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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  • Lox, Bagels, and Leaders

    Sunday, February 9 at 9:45 a.m. (Please note date change)
    This annual event features our Beth Emet member and neighbor, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Writer and Beth Emet member, Mark Caro; and Jon Marshall, a...

  • Beth Emet Community Retreat

    February 28-March 1, 2020
    After a five-year hiatus, Beth Emet’s Community Retreat is back and better than ever! Spend a relaxing weekend with friends and family in beautiful Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, celebrating Shabb...

 

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.

  • PJ Party!

    Saturday, February 8 at 4:30 p.m.
    Wear your PJ's for dinner, crafts, Havdalah, songs, and stories from PJ Library.
    Perfect for families with children ages 8 and under. 
    $5 per person or $20 per family by February 6...

  • Lox, Bagels, and Leaders

    Sunday, February 9 at 9:45 a.m. (Please note date change)
    This annual event features our Beth Emet member and neighbor, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Writer and Beth Emet member, Mark Caro; and Jon Marshall, a...

  • Sunday, February 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton-Orrington Hotel


    Beth Emet’s Soup Kitchen is a well-oiled machine, weekly feeding 70 to 120 of the area’s working poor and homeless. The Soup Kitchen, under the leaders...

  • with Susan Nussbaum
    Sunday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m.
    Susan Nussbaum, the writer/producer of Code of the Freaks, a soon to be released documentary film, will discuss how Hollywood’s depictions of characters with disabi...

  • Beth Emet Community Retreat

    February 28-March 1, 2020
    After a five-year hiatus, Beth Emet’s Community Retreat is back and better than ever! Spend a relaxing weekend with friends and family in beautiful Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, celebrating Shabb...

  • with Mike Kuhn
    Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. 

    Parent, spend an evening in the kitchen with others learning new tips, tricks, and recipes to make your loved ones breakfast items for dinner. There will be time to enjoy...

  • Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m.
    Cantor Kyle Cotler leads a spirit-ual evening and his passion for whiskey, rye, and kombucha by teaching tasting techniques and how best to describe their complex elements. There will ...

  • Wednesday, February 16 at 1:00 p.m.
    Join the discussion at our monthly book club! The next book is Book of the Unknown Americans” by Christina Henriquez. Books are available for pick up at Beth Emet. No need to RSVP...

  • A Close Look at Torah

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Fridays, February 14-June 12 | 9:30 a.m. - 10:35 a.m. (No class March 6, April 10, and May 15)
    There are many ways to interpret Torah and the nuances of meaning that are often overlooked. We will cont...

  • 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 Yvette Alt Miller
    Thursday, January 30 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    Whether you’re an expert baker or a challah newbie, this evening is for you! Learn how to make and braid challah and explore the meaning and mysticism behind this i...

  • with David Gottlieb
    Fridays, February 14 and 21 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    Sigmund Freud and Theodor Herzl lived on the same block in Vienna for two years in the early 1900s. Yet these men, so deeply influenced by
    European cultur...

  • Movie and discussion, led by Bekki Kaplan and Shlomit Hoch
    Saturday, February 1 | 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Rebecca Abarnabel, a single daughter born into an Orthodox Jewish family, is tired of the lifestyle that her father, Reuven...

  • Jewish Vaudeville

    with Alan Teller
    Sunday, February 23, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    Distinct from Yiddish theater, Jewish vaudeville had its own flavor. Alan Teller grew up with a larger-than-life grandfather in the business — a guy who pulled quarters ...

  • with Claire Suffrin
    Fridays, February 28 and March 6 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    This course will explore different aspects of the relationship between religion and literature in contemporary novels and poetry. We’ll consider exa...

  • with Rabbi Allan Kensky
    Fridays, January 24 and 31 | 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.
    This small book of the Bible, written in the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, expresses the anguish of the people at the calamity that ...

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