Looking for volunteers or know of other opportunities? Contact Bekki Kaplan or call her at 847-869-4230 x 304
Creating the world we want by acting on our values and supporting just policies
Behind every problem facing society, there is a policy solution. Working to achieve policies that promote justice, compassion, and respect is the focus of the Advocacy Committee. Our work includes an array of actions – calling, emailing, texting, attending public actions, visiting elected representatives to speak on behalf of legislation that promotes justice and behaving with respect and fairness for all.
We work in partnership with other Reform congregations through RAC-IL and with the broader Jewish community as members of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA).
Regardless of what problem – gun violence, environment, homelessness, caring for new arrivals, abortion access, anti-queer and gender efforts, or something else – there is a role for you. It is a place where you can exercise your power for the good.
Contact Judy Caplan
Providing a little something sweet during both challenging and exciting times.
Whether one is recovering from an illness, moving into a new home, or is sitting Shiva, we can all use a little sweetness. If you like to bake, have made an extra pan of brownies, cookies, or quick breads, or looking for something easy to contribute, we are looking to stock our freezer to be delivered when needed. Looking for organizers to lead this effort by arranging for bakers and deliveries.
Contact: Bekki Kaplan
Working towards ending homelessness one person at a time
Beth Emet has a strong partnership with the work of Connections for the Homeless, a local organization that strives to prevent homelessness through financial assistance to households facing eviction, provide emergency shelter for people in crisis, secure permanent housing for individuals and families, and organize the community through advocacy efforts. Through volunteer opportunities, there are many ways in which to get involved in this important work. Check out their website.
Contact Jeff Forgash and Sheryl Bartol for more information
Serving dinner to warm the soul as well as the stomach
Every day, A Just Harvest provides a healthy meal to more than 150 people in the Howard Area community. Beth Emet continues a 35-year tradition begun at Temple Judea Mizpah, preparing and serving lunch on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Just Harvest also operates a food pantry and other economic activities to build community in the Howard area neighborhood.
Contact Michelle Oxman
Bringing the Warmth of Shabbat Dinners to Our Community
Would you like to share your delicious cooking with others? Are you better behind the wheel? Every Friday, one volunteer for Shabbat Connections prepares and brings a Shabbat meal to Beth Emet. Another volunteer picks up the meal and delivers it to someone in our Beth Emet family in a time of need or transition. Whether you would like to regularly participate in doing this mitzvah, or lend a hand once or twice a year, we’d love your help. It’s also a fabulous way to meet other Beth Emet members. Financial support is available to offset food expenses.
Contact Arlene Berke or Kathy Kaberon
Honoring the Deceased
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.
Feeding the Hungry with Respect and Love
For more than 20 years the Rabbi Peter and Elaine Knobel Soup Kitchen at Beth Emet has served dinner every Wednesday evening. We need Committee members to help manage and coordinate these ongoing efforts and volunteers to help prepare and serve meals, bake nut-free desserts, join the clean-up team, serve as hallway monitors, share their musical talents with our guests, and assist with the annual December coat drive.
Learn More about the Soup Kitchen
Get Involved with the Soup Kitchen. Not Sure How? There are A Lot of Ways to Step Up!
Contact the Soup Kitchen to volunteer.
Sharing a D'Var Torah (Sermon) with the Community
Following the Torah reading at Kahal Shabbat morning services, a member of the clergy, Director of Lifelong Learning or a member of the community offers a D’var Torah (sermon) and questions for the community to discuss.
Whether you’re a seasoned leader or wish to learn (you’re welcome to meet with the rabbi as you prepare), we would love to learn from and with you.
Contact: the office
Be the Welcoming Presence
A great way to meet others in others in the congregation is by ushering for Shabbat services. Offering a “Shabbat Shalom,” ensuring that everyone has a siddur (prayer book), and making sure everyone feels welcome & included is an important part of building a community.
Contact: Bekki Kaplan
Leading Kaddish for Those in Mourning
When a member of our community experiences a loss, Shiva Minyan volunteers offer comfort and support by leading services in the homes of mourners. This rewarding volunteer opportunity is for you if you are comfortable leading a Shiva service or are interested in learning.
Contact Bekki Kaplan to request a minyan leader. If you have experience leading a Shiva minyan or are interested in being trained to become a minyan leader, contact Diane Weil or Jack Levie.
For Crochet and Knitting Lovers
Know how to knit and/or crochet?
As a tribute to Nikki Zarefsky z”l, join us for an hour (on zoom) of knitting and connecting as we create shawls to warm people during services and/or healing shawls that will bring warmth to those in need in a hospital, home, or other settings.
Newcomers are welcome and encouraged to join!
Contact: Beth Emet Soul Stitchers
Reading Torah and Learning Cantillation
Chant Torah? Care to learn trope (cantillation)?
At our weekly Kahal Shabbat morning service Torah is read by a member of the community. Add your name to the list of those who are interested in reading. And if you wish to learn, check out our Adult Programming classes.
Contact the office to sign up for a Torah reading for Shabbat or offer to read Torah for the Holidays.
Supporting those who face challenging times, when we need to lean on the strength of our community most of all.
With the focus on our collective responsibility to care for one another, together we can build and nourish caring relationships within our community. There are many ways in which we can do this, including check-in phone calls, sending cards or notes, offering home visits or meals for those who are ill or grieving and/or arranging transportation to Beth Emet events/services. If you are interested in being a part of creating this initiative, let us know! It’s one way in which to put our values into action.
Contact Bekki Kaplan.