UHC members can relate to the PBS program, “There Are Jews Here”

By B. Scott Skillman

The PBS program “There Are Jews Here” follows the untold stories of four once-thriving American Jewish communities that are now barely holding on. As communities struggle with aging congregants and dwindling interest, families are moving to larger cities with more robust congregations.

A portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, the film celebrates religious diversity in small-town America.

Beyond that description, I found the 90-minute show to provide an excellent representation of our own experience and many of the ideas we have tried or considered in order to encourage engagement.

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Bialys could be coming to an oneg near you

By Debra Israel

Bagels are everywhere in the U.S. now, but finding a bialy is still a challenge in many places — including Terre Haute.

Some of you may be asking, what is a bialy? It turns out bialys did in fact get their name from the Polish city of Bialystock, where they originated.

Bialys are sometimes described as a combination between a bagel and an English muffin. They notably feature a partial hole (often filled with onions) rather than a hole that goes all the way through like a bagel.

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Jewish community marks Kristallnacht 80 with CANDLES talks, Theater 7 reading at UHC

As communities observed the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht on Nov. 9-10, the attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and rising incidences of hate crimes across the western world added urgency to the declaration, “Never again.”

In Terre Haute, UHC member and Kristallnacht survivor Walter Sommers spoke at CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, where he serves as a docent, and participated in a candle-lighting the honor the victims of the Holocaust.

A day later, UHC and Theater presented a staged reading of This Side of Eternity: The Story of Kristallnacht, by former Terre Haute resident Christopher Bibby.

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Community gathers at UHC in response to Tree of Life attack: ‘We, too, will never yield to evil’

Student Rabbi Jonathan Falco stood at the sanctuary bimah and read the names of the 11 Pittsburgh dead, then invited the congregation to rise for El Ma’alei Racham’im, the prayer for the souls of the departed.

“The victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue were robbed of their opportunity to fulfill the commandment to keep and remember and celebrate the Sabbath. Tonight, we move forward with doing just that — continuing our Shabbat service and celebrating in their memory,” Jonathan said.

Some 100 people attended Shabbat services Friday, Nov. 2, at United Hebrew Congregation’s historic Temple Israel, six days after the fatal attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

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