Since our founding in 1950, Beth Emet has been committed to the pursuit of social justice as an expression of our religious values guided by our scriptures and Jewish tradition. Our activities include direct service such as our weekly soup kitchen and P-DAT (Post Detention Accompaniment Team) which provides assistance to asylum seekers who have recently been released from detention; the disbursement of Tzedakah to local organizations through our Tzedakah Committee; education on social justice issues; marching and protesting; and advocacy for various policies and laws. Beth Emet partners with local and national Jewish organizations and works with interfaith partners. Our work is continually evolving to address the current needs of our local community and the society at large with the goal of alleviating suffering, raising awareness of injustice, and changing policies and attitudes in order to create a more just and compassionate world.
Are you looking for more ideas for some personal learning and growth? Please use the Racial Justice Resources page for recommendation from the Beth Emet Clergy and community members.
A note by Rabbi Andrea C. London in June 2020
I have written about the need for our continued work on racial justice. With what’s going on in the world, we feel a particular sense of urgency now, but I want to remind you that Beth Emet has a long history of this work which we have pursued for many years. We have been engaged in racial justice work both during times of heightened awareness and of relative quiet when the issue wasn’t on the front page of the newspaper or the dominant topic in our social media feed As many of you might recall, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Beth Emet in 1958 at a time when very few religious institutions would dare to host him, and Rabbi Polish marched in Selma with Dr. King. The pursuit of racial justice continued under the leadership of Rabbi Knobel who had a close relationship with Rev. Hycel Taylor who was the pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Evanston for many years. I will never forget Rabbi Knobel’s and Rev. Taylor’s leadership of the Evanston community in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. They brought the community together in prayer and remembrance. We now stand on the shoulders of the tremendous leadership that preceded us and continue to pursue justice and the elimination of racism in our society.
Things have been happening quickly, and we are working to disseminate information about protests and other actions in a timely manner. As things progress in the weeks to come, the best way to get the most up-to-date information about activities is on the Beth Emet Facebook page, my personal Facebook page, and the Beth Emet website. And when you attend an event—either in person wearing a face mask or at home—I encourage you to take pictures of yourself and write why this issue speaks to you. I’d like to collect these photos and thoughts so we can share them with each other. Please send to Bekki Kaplan.
I also want to remind you to take some time for spiritual and physical care. The issues we are facing are not new, and we will continue to address them in the future. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
With prayers for justice, peace, love and compassion.