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
Connections for the Homeless
Contact: Sheryl Bartol
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 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 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
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 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 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 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 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
Hazon - 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’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.