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.

sanctuary logo for web min

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 anomaly. Instead of telling the Israelites to create a sanctuary so God can dwell within it, the wording suggests that the dwelling may be among the people, or within them, suggesting that God can live within us rather than exclusively in a physical sanctuary. This year at Beth Emet we’ll explore the multiples meanings of sanctuary—as physical space to gather as a community for prayer, as spiritual space where we feel safe and whole, and as an attitude that is welcoming and accepting of everyone.

Rabbi Andrea London introduced this year's Sanctuary theme on Kol Nidre with her sermon, And I Will Dwell Among Them (Listen | pdfRead). The theme followed though to the next morning where during the Yom Kippur Chavurah Service, Beth Emet teens reflected on their recent border immersion trip to El Paso (Listen | Read). During the Yom Kippur Traditional Service, fellow Evanston Clergy, Pastor Daniel Ruen and Pastor Michael Nabors, spoke about their experiences and hopes for Evanston being a Sanctuary city (Listen). 

This weekly e-mail project, curated by David and Ellen Barish, allows congregants to express themselves in any of a variety of media: speechmaking, poetry, essay, story, photography, film, paint, sculpture, printmaking, textile, sound or music. If you'd like to contribute, please email Ellen and/or David.

June 1 -  The Sanctuary of Music, Myra Shneider and Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman
May 25 - A Sanctuary of Sacred Space, Rabbi Peter Knobel
May 18 - Finding Sanctuary from Within, Dan Kaplan
May 11 - Sanctuary: Serving the Soul, Fay Lipschultz
May 4 - Poetry as Sanctuary, Dina Elenbogen
April 27 - The Irony of Sanctuary, Letitia Mann 
April 20 - A Lesson About Home in a Class About the Holocaust, Miriam Ben Yoseph
April 13 - Embraced by Sanctuary, Judy Aronson
April 6 - Oh Lord Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary, Deborah Siegel
March 16 - A Safe HavenA Safe Haven, Louise Motel
March 9 - Sanctuary Through the Eyes of ChildrenSanctuary Through the Eyes of Children
March 2 - "Sanctuary" performed by Celeste Kellogg
February 23 - Sanctuary as Soup KitchenSanctuary as Soup Kitchen, Jessie Macdonald
February 16 - Sanctuary Between Heart and SouSanctuary Between Heart and Soul, Alden Solovy
February 9 - Sanctuary for the SoulSanctuary for the Soul, a conversation between Jonathan Yenkin and Sue Nadel
February 2 - Audacious HospitalityAudacious Hospitality, Julie Schrager, Emily Dana, Michael Orenstein
January 26 - A Moving SanctuaryA Moving Sanctuary, Susan Fisher
January 19 - Some Thoughts on SanctuarySome Thoughts on Sanctuary, Alice Segal
January 12 - A Port in a StormA Port in a Storm, Charolette Jaffe
January 5 - The Sanctuary of CommunityThe Sanctuary of Community, Jackie Berman
December 29 - An Improbable SanctuaryAn Improbable Sanctuary, Roger Price
December 22 - Simple SanctuarySimple Sanctuary, Nina Kavin
December 15 - A Moving TargetA Moving Target, Jerri Zbiral
December 8 - A Sanctuary of People, Places, and ThingsA Sanctuary of People, Places, and Things, Laura Miller
December 1 - Finding Sanctuary in Declaring our SolidarityFinding Sanctuary in Declaring our Solidarity, Alan Teller
November 24 - The Sanctuary in SongThe Sanctuary in Song, Sarina Elenbogen-Siegel
November 17 - Jewish and SafeJewish and Safe, Marilyn Price
November 10 - Love is a SanctuaryLove is a Sanctuary, Ellen Frank-Miller
November 3 - Sanctuary, WithinSanctuary, Within, Barbara Stock
October 27 - A Penny for Your ThoughtsA Penny for Your Thoughts, David Barish
October 20 - A Living TabernacleA Living Tabernacle, Ellen Blum Barish
October 13 - Sanctuary: Where God DwellsSanctuary: Where God Dwells, Rabbi Andrea London 




  • Virtual Beth Emet


    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

  • 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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