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.

During these challenging times (and really always) there is a need to become more engaged in the issues of the day.  The purpose of the page is to hold the many ways to get involved, make our voices heard, and connect with other like minded Beth Emet members who have expressed interest as well.  Below you will find information which we hope you will bookmark and reference often.  Please take a moment to take a quick survey, and together we can make the world a better place.  For questions, please contact Bekki Harris Kaplan, Executive Director

Events

For more upcoming events, please check the main upcoming events page, latest edition of EmetMail,  or our Facebook page.

Local Involvement

Beth Emet Soup Kitchen

Connections for the Homeless
Contact: Sheryl Bartol

Interfaith Action of EvanstonInterfaith Action of Evanston
Produce MobileProduce Mobile
every other Tuesday, sponsored by the Interfaith Action of Evanston
Contact: Simon Anolick

Uniting Voices Team
The “Uniting Voices Team” is a part of “Evanston For All”, an effort spearheaded in November 2016 by the Evanston Interfaith Clergy Association to oppose hatred and bigotry. “Uniting Voices” seeks to counter the growing polarization in our society with dialog and activities that find common ground between diverse groups. So far, the team has explored various methods of non-violent communication using techniques of conflict resolution. The “Uniting Voices Team” is in the early stages of defining its goals and strategies.
Contact: Jessie McDonald

Evanston Protection Teams 
The Evanston Interfaith Clergy of Evanston have created "Evanston Protection Teams" to stimulate engagement of everyone in Evanston to support neighbors especially those who feel fearful of their immigration status or religious beliefs because of the Trump Administration's threats. Evanston prefers to be called a "welcoming community" with legislation from city council to support this claim. We aim to clarify that those threatened by illegal government behavior are welcome, not just protected.
Contact: Phil Bashook

Evanston Justice Team 
The Evanston Justice Team is a coalition of Evanston religious and community organizations to identify, prioritize and seek solutions to local social justice issues. It is one of a series of local justice teams organized by Open CommunitiesOpen Communities.

The coalition has called for creation of a citizens advisory board for the new equity position in the Evanston government (see Beth Emet news). Other issues currently under discussion are (1) whether there should be an independent citizens review board regarding the Evanston police and (2) the lack of sufficient of affordable housing in Evanston.

Volunteers will participate in considering issues as well as supporting campaigns for social justice.
Contact: Mark Schoenfield

Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA)
For over 50 years, JCUA has been as the Jewish voice for social justice in Chicago. Together with our members, we combat poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with our city’s diverse communities.
Contact Paul Peterson and Deana Kobrynski

Small Dialogue Group 
I’m seeking four mild-mannered, civically minded and concerned people to join me in a pilot project. I find myself troubled by the rancor, even hatred, that has accompanied our current national conversation. My interest is to initiate a conversation with a small number of similarly concerned people on “the other side.” My hope is to focus on the tone of the national debate, not its content, and see whether, in a small way, we could explore the rancor together and see whether and where that might take us. The goal is quite modest and purposefully not defined in a hard and fast way. Changing political opinions is not what I envision.
Contact: Allen Siegel

Open CommunitiesOpen Communities 
Open Communities is a leading voice for housing, economic and social justice in north suburban Chicago, working to promote inclusive communities that are welcoming to all. It provides services for homeowners in danger of foreclosure, landlord-tenant mediation, a testing program to fight discrimination by landlords, and an advocacy and organizing program, the Justice Project, that supports volunteer Justice Teams, currently organizing in Evanston, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Highland Park, and Park Ridge. These teams work on issues such as affordable housing, services for the disabled, seniors, and at risk youth, protection of immigrants and other issues. 
Contact: Ted Smukler

Get Involved

If you are an attorney interested in providing pro bono legal assistance to refugees, there is an opportunity for you to help immediately. The International Refugee Assistance Project is looking for attorneys who are willing to work pro bono shifts at the international airports to assist refugees arriving in the U.S. today, tomorrow, and in the coming days. Click here for more.

Jewish Council on Urban AffairsJewish Council on Urban Affairs - For over 50 years, JCUA has been as the Jewish voice for social justice in Chicago. Together with our members, we combat poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with our city’s diverse communities.

Open CommunitiesOpen Communities is a leading voice for housing, economic and social justice in north suburban Chicago, working to promote inclusive communities that are welcoming to all.

Religious Action CenterReligious Action Center - For more than 50 years, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (or "the RAC") has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in Washington, D.C. As the DC office of the Union for Reform Judaism, the RAC educates and mobilizes the Reform Jewish community on legislative and social concerns, advocating on more than 70 different issues, including economic justice, civil rights, religious liberty, Israel and more. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the RAC's advocacy work is completely non-partisan and pursues public policies that reflect the Jewish values of social justice that form the core of our mandate.

Bend the ArcBend the Arc - Bend the Arc is building the power and passion of the progressive Jewish movement in America by bringing together Jews from across the country to advocate and organize for a more just and equal society. 

It is the only national Jewish organization that is focused solely on promoting these values here in the U. S. Two community meeting shave been held in the Chicago area. Work groups have been established along three distinct strategies:
• Supporting endangered populations-- Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ communities
• Encouraging Democrats and approachable Republicans to resist the Trump agenda
• Working for a shift in power by mobilizing for the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Contact: Judy Caplan

HazonHazon - Hazon works to create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond.  Hazon programs are multi-generational and give entry points for Jews of all backgrounds who are concerned about the environment and the world. Hazon serves a national and international population; members of every denomination and those who are unaffiliated; intergenerational from children to seniors – including families and singles, with a particular focus on young adults interested in developing the skills to take on leadership roles in their communities and make a difference in the world.

Send an Email, Postcard, or Letter

T’ruahT’ruah – Send a message to the President that American Jews oppose executive orders that effectively close our borders to refugees and Muslims, mandate the construction of a border wall with Mexico, and threaten cities that have declared themselves a sanctuary for immigrants.

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  • Celebrate & Commemorate - BE@70


    January 10-12, 2020


    For 70 years, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue has created a community uniquely open to diverse understanding and expression of what it means to be a Jew.

    For 70 years, we have inspired and challe...

 

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.

  • with Khane-Faygl Turtletaub
    Wednesday, November 20 | 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    You have told Jewish jokes and you have heard Jewish jokes. This class will explore what makes a joke Jewish, and what makes a Jewish joke funny.
    Me...

  • Adults and Kids Night Out at Beth Emet


    Saturday, December 7 | 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

    Last year's Adults and Kids Night Out at Beth Emet events were such a hit that we're doing it again!

    The evening begins with Havdalah together in the Lobby, then, we'll spli...

  • November 1 - December 8

    Cleaning out your closet this fall? Consider helping our Soup Kitchen guests stay warm this winter by donating your gently used coats, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots. Please make sure pock...

  • Ivrit with Ronit

    With Ronit Levy
    Wednesdays, October 23 - November 18 | 4:30-5:30 p.m.

    A fun afternoon Hebrew class for children ages 4-6. Learn Hebrew through songs, games, dance, snack, yoga and more.

    $10 per session. Please co...

  • Celebrate & Commemorate - BE@70


    January 10-12, 2020


    For 70 years, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue has created a community uniquely open to diverse understanding and expression of what it means to be a Jew.

    For 70 years, we have inspired and challe...

  •  Thinking about keeping your slate clean after Yom Kippur? Want a Jewish way to deepen your focus on your speech, behavior, and ideas? Looking to connect to people in meaningful ways? You may be looking for tikkun m...

  • Beth Emet Book Club


    facilitated by Judith Pittel
    Count to a Thousand: Negotiating life as an American in modern-day Israel 
    with author Caroline Goldberg Igra
    Wednesday, November 20 at 1:00 p.m. 
    Count to a Thousand tells the story of an A...

  • Thursdays,  November 21, December 12, 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...

  • facilitated by Mark Schoenfield
    Wednesday, November 6 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and repeated Friday, November 8 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Our brains take in and store huge amounts of sensory information. Part of the material stored un...

  • with David Shyovitz
    Fridays, December 13 and 20 | 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.
    The relationship between Christians and Jews has been marked by violence and mutual antagonism for much of the past 2000 years; but at the same time, Jews and ...

  • with David Zarefsky

    Tuesdays, November 12 and January 7 | 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    This is a continuing lecture-discussion class on contemporary public issues of interest to Jews as citizens. We will focus primarily on United States ...

  • Drumming for Self-Renewal

    with Linda Schneider
    Wednesdays, October 30 and December 11; 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

    Percussion offers hands-on, non-verbal access to the spiritual and emotional while connecting with others. Treat your mind, body, and spirit to a...

  • with Khane-Faygl Turtletaub
    Wednesday, November 20 | 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    You have told Jewish jokes and you have heard Jewish jokes. This class will explore what makes a joke Jewish, and what makes a Jewish joke funny.
    Member fee $...

  • Hebrew 1

    with Bluma Stoller
    Sundays, October 6 – May 10 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    (no class December 1, 22, 29, January 5, February 16, April 12)
    For learners with no or limited Hebrew language background. The aim of this class is to f...

  • Hebrew 2

    with Nancy Fink
    Sundays, October 6 – May 10 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    (no class December 1, 22, 29, January 5, February 16, April 12) 

    For learners already able to sound out Hebrew words. Improve your reading fluency. Explor...

  • Hebrew 3

    with Dorit Flatt
    Sundays, October 20 – May 10 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (no class December 1, 22, 29, January 5, February 16, April 12)
    For learners who have completed Hebrew 2 or an equivalent, including the basic ability t...

  •  Thinking about keeping your slate clean after Yom Kippur? Want a Jewish way to deepen your focus on your speech, behavior, and ideas? Looking to connect to people in meaningful ways? You may be looking for tikkun middot.

    Be...

  • The Planet in Peril—Study and Action

    with Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler
    Wednesday, November 13 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    Jewish values teach us that we are obligated to take steps to correct the damages of climate change. In the chapter, The Planet in Peril, from Reform J...

  • with Rabbi Michael Balinsky
    Fridays, November 15 and 22 | 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.

    Although the Reform movement is steeped in ritual/mitzvah expressions, it does not define itself as a halachic movement. However, halachah can help us ...

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