Tag Archives: murder

What a week! A Murder and a Campus Lock Down Impact My Life

5 Sep

I honestly thought that with my daughter living in Tel Aviv, Israel, that when the bombing and war there ended, I would be able to watch the news again and be calm when watching. But that did not happen.   This past week in the Kansas City area has been emotionally stressful.

On Tuesday there was a triple homicide in south Kansas City. A friend of mine said it happened on 107 and Wornall, I corrected her and said it was further south, because I knew the area well. Someone I knew lived there. But having said that, at the same time, I had no concern about this friend. It was not possible that something would happen to her.

On Wednesday, I found out that I was wrong. Another friend told me the horrifying news that the woman I knew was one of those murdered. We were in a store when she told me. I paid for my items, went out to my car and began to shake. I had just seen this woman a few days before at clothing store. We showed each other the outfits we were trying on. And gave opinions. Now she was dead. It did not seem possible.

I called another friend.   I needed to talk to someone before I drove; I was so shook up. And it was true. Thank you for calming me down so I could drive home.

Yesterday, Thursday, the college campus that my son attends went on lock down.   He was there in a class. When I saw on the news what was happening, I texted him. And yes he was on lock down.   He was okay.

His girlfriend also texted me to tell me where My son was and that he was okay.

But a few minutes later, my son texted these words, “I am very scared.”

At that point my heart broke and my panic started. But I knew I could not let him know that I was scared as well. And due to the shootings earlier in the week, I could not say ‘nothing will happen.’ I felt anxious.

I started sending him text with information from the news, from the police reports. I believe it helped calm him as there was no active shooter, just reports of a woman with a gun.  We could text, but he could not speak so I could not call him.

I texted him to come to our home immediately after he got out…not to go to his apartment. The campus was just two miles from our home.  We continued texting for two hours. But then there was silence.  I hate silence!

After a half hour of silence, during which I sent him six texts, he arrived home. He got a very big and long hug from me.  He then laughed and said,  “I have lots of texts from you!”  I glad my texting gave him some comic relief!

He told us an armed police officer in tactical gear came into their class and told them to barricade the room, turn off the lights, get on the floor and stay quiet, till the police came again. And there they sat for three hours.  Their professor gave them updates when he received them.

The police searched every building. When his class was released they had to go through other buildings. All students had to exit from the same place so the police could see them. And when he drove away, he had to stop so the police could look into his car.

We drove to his apartment and picked up his roommate, and we took the boys out to dinner. It was after 7 pm and we were now hungry.

My son told us what happened again during dinner. I think he needed to get it out of his system. He said, “I thought about every scenario that could happen.”  I told him that everyone was scared. As they interviewed other students they all talked about thinking about what might happen, just as he did.

After dinner, before my son left us, I again hugged him for a very long time. He told his Dad, “Get a crowbar!” I did not want to let go.

Now I am getting ready to go to the funeral of the woman who was murdered in her driveway. The week ends tomorrow.

I will go to synagogue and pray for the family of the woman who died. I will also pray and be thankful that the college campus only had an inconvenience and not a disaster; and that my son came home safely to me.

I never expected in one week that a murder and a campus lock down would impact my life!  I have always felt so safe in Kansas, but this year with the shootings at the Jewish Community Campus, and this past week, some of my beliefs and feelings of  calm have been impacted.

May Her Name Be a Blessing

3 Sep

I had a shock today. I think many of us did.

On the news yesterday I saw that three people were murdered in South Kansas City. In an area where many retired people live. I knew exactly the spot as someone I knew lived there.

And then today I found out that she was one of the people murdered. I am in shock. For me writing is a way to deal with emotions. So I need to write about her.

 

We only meet about five years ago.   She became active in National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Kansas City Section.   And we began working together on committees. She was very interested in two issues important to me, interfaith relations and the issue of ‘chained’ women, agunot, Jewish women who could not get a religious divorce. So we began working on these issues together.

When we met, we realized that our lives had touched once before we met.   I had replaced her as a speaker at an interfaith event when she was ill. She was supposed to speak about Judaism. Since I was at the event with my daughter, I was asked to fill in.

Later, when we met, it was this incident that gave us something in common. It was where we found our commonality. She also had a strong belief in interfaith communication and cooperation.

Besides our NCJW connection, I once interviewed her husband (for the Jewish Chronicle) when he received a wonderful award from the synagogue they belonged to. The three of us sat together in their dining room while I interviewed the two of them. He wanted her there. They were so close. He had prepared a small feast of Middle Eastern finger foods. It was hard to type, interview and eat. But that is what I had to do that day. Luckily they both loved the article when it was published.

This past March, I drove her to the National Council of Jewish Women Convention in St. Louis. We had spent five hours driving there and five hours driving home together, besides the four days at the convention. You learn a lot about someone when you spend so much time alone together.

In the car we talked about our families. She was very proud of her nephews. And spoke about them as I spoke about my children. We talked about interfaith, as we would soon be having, our interfaith event.   We had combined learning about different religions and the issue of divorce in these religions: Judaism, Catholicism and Islam. As these three religions had different and definite rules on divorce. It turned out to be a wonderful panel discussion. And she was one of the panalists.

We talked about her mother, who was ill. And I talked about the death of my parents. Her mother died just a month ago. I know it was hard for her.

I took her to her home and parked in the driveway. I pulled out her suitcase. And her husband came to get it. And I left them.

A few days later, they both showed up at my house. He had made Hamantaschen for Purim. And they wanted me to have some as a thank you and because the holiday was soon. It is tradition to bring snacks, ‘shaloch manot,” for Purim.

I last saw her last week. We met by chance in a women’s clothing store. I feeling blue about something. She was out shopping for the first time since her Mom had passed. I had been out of town when her Mom died, so had not been at the funeral or paid a visit.

We talked about NCJW and when she would get back to volunteering. I told her everyone understood.   It is difficult to lose your mother. When she was ready it was time enough.

We showed each other what we were trying on. She had on a long black skirt, with lace and tiers, very her, and a black and white top.   She asked my opinion. I said I liked both pieces, but not together. She told me I was wrong.  And that was okay because we are both opinionated and strong willed women.

I knew she was back to herself. I smiled and said, Okay. To each their own style.

And now I feel sad.  I do not think she ever wore the new outfit she had tried on.  I see her in my mind twirling the long black skirt for me.

She will never volunteer again.

I am shocked.

Baruck Dayan haEmet, May her Name be for a blessing.