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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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  • This Grateful Heart, a Book Reading and Signing

    with Alden Solovy
    Thursday, March 23, 7:00 p.m.
    Author and long-time Beth Emet member Alden Solovy will read from his latest book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. This private reading and book...

  • 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...

  • Beth Emet Capital Campaign

    Our goal is to raise at least $6.13 MILLION. A pledge to Beth Emet’s Capital Campaign is an investment that will strengthen our community, advance our mission today and tomorrow, and build a bridge to the next gen...

 

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.

  • Enhancing Your Family’s Passover Seder

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Sunday, April 2, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
    “When do we eat?” shouldn’t be the only question asked at your seder. Participants will gather ideas for creating engaging seders for people of all ages.
    No f...

  • with Rabbi Andrea London and Marci Dickman
    Sunday, April 2, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Our children often ask us the hardest questions, to which we often do not have an answer. “My teacher said…. Do you think that is tru...

  • Sunday, April 23, 10:00 - 11:30 am

    Perlman Room

    • Learn about Beth Emet’s new Social Justice Resource web page

    • Meet with fellow Beth Emet members who are involved with social action and social justice and those...

  • Dinner After

    Following Kabbalat Shabbat Services

    The next Dinner After will meet March 24 (at Trattoria DOC)
    Dinner After is also schedul...

  • Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Reception at 7:00 p.m.

    Beth Emet is embarking on a campaign to raise at least $6.13 million, of which 65% will allow us to reimagine our facilities; 25% will increase our endowment, ...

  • 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...

  • With Rabbi Andrea London

    Shabbat,  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 spiritual practices that co...

  • with Lindy Rubin
    Sunday, April 30, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    Tour the extensive art and architecture of Temple Sholom, the remarkable stained glass of Anshe Emet Synagogue, and the magnificent sanctuary of KAM in Hyde Park. Our bus...

  • with David Zarefsky
    Monday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sessions are expected to focus on the place of the United States in the world, including relationships with Israel, the nature of the social contract, and the principles of fede...

  • Enhancing Your Family’s Passover Seder

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Sunday, April 2, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
    “When do we eat?” shouldn’t be the only question asked at your seder. Participants will gather ideas for creating engaging seders for people of all ages.
    No fee (please...

  • 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...

  • 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 4, April 11, April 18, May 30, and July 4)

    Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, or o...

  • with Rabbi Allan Kensky
    Fridays, March 24 and 31, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    Jewish tradition uses Midrash to answer the questions posed by biblical narrative and to fill in the gaps. We will study the Midrash of the Exodus and ex...

  • Nurture The Wow: Parenting as a Spiritual Practice

    with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
    Sunday, March 26, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    The work of parenting, and living in connection with others in general, can be glorious and amazing, and frustrating, crazy making, and mind-numbingly bori...

  • with Hyma Levin
    Thursdays, April 20, 27 and May 4, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
    Psalms touch many of us at one time, or another; they are part of familiar songs, life cycle events, liturgy, and more. The New Testament quotes Psalms more ofte...

  • Pushing the Envelope Farm: Jewish Sustainable Farming

    with Trisha and Rabbi Fred Margulies
    Monday, April 3, 7:30-9:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 21
    Pushing the Envelope Farm was founded in 2008 as a response to a challenge posed at a national food conference sponsored by Hazon, the la...

  • with Rabbi Andrea London and Marci Dickman
    Sunday, April 2, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Our children often ask us the hardest questions, to which we often do not have an answer. “My teacher said…. Do you think that is true, Dad?” “...

  • with Benjamin Frommer
    Fridays, April 21 and 28, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    In the first session, From Empire to Nation-State, we will trace the growth of the Jewish community of Budapest from 1772 to its golden age, to its struggl...

  • This Grateful Heart, a Book Reading and Signing

    with Alden Solovy
    Thursday, March 23, 7:00 p.m.
    Author and long-time Beth Emet member Alden Solovy will read from his latest book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. This private reading and book signing w...

  • What's so Jewish about Leonard Bernstein?

    with Jesse Rosenberg
    Sunday, March 26, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
    Next year marks the hundredth birthday of composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Amid the many facets of his career—directing the New York Philharmonic, creating succe...

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