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A partnership in caring

BURBANK ? Two distinct religious traditions with a history of partnership in Burbank came together on Saturday for a benefit concert to raise money for a Macedonian woman who has liver cancer.

St. Jude’s Episcopal Church and Temple Beth Emet have fostered a cooperative relationship since Temple Beth appealed to St. Jude’s for a place to celebrate some special religious ceremonies, St. Jude’s Rector, Father Chuck Mitchell, said

“Temple Beth was looking for a place to have high holy days,” he said. “And so they asked if it were possible to rent the church for high holy days. We said, ‘No it’s not possible, but we’ll let you have it anyway.’”

And on Saturday the altar at St. Jude’s became a jazz performance venue, with the night’s proceeds going to a fund for Rachel Razankova whose daughter, Roni, is a member of Temple Beth.


“My mother has always been the person who is there to help to people ? it’s part of her personality,” Roni Razankova said. “Now she’s sick and she is the one who needs help.”

With only one oncology clinic in all of Macedonia, Roni Razankova hopes to bring her mother to the United States to treat the cancer that spread to the liver shortly after an abdominal surgery in Macedonia. Since Rachel Razankova did not receive proper post-surgery treatment, the cancer was never completely eradicated, Roni Razankova said.

Roni Razankova told Temple Beth Rabbi Mark Sobel about her mother’s situation, setting a fund drive in motion that reached out to over 600 temples across the nation. Roni Razankova was able to use the donations from that drive to purchase medications to counteract dangerous side-effects related to the continuing chemotherapy that Rachel Razankova is undergoing in Macedonia.

“She’s not getting the best treatment there now,” Roni Razankova said. “Even though I was able to send the medications there, they would be better administered by the doctors here.”


Roni Razankova, who recently became a U.S. citizen, is now submitting immigration documents in hopes of securing resident status for her mother to bring her into the United States for emergency treatment. But Roni Razankova must prove that she has enough money ? at least $100,000 ? to pay for treatment costs.

The event on Saturday took shape when Marissa Sellers, who grew up attending Temple Beth, caught wind of the Razankova’s story and organized the concert.

“I thought, ‘What can I do to make a difference?’” she said. “I thought I should put on a jazz benefit. Jazz music is something I fancy...and we just kind of took it from there.”

The proceeds will not only be used to Rachel Razankova, but will establish a permanent Temple Beth fund that will be available to others who have trouble coping with costs related to medical emergencies.