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Beth Emet is a diverse, multigenerational Reform community with a dynamic approach to Judaism. Our congregation seeks to create a spiritually vibrant, socially conscious, intellectually challenging, and deeply caring environment firmly rooted in Jewish tradition and values.

A Time to Live and a Time to Die: Resources for End of Life Issues

At Beth Emet, we are committed to caring for each other throughout our lives. The resources below along with the Yahrzeit Memorial Observance information, are designed to help you plan for and respond to the profound loss of a loved one.

Please note that the pdfBeth Emet Funeral Plan is available through participating funeral homes at a fixed cost negotiated for our members. This rate does not include or cover any cemetery costs, and other services can be arranged for an additional cost. For more information and/or to receive a copy of the plan with Chicago Jewish Funerals or Weinstein Funeral Home, please contact Bekki Harris Kaplan.

Progressive Chevra Kadisha (Burial Committee) and Tahara

Beth Emet is part of the Progressive Chevra Kadisha (PCK), a volunteer inter-congregational society dedicated to conducting the ceremony of tahara in preparation for Jewish burial. PCK is run by volunteers from Beth Emet, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Lomdim, Or Chadash, and the Egalitarian Minyan/Ner Tamid of West Rogers Park to serve the needs of members and their families.

When someone dies, PCK members visit the funeral home-- as part of the Beth Emet Burial Plan or at a family's request--and prepare the body of the deceased according to the centuries-old customs of our people. PCK members wash the body (rechitza), perform a tahara (ritual cleansing), and dress the deceased in a set of tachrichim (simple white garments) for burial. The Progressive Chevra Kadisha performs this service anonymously as g’mitlut chesed  (an ultimate act of lovingkindness) to honor the dead and to comfort the living who remember them.

To learn more about the work of the Progressive Chevra Kadisha, to inquire about arranging a tahara, or to volunteer, call 847-440-4725 or email.

Comforting Mourners in Our Beth Emet Community

Jewish law and tradition encourage us to surround mourners with a supportive community. At Beth Emet, there are many ways to provide comfort and support to those in mourning. pdfThis brief guide shares the practices of our community.

Three Kinds of Wills: A Planning Resource

pdfThis resource offers guidance for thinking and planning about end of life issues in the context of three kinds of wills: a last will and testament that discusses your wishes about the disposition of your property, a so-called living will that provides advance directives about health care decisions if the time comes when you are unable to communicate your wishes, and an ethical will that transmits your values and describes the Jewish standards you’ve lived by to the next generations.

In Lieu of Flowers...

When a loved one dies, many families suggest that memorial gifts be given to charity instead of receiving flowers. Beth Emet The Free Synagogue is honored to be a named charity.

Memorial gifts can be made to Beth Emet online, by telephone or via postal mail. The synagogue office will promptly notify the family in mourning that a gift has been received and a thank you letter will be sent to the donor. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Notify the funeral director of your wish to name Beth Emet as a suggested charity and provide the contact information at the bottom of this page. Usually this type of request is included in published death notices and in shiva information distributed by the funeral home at the time of the funeral.

Donations will support the synagogue’s ongoing programs and services or, if you wish, can be directed to a specific synagogue department. If you have questions, please contact the Beth Emet office at 847-869-4230 ext. 301.

Beth Emet Dor L’Dor Society

The Beth Emet Dor L’Dor Society encourages congregants to include the synagogue in their estate plans and recognizes those who do so. Learn more

Selected Resources for End of Life Issues

End of Life Decisions: A Discussion Guide from Reform Judaism On LineEnd of Life Decisions: A Discussion Guide from Reform Judaism On Line
Embracing Life and Facing Death: A Jewish Guide to Palliative CareEmbracing Life and Facing Death: A Jewish Guide to Palliative Care
Jewish Sacred AgingJewish Sacred Aging, as filtered by Rabbi Richard Address
End of Life GuidesEnd of Life Guides from Congregation Rodeph Sholom, New York
Shiva ConnectShiva Connect - Jewish Funeral and Shiva Information
Resource Materials Downloadable from Chicago Jewish FuneralsChicago Jewish Funerals

Jewish Funeral Homes in Greater Chicago
(check with Beth Emet office to verify availability of Beth Emet Funeral Plan)

Illinois Information on Advance Directives and Living WillsIllinois Information on Advance Directives and Living Wills

Statement of Illinois Law on Advance Directives and DNR Orders
Statement of Illinois Law on Advance Directives and DNR Orders

Links to Approved FormsLinks to Approved Forms

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  • Capital Campaign Kick-Off Weekend

    Click Here to RSVP Today!

    Saturday, March 4 

    6:30 P.M. Capital Campaign Kick-Off Celebration at Beth Emet
    7:00 P.M. Havdalah
    7:15 P.M. Food! Drink! Music! Dancing! Convivial Uproarious Fun! Featuring the music of ...

  • Celebrate Purim!

    Megillah reading, Purim Spiel, carnival — we have something for everyone this Purim at Beth Emet! 

    Saturday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. |
    Megillah Reading and Purim Spiel
    This year’s intergenerational and adult-themed P...

  • Rock for a Reason
    Sunday, February 26 at 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Beth Emet’s Early Childhood program is excited to host “Rock For A Reason,” our annual fundraiser, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. The event will feature a raffle filled wit...

 

Beth Emet is a diverse, multigenerational Reform community with a dynamic approach to Judaism. Our congregation seeks to create a spiritually vibrant, socially conscious, intellectually challenging, and deeply caring environment firmly rooted in Jewish tradition and values.

  • Rock for a Reason
    Sunday, February 26 at 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Beth Emet’s Early Childhood program is excited to host “Rock For A Reason,” our annual fundraiser, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. The event will feature a raffle filled wit...

  • Capital Campaign Kick-Off Weekend

    Click Here to RSVP Today!

    Saturday, March 4 

    6:30 P.M. Capital Campaign Kick-Off Celebration at Beth Emet
    7:00 P.M. Havdalah
    7:15 P.M. Food! Drink! Music! Dancing! Convivial Uproarious Fun! Featuring the music of ...

  • Celebrate Purim!

    Megillah reading, Purim Spiel, carnival — we have something for everyone this Purim at Beth Emet! 

    Saturday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. |
    Megillah Reading and Purim Spiel
    This year’s intergenerational and adult-themed P...

  • RebbeSoul

    Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
    Kol Emet the Jewish Music Project presents American-Israeli singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer RebbeSoul (Bruce Berger) for a one-night only conc...

  • A Close Look at Torah

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Fridays, October 28 - June 2 (No class January 20 and 27, March 24, April 14)
    9:30 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.
    There are many ways to interpret Torah and the nuances of meaning that are often overlooked. We will...

  • With Rabbi Andrea London

    Shabbat,  January 14, February 18, April 1, April 22, May 13, June 17
    3:30–5:30 pm This class meets at Rabbi London's home.

    Once a month on Shabbat afternoon at Rabbi London's home, explore Jewish sp...

  • with Bluma Stoller

    Wednesdays, March 1 through June 7 (no class April 12), 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
    Do you want to learn to read Hebrew or improve rusty skills? Not sure of the prayers you learned to recite by rote? This new c...

  • with Sarah Wolf
    Fridays, March 3 and 10, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    What did the rabbis of the Talmud think about the significance of a person's intentions in Jewish law? Did they have a notion of criminal negligence? Did they thi...

  • Jewish Mindfulness Meditation

    with the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot
    Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Emet (please note this class will NOT meet:  April 11, April 18, May 30, and July 4)

    Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, or other sea...

  • with Rabbi Peter Knobel

    Fridays through June 2 (No class January 20 & 27, February 3 & 10, and April 14), 8:00 – 9:00 a.m

    This year we will continue reading Tractate Avodah Zarah, which deals with idolatry and the relations...

  • The Jewish Record Collection

    with Eric Berman
    Thursday, March 9, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    Avid record collector Eric Berman has scoured garage sales for over forty years looking for that elusive vinyl gem, and has acquired numerous record collections that once b...