We have already talked about how Jewish people stay together and gain many benefits from being united across countries. People have a lot to learn from Jewish people, their values and how they still remain strong and faithful even though times have changed in many ways.
This time we are going to talk about a group, or it could be called a confederation, of Jewish people that have been helping each other since the 1930s and that are based in the Greater Kansas City. Their name is the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and they have been giving the Jewish community a space to express themselves as Jews and as individuals for more than 80 years now. Their mission and vision are very simple: to boost, sustain and promote Jewish life locally and internationally and to use Jewish values to teach generosity, improve lives, and make the community stronger. Here is their story and how they have been uniting the Jewish community for more than 80 years.
The year was 1933 and the need was to help all the Jewish community live through the Great Depression. It was a group of very committed individuals that had that amazing idea of getting together to help each and every local Jew with whatever was necessary to not die or starve to death in this time where everything was scarce. In that moment this group of people did not understand the impact and the importance that they would have for all the Jewish community in the years to come.
It started with the idea of helping Jews in the great depression but after some years the picture changed for the worst. World War II started in the late 1939 and the Jewish community on the world would change for good. Here, this group of Jews, now called the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City came into the picture by becoming an ally and helping in rescue activities and in the resettlement of European Jews when they fled Europe or came due to the harassment they were suffering.
Unfortunately, wars did not stop and in the 1970s and 80s, the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City was at the front of the project to accommodate 1,000 Jewish Soviet immigrants where they gave them everything a person needs to live like furniture, a house, job assistance, community services, educational services and many more.
After many places and offices, they finally moved to the Jewish Community Campus where the Jewish life is the most important and where the Jewish community can interact with their peers and connect with their beliefs. As for today, the idea is to bring people together to contribute with the community by investing or making part of the community so it can grow and can result in opportunities in education, work, and social issues for members and their families.
They also work internationally by working with partners all over the world. With their partners and their contacts and Jewish community leaders, they help people around 60 different countries with clothing, food, medicine and comfort.
So why is Kansas City so important for the Jewish community? Well, Kansas City is very proud of their Jewish community. Here you can find more or less 18,000 Jews which is actually not a very big community but it is very strong and welcoming to people from any background; the best kosher barbecue festival in the United States takes place in Kansas and it is part of the Kansas City BBQ Society; in the Jewish Community Campus in Kansas city, people can find the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education that was started by Isak Federman and Jack Mandelbaum who survived the holocaust in Germany; The City of Leawood and the Gezer Region in Israel have an agreement to help each other and sponsor each other in times of need.
Kansas City is a thriving city where many people that belong to the Jewish community get together. It is so good to have an institution that cares about the Jewish community and helps the people by raising funds and partnering with agencies, institutions, and the programs that help make the community stronger and more united. And of course, we cannot forget the international aid that the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City is giving to Israel and Jewish communities around the world which is 32% of their grants.
They started in 1933 because of the circumstances that the Jewish community was living at the moment. They continued their work because of the Second World War and they continued throughout the 80s and 90s. Today their heart and goal remains the same: “to sustain and enhance Jewish life in Kansas City and around the world”.
Be sure to also read this post on a great agreement done by Chicago and Israel