With hugs and tears, community bonds grow strong

04/15/2014 10:58 AM

04/15/2014 10:58 AM

Today, the Jewish Community Center will reopen after a scheduled holiday break and a post-tragedy pause. In the wake of the fatal shootings that occurred Sunday just outside the center’s theater and outside the Village Shalom senior-living complex, people and communities far and wide have come together to share prayers, grief and comfort.

Joy will return to the center — and to the lives of those most affected by the shootings — when the time feels right.

But for now, Johnson Countians will remember, through tears, the friends and neighbors whom they have lost — William Lewis Corporon, a physician; the teen-aged grandson he loved, Reat Griffin Underwood; and Terri LaManno, a kind and loving woman who visited her mother at Village Shalom every Sunday.

Mindy Corporon, daughter and mother of two of the fallen, set a remarkable tone of grace at the Sunday night vigil at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church. She spoke of the wonder of daily life. And she prompted more than one friend to spread the word: “hug your children today.”

The Jewish Federation of Kansas City, based at the Jewish Community Center, among other groups has reminded us of the power of people standing together.

“We are hopeful that by standing up and speaking out against those who perpetrate acts of hate, violence and oppression, all of us may move toward peace and tolerance of others,” federation officials said in a statement.

Johnson Countians and others will certainly come together Thursday morning at the JCC’s White Theater, where an interfaith service has been scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

In such encounters, a community grows stronger every day.

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