky during Holy Week of 2012—and fueled by curiosity. My father’s parents raised him as a Brooklyn Jew in the 1950’s. During the same decade, and just 700 miles away, my mother grew up in the Christian Church in Maysville, Kentucky. It might as well have been another world. My father’s childhood was full of pastrami sandwiches on rye and his Zadie’s most perfect challah. My mother’s consisted more of honey glazed ham and butterflake rolls from the family bakery her grandfather and Uncle Sam ran in Danville, Kentucky. My father also grew up with an Uncle Sam, three in fact, though prior to their arrival at Ellis Island they were Uncle Simcha, Schmuel and Shlomo. But that was back in the shtetl of Lithuania. The one thing the two did have in common growing up was their fathers’ dedication to their respective faiths.
While there was broad media coverage of the devastating hate crime killings of three people at Jewish centers in Overland Park, KS, the story of the powerful actions of local community members to respond to these crimes went largely unreported in the national media.    Young people take the lead in bringing people together Four days after the attack, local teens led a candlelight vigil to remember the victims and affirm their sense of community. They were joined by more than 3,000 people of all backgrounds and ages.   Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) and Not In Our Town (NIOT) covered the teen vigil in this inspiring video, and are teaming up to follow community action in the aftermath of the attack. The hate attack at Jewish Centers in Overland Park, Kansas On April 13, 2014, the day before the Jewish holiday of Passover, an anti-Semitic gunman shot and killed two people at the Jewish Community Center then killed another at Village Shalom. The targets of hate were Jewish, but the victims—including 14-year-old Reat Underwood, his grandfather Dr. William Corporon, and Terri LaManno—happened to be Methodist and Catholic.