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.

Embracing Holiness Small

Yearly Theme 5774

At the midpoint of the Book of Leviticus in Chapter 19, we find not only the exact center point of the Torah, but also the spiritual heart of the Torah. “Kedoshim tihiyu,” God calls to the Jewish people. “You (plural) shall be holy.” In Torah, there’s usually a chain of communication from God through Moses to the People of Israel, but here God calls out to the entire community directly, with no intermediary. Holiness is so central to Judaism that God communicates to everyone, not just the priests and leaders; holiness is incumbent upon each individual. Yet, holiness in our modern, secular age can seem off-putting, even daunting. You may ask, “Why would I want to be holy? Could I possibly be holy even if I wanted to?” This year, we will explore together these questions and the vast Jewish literature on holiness to better understand the concept of holiness and how we might embrace it in our lives. Leviticus 19 contains some very concrete examples of how to lead a holy life (some of which are found in the 10 Commandments). They include how we should care for our own souls and our relationship with Divinity. Equally important, holiness addresses how we treat and interact with other human beings. We will explore both aspects of holiness and how they interconnect and influence each other. For purposes of our annual theme, I have translated kedoshim tihiyu as embracing holiness. God tells us to be holy, but it’s up to each of us to embrace this commandment. We delved into the concept of holiness throughout the year.

Some highlights included our fourth Friday Shabbat speaker series as well as our scholars-in-residence this year:

Rabbi Estelle Frankel  psychotherapist and author of the book Sacred Therapy, worked with us through worship and study to explore the Kabbalistic notion of planes of consciousness with which we relate to God. This weekend was jointly sponsored with JRC.

Embracing Holiness Amidst Diversity: Our Jewish Experience in an Interfaith World with Jodi Bromberg, President of InterfaithFamily.com.

Rabbi Noam Katz composer and performer of Jewish music, led us in worship and taught us how Jewish music and prayer can nurture our holiness.

Rabbi Rachel Cowan, former executive director of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, talked about the curriculum she developed on “Wise Aging” and will guided us in one of the sessions.

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  • Virtual Beth Emet

    UPDATED MARCH 31

    Coming Soon

    Bedtime meditation Wednesday and Thursday nights with Rabbi London and Sarina Elenbogen-Siegel. Watch Facebook and the website for forthcoming details. 
    Beth Emet Annual Meeting
    Monday...

  • Service of prayer, music and reflection

    On March 14th, Rabbi Andrea London (Beth Emet), Reverend Michael Kirby (Northminster Presbyterian Church), Pastor Daniel Ruen (Grace Lutheran Church), Pastor Jessica Gregory (Northminster Presbyterian Church), L...

 

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.

  • Sneak Preview
    Wednesday, April 1, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Beth Emet
    “We Cried Power,” a compelling documentary by filmmaker Dara Kell, tells the story of a bold new social movement to end poverty in the United States. Insp...

  • CANCELED Wednesday, March 18 at 1:00 p.m.
    Join the discussion at our monthly book club! The next book is Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. Books are available for pick up at Beth Emet. No need to RSVP.

    No fee or advan...

  • A Close Look at Torah

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Fridays, through June 12 | 9:30 a.m. - 10:35 a.m. (No class April 10, and May 15)
    Friday, March 27 via Zoom (or call 312-626- 6799 Meeting ID: 657 819 679)

    There are many ways to interpret Torah and th...

  • Thursdays, 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 B’nei Mitzvah at Beth Emet...

  • with David Zarefsky
    On March 18, watch via Zoom (click link)

    Wednesdays, March 18 and May 20 | 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    A continuing lecture-discussion class on contemporary public issues of interest to Jews as citizens. We will focus...

  • CANCELED Sunday, March 29 | 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Join us at the Illinois Holocaust Museum for a customized tour that will complement the panel discussion at Beth Emet on March 11. (Attendance at the March 11 program is not r...

  • with Jesse Rosenberg
    Mondays, April 13 and 27 | 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Viz Zoom (or call 312-626-6799 Meeting ID: 214 583 753)
    The persecution and mass murder of the Jewish population of Europe by the government of the Third Reich h...

  • with Rabbi Michael Balinsky
    Friday, April 3 | 9:45 – 11:15 a.m. via Zoom 
    (or call 312-626-6799 Meeting ID: 454 365 822)

    Although the Reform movement is steeped in ritual/mitzvah expressions, it does not define itself as a hal...

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