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UHC sets Passover ‘Celebration’ for April 23

Following two years in the wilderness of fully remote Passover seders, United Hebrew Congregation will invite members back to the Vestry Room for an abbreviated hybrid Pesach “Celebration” at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 23.

The date, which falls on the final day of Passover, coincides with Student Rabbi Matt Derrenbacher‘s regular visit. Rabbi Matt will conduct the seder for virtual and in-person audiences.

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For 101 years, Walter Sommers chose optimism over pessimism, hope over fear

By Nancy Sommers

Walter Sommers lived with gratitude for the life he was given. When asked to look back on his 101 years, he beamed, “I have had a good time in life; it couldn’t have been better.”

He lived each day with optimism and purpose, with a strong sense of duty to bear witness to the history he experienced, and to pass this history forward to future generations.

Asked about his optimism, he would smile and say, “Life turns out better if you start each day seeing the glass half-full, not half-empty.” For 101 years, Walter chose optimism over pessimism, hope over fear.

He lived a long, full life, but to Walter’s family and friends, he didn’t live long enough.

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If justice is up to us as God’s people, we must lead with compassion and not anger

By Student Rabbi Remy Liverman

During the Jewish festival of Sukkot, a part of the Jewish High Holy Days, we read from the Book of Exodus where God instructs Moses to chisel new tablets upon which God will engrave the Ten Commandments.

As Moses takes the new tablets up to Mt. Sinai, God reveals His glory to Moses, proclaiming His 13 Attributes of Mercy:

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…. (Exodus 34:6-7).”

The dilemma we face when interpreting this sacred text involves understanding a God of forgiveness, love and compassion and yet also punitive retribution for the guilty.

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Rabbi Emil Leipziger repudiated violence as he mourned Ida Finkelstein and George Ward

By Scott Skillman

On February 27, 1901, Rabbi Emil Leipziger led a group in solemn prayer. Still in his early 20s and just a year into his term at reform congregation Temple Israel in Terre Haute, Rabbi Leipziger now presided over the funeral of a Jewish woman barely three years younger than himself.

The rabbi mourned along with a shocked community dealing with tragic loss. And yet, when he said, “Let us repudiate this act of violence,” he did not speak only of the murdered Ida Finkelstein.

He was speaking about a historic, criminal act perpetrated by Terre Haute’s citizens in the lynching of Finkelstein’s accused murderer, a Black man named George Ward.

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