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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Rabbi Joe Klein held the Czech Scroll as a symbol of Jewish survival and persistence

Three years after its arrival in Terre Haute, the Czech memorial scroll identified as MST #845 helped bridge the generations during a confirmation ceremony in the UHC sanctuary.

As students Ellie Klein, Rachel Seidenberg, David Halpern and Dan Atkins stood by, Rabbi Joseph Klein held the historic scroll from Pardubice and described its significance.

He began, “The Torah scroll that tonight’s Torah portion from Exodus will be read from is a special scroll to our congregation, in the life of our congregation.”

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