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.