“Crisis” leads to innovation and connects virtual and in-person congregants

By Betsy Frank

How many of you have watched the television program, Macgyver? If you have, you know Angus Macgyver can jerry rig anything and get out of a tough situation.

Well, prior to the High Holy Days we experienced a crisis, so to speak, at UHC. How, we wondered, could we provide multi-access services to our congregation?

Just like the sages of Talmudic times who tried to figure out how to practice Judaism without the Temple, we had to figure out how to innovate (with a limited budget) in times of COVID.

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Bridge Project fulfills Terry Fear’s wish to recognize historic injustice in Vigo County

By Ken Turetzky

Injustice haunted Terry Fear and opposing injustice consumed her. She passed away Dec. 13, 2020, in the midst of a vigil to protest executions at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute.

Terry found no shortage of social justice causes in the present era — an oil pipeline on sacred Native American land in North Dakota, violent white supremacists in Charlottesville, migrant children detained in Florida — but died before she could help commemorate a sudden, brutal sequence of historic injustices perpetrated by citizens of her own community 120 years ago.

The violence claimed two victims — Ida Finkelstein, a Jewish schoolteacher just days short of her 21st birthday, and George Ward, a Black family man and foundry worker who was 25, according to census records.

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A mob lynched his great-grandfather. Now, Terry Ward says, ‘I just want to love’

By Ken Turetzky

George Ward’s death by the vigilante injustice of lynching left a legacy of broken families and financial struggle. Only three generations later could great-grandson Terry Ward break the pattern, with the support of the nation’s social safety net.

But unexpected violence followed Terry Ward and invoked a reckoning of its own, almost a century later.

“I was born and raised in Terre Haute. I lived here for 18 years,” said Ward, 67, lingering in Fairbanks Park following the George Ward Historical Marker Dedication Sept. 26.

He tells his story patiently, unhurried, as he allows the listener to absorb his message. “We’ll try our best to be factual and truthful about all things,” he said.

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For Czech Scroll #845 from Pardubice, the ride to UHC marked the last (best) leg of its journey

By Scott Skillman

The story of the Memorial Scrolls Trust and its mission to preserve the Torah scrolls of Czechoslovakia, rescued after the systematic destruction of the Jewish communities, is well-documented.

The Torahs were consolidated to Prague during the Nazi occupation. After the war, during the Communist occupation, the scrolls were placed in storage in the ruins of the Michle Synagogue basement.

Due to good record-keeping, we know many scrolls were saved from Pardubice. Four of those scrolls have been leased out to Jewish congregations around the world.

At present, one scroll resides in Cambridge England (#689), one in Tampa, Fla. (#1169), one in Glencoe, Ill. (#229), and the last with United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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