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Three Killed in Multiple Shootings at Two Jewish Centers in Kansas City Suburbs

By DEBKAfile, the Kansas City Star &

Police said one person was killed at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park and another at the nearby assisted living center at Village Shalom in Leawood, near Kansas City in shooting attacks Sunday, the day before the Passover festival. A third person was critically injured and died in the hospital.

One person was taken into custody in a school grounds several blocks from Village Shalom. He smiled and reportedly made anti-Semitic statements as he was led away.Both sites are in lockdown for the investigation. Police offered no information about the victims or who may have been responsible for the shootings.

The gunfire at the west side of the Jewish Community Center came as hundreds of high school singers from across the metro area were expected to audition for the KC SuperStar contest and actors were rehearsing for a production of To Kill a Mockingbird. "There were tons of kids because this was about to start at 1 o'clock," said Ruth Bigus, the publicist for KC SuperStar.

Parents were gathered at a nearby fast food restaurant waiting for word while the campus was locked down. Matt Davis was shopping for bar mitzvah suits with his son when he heard about the shooting at the Jewish Community Center, where his daughter was dancing. He headed to the center and saw the suspect, a heavyset man in handcuffs, being arrested at the school nearby. The man was smiling. "I was wondering why is the guy smiling when he's being arrested," Davis said.

KCTV5 said the suspect appeared to yell "Heil Hitler" as he was being led away in handcuffs by Overland Park police. A 41 Action News photographer on the scene spoke with a man who says another man pointed a gun at him and shot the windows out of his car. That person was not injured.

Organs of Tourist Who Died From Tahini Save Four Lives


Life is renewed amid the remnants of tragedy, as the donated organs of a South African tourist who tragically died last Tuesday in Jerusalem from an allergic reaction to tahini, a Middle Eastern sesame paste, saved the lives of four others. Petah Tikva's Beilinson Hospital reported that the organs of the tourist, who died in her 30s, successfully saved four patients, according to Walla!.

The woman's family, who arrived in Israel during the three-day heart-wrenching struggle to try and save her life from the severe allergic reaction to sesame, decided on the donation, saying "it's what she would have wanted."

She had arrived in Israel on a group trip just over 10 days ago; after only three days in the country, while staying at a hotel in Jerusalem, the woman ate a fish dish served with tahini without knowing it is made from sesame, which she was deathly allergic to.

After she passed, the woman's liver was transplanted to a young mother in her 30s who just gave birth a month ago, and who was brought to the emergency room over a week ago due to a serious liver condition. The mother was in danger of dying if she did not receive an immediate liver transplant, and was saved by the tourist's organ just in the nick of time.

"Until the liver arrived, the woman was connected to an artificial liver machine," noted Prof. Pierre Zinger, manager of the hospital's general intensive care unit. "The treatment given was intensive, we were under a sand hourglass that was about to run out at any moment."

The tourist's lungs were transplanted to a 40-year-old man, suffering from cystic fibrosis. He is currently still hospitalized at Beilinson Hospital in a stable condition. The corneas from the woman's eyes were transplanted to a young man and woman, who suffered from the disease keratoconus, which deforms the shape of the cornea. Both of them are currently in good condition.

Western Wall cleaned for Passover


Every year, millions of people visit the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, leaving written prayers on pieces of paper wedged into the cracks of the ancient stones.

"In the past few months, people have been placing their requests from God. We pray so that God may heed their prayers," Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western wall said. "This is the place where King Solomon asked that every prayer, every request, of every person, 'that he may place his palms at this dwelling', so that God may hear his prayer."

As Western Wall rabbi, Rabinowitz must ensure there is enough room for future prayers, so twice each year his team collects the hundreds of thousands of notes before burying them. Rabinowitz and his team use sticks when extracting the thousands of small notes from the cracks in the wall, preventing any damage to the ancient stones.

"It is written in the Torah not to put iron on the altar, on sacred things," he says. "Iron is something that kills, iron is something that destroys. We use wood that is not something that desecrates. It doesn't hurt, doesn't destroy. That is what they did at the time of the Temple and that is what we do here."

The Western Wall is almost consistently lined with people deep in prayer, many of whom lean forward with their eyes closed, touch their foreheads to the stones and whisper their wishes before kissing the wall when they have finished praying. Leaving notes of prayers and pleads has been adopted by members of many faiths around the world. "This place is a sacred place to the Jewish people, and the Jewish people's notes. This is the wall of their tears. Generations upon generations had dreamed about reaching this place," Rabinowitz said.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of the Second Temple destroyed in 70 CE. Today, it stands beneath a religious plaza known to the Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Immigration to Israel Jumps 14% in 2014's First Quarter

By Israel Hayom

The first three months of 2014 saw a 14% increase in the number of new immigrants to Israel compared to the same period of 2013, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported. According to CBS data, 3,623 new immigrants arrived in Israel from January to March 2014, compared to 3,177 in the same period the previous year.

January 2014 alone saw 1,220 new immigrants land in Israel, while 1,340 arrived in February. These numbers can be extrapolated to a total of 19,000 new immigrants for 2014, compared to 16,882 in 2013 -- an increase of 19%.

The CBS numbers showed that approximately one-third of the newcomers entered Israel on tourist visas and after staying a few weeks or months changed their status to that of a new immigrant. Other new arrivals come to Israel under the Law of Return, despite not being registered as Jews by the Interior Ministry. However, according to the CBS, immigration under the Law of Return has dropped significantly in recent years.

The biggest number of new immigrants in January-February 2014 came from Russia (899), followed by France (802) and the United States (203). The CBS also noted that the first quarter saw smaller groups of immigrants from other countries, including Ethiopia (79); Britain (55); Brazil (55); Hungary (35); Belgium (34); Canada (23); South Africa (22) and Switzerland (13).

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