When United Hebrew Congregation’s Sacred Places team prepared the synagogue’s case statement, we wanted to highlight the contributions of the Terre Haute Jewish business community. We asked Bill Gilmore to share a memory from the Shultz Store. The following is his story. Enjoy.
“Hanukkah had just passed, and Christmas was approaching. My brother, sister and I were excited by this once-a-year tradition of a savory smell that filled our house.
“No, it wasn’t coming from a Christmas tree — we never had those. It was coming from each and every one of several flat pans placed in front of every available radiator in the house. tea rings! Just the mention of them made our stomachs growl.
“But as we knew, only one or two would be saved for us. The rest were going downtown to The Store, Shultz & Company, where all the employees would happily feast. They all knew Edna Ruth’s tea rings, too!
We were a Jewish family-owned store, and it was important to us to give to the community in a positive spirited way that all of us could feel good about in this festive holiday season!
“The tea rings were a famous bell-ringer for another wonderful spiritual and giving event at The Store. Every year, on the second floor, my Uncle Bob Shultz organized a coats and clothing giveaway to orphans’ organizations in Terre Haute.
“As a part-time “young employee” in the store at Christmastime and during summer, I worked in the Boy Scouts department on the second floor, and I had a bird’s eye view watching young boy after young girl get fitted for a new winter coat.
“It made me proud and I felt a part of it: a generous giving for a need in the community. We were a Jewish family-owned store, and it was important to us to give to the community in a positive spirited way that all of us could feel good about in this festive holiday season!”
UHC builds on its vibrant past
As UHC looks to our future, we build on the vibrancy of our past. And we have a wonderful heritage on which to build! The Shultz-Berkowitz-Gilmore family is part of that heritage. By performing a mitzvah of goodwill during the winter holidays, The Store became UHC’s community representative.
Currently, acts of lovingkindness (mitzvot) continue through Sisterhood and Religious School. And individual members actively perform mitzvot on a regular basis by making sure elderly members feel a part of the congregation, leading Torah study for ISU students and even buying cold medicine for a stranger. All these acts serve as examples that our Jewish community lives the commandment of tikkun olam.
This year of 5778, soon to be 2018, holds promise for United Hebrew Congregation. As we continue acts of lovingkindness, UHC remains an important part of the greater Wabash Valley community.