Einstandig is an important name in our Temple and community

By Patty Lewis
Max and Bess Einstandig

Einstandig is not only an important name in our Temple but an important name in our community and the history of the Indiana Jewish community.

Max and Bess came to Terre Haute in 1944 from Chicago. They opened JEBBS, a propane gas company, in 1946. Max being the family man, he named the business “JEBBS”, with his family in mind:


  • J for Jerry
  • E for Elaine
  • B for Barbi
  • B for Bess

The last “B” was for the love of Max’s life, Bess.

On October 21, 1934, Bess Peltz became Mrs. Max Einstandig. From this marriage came three children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Jerry Einstandig

Max was deeply involved in preserving the history of the Indiana Jewish Community and wore many hats at our Temple. If there was something that needed doing, Max was there to do it or get it done. Norma and I knew Max as the donut man.

As always, behind every good man there is a great woman. Bess was always there supporting Max’s work.

In 1950, Bess was responsible for the religious school and in 1988 she was elected president of the Federation of Jewish Women. Bess was always there to welcome a stranger to our Temple with a warm smile.

All three of Bess’s and Max’s children grew up in our Temple. Elaine and Barbi were both active in our the youth group and were confirmed n the mid-’50s.

They all graduated from Wiley High School. Elaine and Barbi went on to attend Indiana University and Jerry attended Purdue University.

Terre Haute tradition continues with Einstandig children

All three Einstandig children were married in Terre Haute.

Elaine moved to Indianapolis after her marriage to Howard Zukerman and they still reside in Indianapolis and are members of Congregation Beth El Zedick.

Barbara remained in Terre Haute, where she taught pre-school at our Temple. She later served as president of the Jewish Federation of Women. Her daughter Deb was born in Terre Haute and Deb’s baby naming ceremony occurred at our Temple.

Jo Einstandig

In 1968, Barbi and her husband John moved to Indianapolis and joined Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, where Barbara celebrated her Bat Mitzvah in 2010. The family now belongs to Congregation Beth Shalom.

Barbi spoke to UHC Sisterhood on the Indiana Deaf Camp Foundation, where she works all year long to make sure each child who wishes will be able to attend.

Bess passed away July 13, 2006, and Max on Nov. 12, 2006. The Einstandig family continues their good work.

We lost Jerry way to soon, on August 17, 2010. Jerry’s loss was not only felt within his Temple family but also throughout our community. His funeral at our Temple was standing-room only, and he deserved that honor.

Jerry’s wife Jo is carrying on where Jerry left off in our Temple and the community. Jo became the Temple’s first female president and is a strong and admirable person.

P.S. I had to consolidate the Einstandig family’s work to complete this column. I would have to write a book to fit it all in. To sum it up, they are special people.

Patty Lewis is president of UHC Terre Haute Sisterhood.

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