Beth Emet - The Free Synagogue

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.

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Rabbi Knobel was rabbi emeritus at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois where he served since 1980, following 11 years at Temple Emanu-El in Groton, Connecticut.  He served as the Interim Senior Rabbi of Temple Sholom of Chicago and Temple Judea in Coral Gables. He also served as Interim Rabbi at North West Surrey Synagogue in Weybridge, England and Beth Shalom in Auckland, New Zealand. He received a BHL, MAHL and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He served on the board of many local and national institutions including Association of Reform Zionists of America, Union for Reform Judaism, American Jewish Committee, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He was a Past President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He co-chaired the CCAR Project, Lay Involvement in the Development of Liturgy, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment and the Nathan Cummings Foundation and he chaired the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Ad Hoc Siddur Editorial Committee which produced Mishkan T’filah, the Reform Movement’s new prayer book. He was Director of the Resource Center for Jewish Health Care Ethics and has participated as a member of the Illinois State Attorney’s Task Force “Foregoing of Life-Sustaining Treatment” while putting special emphasis on health, healing, death, and dying.  He also chaired the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s Taskforce on the Relationship between Predecessors and Successors,

Rabbi Knobel was a member of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies faculty and taught courses at HUC-JIR, Yale University, University of New Haven and the University of Connecticut. He published papers and articles on such subjects as Assisted Suicide, Cloning, Reform Zionism, Reform Judaism, Dietary Laws, Spirituality, Rites of Passages, Judaism, and Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage. He also served as a member of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative on Peace in the Middle East and was Past Chair of the Institute for Reform Zionism. He was also the editor of Mishkan Moeid: A Guide to the Jewish Seasons and Navigating the Journey: The Essential Guide to the Jewish Lifecycle recently published by the CCAR Press.

He was married for 53 years to the former Elaine Goodman they have two sons and six grandchildren.  

Writings

May 20, 2011: Haaretz Daily Newspaper, A Sacred CommitmentA Sacred Commitment

Letters to Grandchildren

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  • Celebrate & Commemorate - BE@70


    January 10-12, 2020


    For 70 years, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue has created a community uniquely open to diverse understanding and expression of what it means to be a Jew.

    For 70 years, we have inspired and challe...

 

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.

  • with Khane-Faygl Turtletaub
    Wednesday, November 20 | 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    You have told Jewish jokes and you have heard Jewish jokes. This class will explore what makes a joke Jewish, and what makes a Jewish joke funny.
    Me...

  • Adults and Kids Night Out at Beth Emet


    Saturday, December 7 | 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

    Last year's Adults and Kids Night Out at Beth Emet events were such a hit that we're doing it again!

    The evening begins with Havdalah together in the Lobby, then, we'll spli...

  • November 1 - December 8

    Cleaning out your closet this fall? Consider helping our Soup Kitchen guests stay warm this winter by donating your gently used coats, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots. Please make sure pock...

  • Ivrit with Ronit

    With Ronit Levy
    Wednesdays, October 23 - November 18 | 4:30-5:30 p.m.

    A fun afternoon Hebrew class for children ages 4-6. Learn Hebrew through songs, games, dance, snack, yoga and more.

    $10 per session. Please co...

  • Celebrate & Commemorate - BE@70


    January 10-12, 2020


    For 70 years, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue has created a community uniquely open to diverse understanding and expression of what it means to be a Jew.

    For 70 years, we have inspired and challe...

  •  Thinking about keeping your slate clean after Yom Kippur? Want a Jewish way to deepen your focus on your speech, behavior, and ideas? Looking to connect to people in meaningful ways? You may be looking for tikkun m...

  • Beth Emet Book Club


    facilitated by Judith Pittel
    Count to a Thousand: Negotiating life as an American in modern-day Israel 
    with author Caroline Goldberg Igra
    Wednesday, November 20 at 1:00 p.m. 
    Count to a Thousand tells the story of an A...

  • Thursdays,  November 21, December 12, January 16, February 27, March 19, April 23 | 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

    Participants study as a small group of adults studies to become b’nei mitzvah together at Beth Emet. Requirements for Adult...

  • facilitated by Mark Schoenfield
    Wednesday, November 6 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and repeated Friday, November 8 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Our brains take in and store huge amounts of sensory information. Part of the material stored un...

  • with David Shyovitz
    Fridays, December 13 and 20 | 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.
    The relationship between Christians and Jews has been marked by violence and mutual antagonism for much of the past 2000 years; but at the same time, Jews and ...

  • with David Zarefsky

    Tuesdays, November 12 and January 7 | 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    This is a continuing lecture-discussion class on contemporary public issues of interest to Jews as citizens. We will focus primarily on United States ...

  • Drumming for Self-Renewal

    with Linda Schneider
    Wednesdays, October 30 and December 11; 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

    Percussion offers hands-on, non-verbal access to the spiritual and emotional while connecting with others. Treat your mind, body, and spirit to a...

  • with Khane-Faygl Turtletaub
    Wednesday, November 20 | 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    You have told Jewish jokes and you have heard Jewish jokes. This class will explore what makes a joke Jewish, and what makes a Jewish joke funny.
    Member fee $...

  • Hebrew 1

    with Bluma Stoller
    Sundays, October 6 – May 10 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    (no class December 1, 22, 29, January 5, February 16, April 12)
    For learners with no or limited Hebrew language background. The aim of this class is to f...

  • Hebrew 2

    with Nancy Fink
    Sundays, October 6 – May 10 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    (no class December 1, 22, 29, January 5, February 16, April 12) 

    For learners already able to sound out Hebrew words. Improve your reading fluency. Explor...

  • Hebrew 3

    with Dorit Flatt
    Sundays, October 20 – May 10 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (no class December 1, 22, 29, January 5, February 16, April 12)
    For learners who have completed Hebrew 2 or an equivalent, including the basic ability t...

  •  Thinking about keeping your slate clean after Yom Kippur? Want a Jewish way to deepen your focus on your speech, behavior, and ideas? Looking to connect to people in meaningful ways? You may be looking for tikkun middot.

    Be...

  • The Planet in Peril—Study and Action

    with Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler
    Wednesday, November 13 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    Jewish values teach us that we are obligated to take steps to correct the damages of climate change. In the chapter, The Planet in Peril, from Reform J...

  • with Rabbi Michael Balinsky
    Fridays, November 15 and 22 | 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.

    Although the Reform movement is steeped in ritual/mitzvah expressions, it does not define itself as a halachic movement. However, halachah can help us ...

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