Hadassah Greater Kansas City 4th Annual Touch of Red Gala: Celebrate Life!

November 20, 2021 @ 7:30PM — 9:00PM Central Time (US & Canada)

Join Hadassah Greater Kansas City for our 4th Annual Touch of Red Gala: Celebrate Life!, focusing on organ donation.  Emceed by Great Plains Region President, Elaine Silver, this free online event--open to the Greater Kansas City community and beyond--features both a rabbi and a transplant surgeon, 2 pairs of Hadassah altruistic living kidney donors and their recipients, and the latest information about organ donation at Hadassah hospitals.  2021 Gala honorees are Annual Givers of Greater Kansas City, who save and enhance lives through their gifts to Hadassah. 

Hadassah Greater Kansas City 4th Annual Touch of Red Gala: Celebrate Life! image

Read more about the event and our guest speakers below.

There are currently no tickets available for this event, but you can still make a donation.


All Annual Givers in attendance will be showcased at the Gala and will receive an honoree certificate to be mailed after the event.

Featured Guest Speakers:

Elaine Silver of Deerfield, IL currently serves as President of Hadassah Great Plains, including parts of 8 states. Being a Life Member since she was 5 years old and serving as a leader in Young Judaea solidified her commitment to Hadassah. She first became a chapter president in 1995. Since that time, Elaine has held numerous chapter and region leadership positions. When she is not working for Hadassah, Elaine is a Senior Associate Consultant at Aon, where she has worked in compensation for 23 years. Elaine’s husband, Steven, is a Hadassah Associate, and their 2 daughters, Robin and Melanie, are both Hadassah Life Members.

Rabbi Jonathan Rudnick serves as Jewish community chaplain based at Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City, where he is passionate about spiritual care. A native of Kansas City, he moved to Israel in 1994, living in Jerusalem and building a family. Ordained by the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Rabbi Rudnick was the first professional chaplain in an Israeli hospital and created B’Ruach, a new training program for spiritual care in Israel. In 2006, Rabbi Rudnick returned to Kansas City where, in addition to serving as chaplain, he has brought his love of music to create and facilitate healing prayer services. He is the father of Sagi, Shir-el, and Shefer.

Ashley Kennen of Sanford, FL has made every new breath count since her double lung transplant in 2010. A Hadassah Life Member and daughter of Ellen Audet, Hadassah National Nurses Council Co-Chair, Ashley has fostered children and dogs, and now has 4 beautiful adopted children-- and a new grandbaby! She believes everyone should get a chance to live life to the fullest, and she is grateful every day to her donor who has allowed her to do just that.

Katie Edelstein of Bellingham, WA has held numerous Hadassah portfolios at the local, Region and National level, including but not limited to Past National Region Presidents’ Training Chair, National Leadership, Education and Training Coordinator, National Membership Coordinator and served on the Hadassah Foundation Board for 6 years. She was a living kidney donor to Belle Simon.

Belle Simon of Boynton Beach, FL is a member of the Hadassah International Team and National Co-Chair of the Elections Committee. A former Chair of the Hadassah Medical Organization, Belle also served on its International Board of Directors. She has traveled to Israel over 40 times and has had the opportunity to lead several missions. Belle has served as a National Vice President and has been a member of the Executive Committee for over 15 years. Belle is a graduate of Brooklyn College with BA and MS degrees in Education. She is a member of the Society of Major Donors and a Keeper of the Gate.

Martha Gershun of Fairway, KS is a nonprofit consultant and writer, with over 35 years of leadership experience in Fortune 500 corporations, start-up ventures, and human service agencies. As principal of MG Consulting, she assists local and national nonprofits with strategic planning, marketing, executive coaching, leadership transition, fundraising, and board development. Gershun retired as Executive Director of Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in 2017. The following year she donated a kidney to Deb Porter Gill. She co-wrote a book about that experience, Kidney to Share (Cornell Press, 2021), with bioethicist Dr. John Lantos.

Deb Porter Gill of Ft. Lauderdale, FL is a retired attorney who, after spending 7 years prosecuting sex crimes, established a solo practice in Kansas City. Twenty-three years ago, at the age of 37, she was the grateful recipient of a deceased donor kidney and pancreas transplant. In 2018, she underwent a second lifesaving kidney transplant when she matched with a total stranger, Martha Gershun. A Hadassah Life Member, Deb is studying to become a certified meditation teacher and Ayurvedic Life Coach. She has 2 daughters, Rachel (25) and Lindsay (23), both adopted from Russia.

Seth C. Narins, MD, PhD, FACS of River Vale, NJ is a native of Boston, MA. He has traveled extensively, both throughout the US while earning his MD and PhD, and the world, with his wife, Luisa, Hadassah National Membership Chair, frequently accompanying her on her charitable missions to the Middle East. He has been a practicing abdominal transplant surgeon for 15 years, with particular interests in living kidney donation, management of post-transplant infections, and optimization of immunosuppression for improved outcomes. He loves to dabble in the kitchen, re-creating the international cuisine he is passionate about. A Hadassah Associate and Keeper of the Gate, Dr. Narins lives with his wife and their 8 cats.

Ann Karty, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAFP of Overland Park, KS serves as National Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) Vice Chair. Dr. Karty is a Board Certified Family Medicine physician and Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Having served as a professor at 2 local universities, Dr. Karty currently works in the health care industry as Senior Medical Director. Starting with her participation in the Hadassah Leadership Academy, she has served Hadassah in many capacities, including helping create continuing education meetings in Israel for the National Hadassah Physicians’ Council. Currently, Dr. Karty is the Executive Vice President and Vice President of Programming for her local synagogue.

Lauren Berger of Milwaukee, WI, is a native of Baltimore, MD. She has been in professional Jewish communal service for over 15 years, working with communities of every age, from babies to seniors. She currently serves as the Annual Giving Officer for the Hadassah Great Plains, Upper Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic Regions. In addition to her husband, Noah, senior rabbi of Congregation Shalom in Milwaukee, her home includes 3 kids—Hannah (9), Josie and Judah (6) and Kaia (wheaten terrier, 13).


Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City

Midwest Transplant Network