“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” Elie Wiesel

8 Things About Jews In Kansas

From Kosher Barbeque To Arlen Specter

By Rachel X. Landes
Published July 22, 2014, issue of August 01, 2014.

1) Approximately 17,775 Jews live in Kansas.

2) The nation’s only Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned kosher barbecue festival takes place in Kansas City.

3) The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education was founded by Holocaust survivors, Isak Federman and Jack Mandelbaum, and is located in Overland Park, Kansas.

4) 2,000 Jews attend the University of Kansas.

5) From 1882 to 1886, there were seven attempts to start Jewish agricultural communities by Russian Jewish refugees who fled persecution under the czar. They did not last long, and disappeared by 1900.

6) The first Jewish congregation in Kansas, founded in 1862, was located in Leavenworth (famed site of penitentiaries).

7) In 2000, Kansas high school students wrote and put on a play about Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who smuggled hundreds of Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. The play, “Life in a Jar,” has been performed 315 times in America and abroad.

8) Arlen Specter, Jewish senator from Pennsylvania, was born in Wichita. His family later moved to Russell, hometown of future Kansas senator Bob Dole.

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