Kansas City’s Jewish community has once again been touched by tragedy – this time in the heart of Israel. Two of the victims of today’s Jerusalem synagogue attack had close ties with local Jewish day school Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, based in Overland Park, Kan.
Rabbis Kalman Levine and Mosheh Twersky were among four religious men brutally gunned down in a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers. In addition, an Israeli Druze police officer died following the attack.
Rabbi Levine, who grew up in Kansas City, Mo., was a member of the first graduating class in 1976 of Kansas City’s only Jewish day school, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy. Rabbi Twersky’s nephew, Meshulam Twersky, is currently a lower school teacher at HBHA.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of four members of the Jewish community in Jerusalem today,” said Howard M Haas, HBHA’s head of school, during an afternoon news conference.
“We extended our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of both these men, including the lifelong friends that Rabbi Levine made during his time at HBHA.”
Earlier in the day, HBHA teachers spoke with students about the Jerusalem attack that took the men’s lives. Rabbi Meshulam Twersky has been at HBHA for three years and is a beloved teacher.
“Each of his students wrote him letters of condolence,” Haas said. “In addition, HBHA staff and faculty came together to hold a memorial service for both Rabbis Levine and Twersky.”
Rabbi Daniel Rockoff, president of the Kansas City Rabbinical Association and an HBHA teacher and close colleague of Rabbi Meshulam Twersky, spoke on behalf of the local Jewish community.
“Earlier today I had the opportunity to talk with Rabbi Twersky about the death of his uncle. Rabbi Levine and his uncle were part of a close-knit community and knew each other well,” Rabbi Rockoff said. “Both of these men personified Jewish ideals and values and were deeply committed to their families. They will be deeply missed by their spouses, children and grandchildren.”
- Story from Jane Blumenthal Martin, HBHA