Louise Sommers’s life ‘an important Holocaust story about survival, continuity’

Safely settled in 1941 with her father and sister in the U.S., 16-year-old Louise Sommers wrote, “The day after my seventh birthday, my mother suddenly died. Since then, things have never been the same.

“It seems that with my mother’s death, a chain of misfortune started. Hitler came to power and my uncle was beaten up, put into prison by the Nazis and later fled to France….Terrible things happened in Germany.”

Louise’s daughter Nancy Sommers found Louise’s youthful autobiography a few years ago and shared this excerpt as guest speaker for “Creating Light From Darkness and Optimism out of Tragedy”, the third annual Yom HaShoah event May 5 at UHC to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Read More

Student Rabbi Jonathan Falco bids farewell to ‘community of longtime friends’

By Student Rabbi Jonathan Falco

We presently find ourselves in a period where we are literally counting the days until our next holiday.

Jews are always looking ahead, planning for the next occasion where the pulse of our calendar year brings us together in joyous or somber moments.

During these intervening days between Passover and Shavuot, we are commanded to count the omer of 49 days.

I’ve counted my year in monthly visits, trips to the “Enterprise” in Cincinnati and drives across the beautiful Indiana countryside.

Read More

Celebrants fill Vestry Room for Passover seder

A record crowd for the Terre Haute diaspora era of more than 50 people filled the Vestry Room for the annual community Passover seder Friday, April 19, at United Hebrew Congregation.

Herschel Chait led Kabbalat Shabbat in the sanctuary and, adorned in seasonal matzoh tie and kippah, shared seder-hosting duties with Temple president Betsy Frank.

Listen to audio and view photos from the event, and check out Chistina’s Best Charoses recipe!

Read More

Rwanda survivor Emmanuel Habimana speaks at UHC, calls for resistance, resilience, respect

As mounting instances of identity-based violence arouse memories of historic, mass atrocities, alarmed communities across the U.S. increasingly counter with public vigils and calls for peaceful resolution to conflict.

Here in Terre Haute, UHC’s sanctuary provides a welcoming venue for such events. On April 7, the 25th anniversary of the day Rwanda’s Hutu majority unleashed a genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority, UHC welcomed survivor Emmanuel Habimana and the Terre Haute South Vigo High School STAND club to present a special program entitled #TogetherWeRemember.

Read More