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.

Part of Beth Emet's social action mission has always been to be an active partner with people of other cultures, races and faiths. In keeping with that goal, we offer this list of resources you may find useful to explore. Check back periodically, as we will keep adding more titles.

Documentaries & Films

Body and Soul directed by Oscar Micheaux (1925)
Imitation of Life directed by Douglas Sirk (1959)
Shadows directed by John Cassavetes (1959)
Sapphire directed by Basil Dearden (1959)
Skin directed by Anthony Fabian (2009)
Little White Lie directed by Lacey Schwartz, James Adolphus (2014)
White People directed by Jose Antonio Vargas (2015)
The Interrupters directed by Steve James (2011)
Dope directed by Rick Famuyiwa (2015) (some sex and drugs, so not for more sensitive viewers)
Chi-Raq directed by Spike Lee (2015) (some sex and drugs, so not for more sensitive viewers)
A United Kingdom directed by Amma Asante (2016)
Loving directed by Jeff Nichols (2016)
The Birth of a Nation directed by Nate Parker (2016)
13th directed by directed by Ava DuVernay (2016)


The Sellout by Paul Beatty
The Sympathizer by Viet Nguyen
Drown by Junot Diaz
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Caucasia by Danzy Senna
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones
Serious Men by Manu Joseph
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange
Reuben by John Edgar Wideman
Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan A Stevenson
Colour Bar by Susan Williams
Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor
The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why by Jabari Asim
The Color of Water by James McBride
Black, White & Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self by Rebecca Walker
Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil by W.E.B. Du Bois
The Sweeter the Juice by Shirlee Taylor Haizlip
Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (essay and poetry)
We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family's Search for Home Across the Atlantic World by Mary Frances Berry
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to be Black Now by Touré
Post Black: How a New Generation is Redefining African American Identity by Ytasha L. Womack
Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving


How 'Privilege' Became a ProvocationHow 'Privilege' Became a Provocation by Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Magazine
• On the Death of Sandra Bland and Our Vulnerable Bodies• On the Death of Sandra Bland and Our Vulnerable Bodies by Roxane Gay, The New York Times
• Who Owns Black Pain? by Zadie Smith, Hapers Bazar

Interviews and websites

Ta-Nehisi Coates at the 2015 Chicago Humanities Festival
Shaka SenghorShaka Senghor  
Campaign ZeroCampaign Zero


The Longest Shortest Time episode #116: How to Not (Accidentally) Raise a RacistThe Longest Shortest Time episode #116: How to Not (Accidentally) Raise a Racist





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.

  • Lunch, Learn, Love
    A Social Action Committee Program for Kids (kindergarten to grade five)

    Sunday, January 19 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, this year's Beth Emet's annual family service even...

  • Monday, January 20 | 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church (516 Church Street, Evanston)

    On Martin Luther King’s National Day of Service, Walk for Warmth will raise funds for operating the Emergen...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  •  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...

  • 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 ...

  • with Yvette Alt Miller
    Thursday, January 23 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    Shabbat dinner includes some beautiful but puzzling rituals. Why do we make a blessing over wine? Why hide the challah under a cloth? This multi-sensory workshop ex...

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