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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.

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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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 Close Look at Torah

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Fridays, October 20- June 8 (No class November 24, 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 tha...

  • With Rabbi Andrea London

    Shabbat,  November 11, December 16, January 20, February 3, March 10, April 14, 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'...

  • with David Zarefsky
    Tuesday,  January 9 | 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Sessions are expected to focus on the place of the United States in the world, including relationships with Israel, the nature of the social contract, and the prin...

  • with David Zarefsky
    Thursdays, November 30 and December 7, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    Would you like to enhance your worship experience through greater understanding of its content and form? This two-session class designed for
    beginners w...

  • with Esther Fox
    Friday, December 8, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    Longtime congregants Ada Golbus and Esther Fox are familiar faces at Beth Emet programs, classes, and events. Join us as Esther shares the world of untold changes that occur...

  • Jewish Mindfulness Meditation

    with the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot
    Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Emet (please note this class will NOT meet: April 4, April 11, April 18, May 30, and July 4)

    Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, or o...

  • One Jewish Evanston Rosh Chodesh Kislev


    Sunday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m. at JRC (303 Dodge, Evanston)

    The program will feature both liberal and traditional Rosh Chodesh morning services, some great learning, and a delicious catered kosher brunch. Special guest ...

  • with Rabbi Peter Knobel

    Fridays October 20 - April 13 | 8:00 – 9:00 a.m (No class, November 24, December 29, January 5, March 30, & April 6)

    This year we will continue reading Tractate Avodah Zarah, which deals with idolatr...

  • with Barry Scott Wimpfheimer
    Fridays, December 8 and 15, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    The Talmud began as an oral text, the byproduct of ancient rabbinic learning practices. By choice it remained oral, long after writing technology ...

  • with Sam Polsky
    Tuesday, November 28, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    A flavorful and elegant terrine of (gefilte) fish, a succulent brisket preparation using the professional sous vide cooking method, and an
    oven baked chicken that tastes lik...

  • with Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
    Fridays, November 17 and December 1, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    For ages, stories about the prophets Elijah and Nathan have figured in Jewish observance and their deeds have inspired and formed Jewish ...

  • with Rabbi Daniel Azulay
    Tuesdays, October 24 through December 12, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    We will engage in conversational Yiddish, the language that was spoken in the home. On occasion we will refer to written material as well. The...

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