Our Building

“Make for me a Sanctuary that I may dwell within them.”

Parashat Terumah

Built in 1963 and most recently renovated in 2018, Beth Emet’s current Sanctuary seats 235 people, and when extended into the Herman and Mildred Crown Room, can seat more than 900. The building is filled to the brim, with not only spiritual and emotional memories, but also physical artifacts of Beth Emet’s commitment to Judaism, Israel, and our community.

About Our Building

Magen David

Donated by Esther Keegan

Outside the building, to the east of the Sanctuary entrance, hangs a metal sculpture of a Magen David. Donated by congregant Esther Keegan, it remains a visible symbol of Judaism to the Evanston community.

Sanctuary Entrance

Designed by Walter Sobel

As you walk into the building through the Sanctuary entrance you will notice two archways of brick and a brick floor. These bricks were saved from the old mansion that once stood on the Beth Emet property. Walter Sobel, the architect who designed the Sanctuary, included these bricks in the original design, built in 1963. The bricks also represent where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr stayed after speaking to the community in 1958, his first speech in Chicago.

Torah Scrolls

Created by Ina Golub

Our Torah scrolls and covers are the greatest symbols of our sacred space. The Torah scrolls were donated in 1985 and the Torah covers, which give kavod (respect) to the Torah are modeled after garments of the High Priests in the time of the Temple. Each of our Torah covers was created uniquely for Beth Emet by renowned fiber artist Ina Golub. The Hebrew written across the covers spells out the following key phrase about God in the Torah:

“Adonai, Adonai, a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.”

Exodus 34:6–7

Ner Tamid

Eternal Light

Above our Ark is the Ner Tamid, the eternal light. The Ner Tamid dates back to the original Sanctuary. It is in the shape of an aleph, which stands for or (light) and represents Elohim, God’s presence in the Sanctuary.

The trellis that hangs above the bimah (the pulpit) represents a chuppah (a canopy), which traditionally is used in Jewish weddings. A chuppah symbolizes hospitality for one’s guests, and this trellis embodies the notion that the Sanctuary is our spiritual home.

Beth Emet is proud to have in its possession a sacred Torah from the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. First housed in Temple Judea Mizpah in 1967, the Sefer Torah is one of the 1,564 Czech Memorial Sifre Torah saved in Prague during the Nazi occupation from 1939-1945. On loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London, this Torah is proudly displayed in our Sanctuary. At every Kabbalat Mitzvah ceremony, our families pass it Dor L’dor, from Generation to Generation.

In November 2021, we dedicated a new Torah Mantle for our Torah scroll that shows the despair of the Holocaust and the hope that emerged afterwards. We thank Jerri Zbiral for the design and making the Torah mantle with assistance from Alan Teller and Peter Sis, and David & Sharon Kessler who generously dedicated the mantle in memory of Dr. Harry & Susan Kessler under the guidance of Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler. Also special thanks to the Sifrei Torah Task Force for its support for the project.

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