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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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  • Kol Emet Shabbat & Honoring Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman

    Friday, May 4
    Hearty Oneg Shabbat at 6:45 p.m.
    Shabbat Service at 7:30 p.m. (Please note special time)
    During Kol Emet Shabbat, we will be honoring our musical leader, Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman to and wish her well...

  • BESSY Kabbalat Shabbat Service & Honoring Abby Backer


    Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m.
    (5:45 p.m. Shabbat Oneg)
    Beth Emet's Senior Synagoge Youth Group (BESSY), our peer-led school youth group, hosts a special service filled with music and reflections. During this annual ser...

  • Travel to Israel with Beth Emet & Second Baptist Church

    Members from both Second Baptist Church and Beth Emet Synagogue will travel together to Israel and the West Bank November 18-30, 2018. Palestinian and Jewish guides will introduce us to the complex narratives and ...

  • Sanctuary - 5778

    In Exodus 25:8, God says to Moses, “Create for me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them.” These words set the building of the Tabernacle into motion. But the verse’s ending has an interesting grammatical anomal...

 

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 Project of the Religious Action Center (RAC)
    Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Chicago Sinai Congregation (15 W. Delaware Place, Chicago) featuring Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of RAC

    Reform IL, a project of the...

  • Stand with Beth Emet


    Friday, April 27 

    2:00-2:25 p.m.

    Participate with Beth Emet at the annual YWCA Stand Against Racism. We'll gather along Ridge Avenue from 2:00 to 2:25 pm to take our place as we stand along the corner of Dempster an...

  • Kol Emet Shabbat & Honoring Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman

    Friday, May 4
    Hearty Oneg Shabbat at 6:45 p.m.
    Shabbat Service at 7:30 p.m. (Please note special time)
    During Kol Emet Shabbat, we will be honoring our musical leader, Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman to and wish her well...

  • Explorations of Our Changing Selves

    Monday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m.

    Audrey Thompson, Ombudsman for the City of Evanston, will facilitate a discussion on the nuts and bolts of aging.  Audrey is approachable and knowledgeable about the services available ...

  • DATE CHANGE!
    Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Reception at 7:00 p.m. (please note the date has changed from Monday, March 26)

    Learn more about the state of the congregation from Rabbi London, President Ross Bricker, a...

  • BESSY Kabbalat Shabbat Service & Honoring Abby Backer


    Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m.
    (5:45 p.m. Shabbat Oneg)
    Beth Emet's Senior Synagoge Youth Group (BESSY), our peer-led school youth group, hosts a special service filled with music and reflections. During this annual ser...

  • Groundbreaking Ceremony & Kabbalat Shabbat Service

    Friday, May 18
    5:00 p.m. - Savory Hors d'oeuvres, Delicious Desserts and Festive Beverages
    6:00 p.m. - Groundbreaking Ceremony and Lighting of Shabbat Candles
    6:30 p.m. - Kabbalat Shabbat Service followed by Kiddush ...

  • Travel to Israel with Beth Emet & Second Baptist Church

    Members from both Second Baptist Church and Beth Emet Synagogue will travel together to Israel and the West Bank November 18-30, 2018. Palestinian and Jewish guides will introduce us to the complex narratives and ...

  • A Close Look at Torah

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Fridays, October 20- June 8 (No class December 8, 22, & 29, January 12 & 26, March 30, April 6)
    9:30 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.
    There are many ways to interpret Torah and the nuances of meaning that are often o...

  • With Rabbi Andrea London

    Shabbat, March 10, May 12, June 9
    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 combine praye...

  • Drumming for Self-Renewal

    with Linda Schneider
    Wednesdays, April 18 and June 20 and Monday, May 14

    7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

    How would it feel to take a break from the regimen and “noise” of everyday life and instead focus on renewal of mind, body, and spir...

  • with Claire Sufrin
    Fridays, April 27, May 4 and 11, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    The Holocaust left many Jews with serious theological questions: Where was God while the Nazis tortured and murdered millions of Jews? Should (or could...

  • The Chosen People (Film and Discussion)

    with Marci Dickman
    Monday, April 30, 7:00 p.m.
    This wonderfully provocative film illuminates the complexities of Jewish identitytoday and probes the question of the chosen people as seen through the eyes ofJews and Christians...

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