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.

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The Beth Emet Tzedakah Committee administers the Tzedakah Grant program and participates in other activities that promote righteous giving and doing such as food drives and encourages Beth Emet member families to give tzedakah as a regular part of their daily lives.  For more Tzedakah Committee information, please contact Barry Isaacson


Donate directly to the Tzedakah Fund here.

The purpose of the Beth Emet Tzedakah Fund is to support causes, organizations, and projects that promote justice, equality, and social well being. The fund is used as the source for grants to organizations that address problems of basic human needs through:

  1. Social Service. By giving relief to those who are in need and helping victims of violence or injustice; and

  2. Social Action. By educating the public, influencing public policy and advocating social change.

Any not-for-profit organization that meets specified requirements is eligible to submit a grant request. Requests may come to the Committee directly from the requesting organization, through another synagogue committee, from a synagogue professional (rabbi, cantor, education director, administrator), or from individual synagogue members representing the organization. The organization, committee, or individual sponsoring the request must use the Tzedakah Grant Application Form and must supply all the information requested on the form. The Tzedakah Committee conducts two formal Tzedakah Fund collections each year in the spring and fall.

The next Grant Application due date is March 31, 2021. Click here to fill out the Spring 2021 Grant Application.


Fall 2020

This fall, the Tzedakah Committee awarded three $500 grants to deserving non-profit organizations that best exemplify Beth Emet’s social justice core values of righteousness and justice; love of one’s neighbors and for the stranger; compassion; kindness; and, hospitality. Since 1987, thanks to the Congregation’s continued generosity, the Tzedakah Committee has awarded 317 grants totaling $138,264. The successful applicants are:

Evanston Present and Future. Located in Evanston, this organization’s mission is to educate and empower individuals, families, and the community with a focus on minorities and others facing prejudice and discrimination. The tzedakah grant will be used to help fund this organization's Teen Parent Leadership program with the goal of serving 20 teen parents. This program seeks to improve the lives of teen parents through education and entrepreneurial assistance, mentoring, and literacy and leadership skill-building while working to prevent unplanned teen pregnancy.

Young, Black & Lit. The mission of this Evanston organization is to increase access to children's books featuring Black characters. They do this by partnering with local schools and organizations serving low-income children to provide, for free, new books for children in pre-K through 8th grade. The tzedakah grant will be used for their "Lit Year" program. Working with six participating District 65 schools, this organization will, through this program, ship one book per month to the homes of every kindergartner who qualifies for the free/reduced lunch program for the entire school year plus an additional five books at the end of the school year.

The Talking Farm. The mission of this urban farm, headquartered in Skokie, is to cultivate healthy, sustainable communities by supporting the production and appreciation of locally grown food. This organization operates a working farm on Howard Street in Skokie and partners with various local organizations (ETHS, Y.O.U.) to provide learning and educational opportunities. Since 2009, The Talking Farm has partnered with ETHS to convert an empty lot across from the high school into a 5,000 square foot organic garden and another nearby area which includes the school's greenhouse and which provides learning experiences and five summer jobs for students and produces 2,500 pounds of fresh produce for use in the school cafeteria.

The Tzedakah Committee will continue to provide grants to eligible and deserving non-profits beginning with the spring 2020 grant cycle with an application deadline of March 31. The Committee encourages congregants to continue to deposit contributions into their personal tzedakah boxes or consider donating by check (to Beth Emet with “Tzedakah Grant” written on the memo line) or credit card. (See the link above.) We also encourage congregants to help charitable organizations they may be involved with to submit grant applications for future grant cycles.

Previous Tzedakah Fund Grantees

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  • Rabbi Andrea C. London

    Rabbi Andrea London is a nationally recognized Jewish leader who has served at Beth Emet since 2000 and was named the congregation’s Senior Rabbi in July 2010. Rabbi London is deeply engaged in all aspects of congregational...

  • Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler

    Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, D.D. became a rabbi because of her love of Judaism and desire to teach others, share in their spiritual journey and make the world a better place than we found it.

    She joined Beth Emet in the Fall...

  • Cantor Rabbi Kyle Cotler

    Kyle comes from a long line of Jewish music – his great-grandfather was a Chazzan in Russia; his grandfather, Ted, served in Ventura; and his father, Doug, is currently the cantor at Or Ami in Calabasas. Kyle studied at the...

  • Rabbi Peter S. Knobel z"l

    Rabbi Knobel was rabbi emeritus at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois where he served since 1980, following 11 years at Temple Emanu-El in Groton, Connecticut.  He served as the Interim Senior Rabbi of Templ...

  • Bekki Harris Kaplan

    Bekki Harris Kaplan joined Beth Emet's professional team in July 2001 after working as the Associate Executive Director and Membership Director at Temple Sholom of Chicago. In addition to supervising the functioning of Beth...

  • Marci Dickman

    Marci Dickman joined Beth Emet in July, 2009 with more than 25 years of experience in Jewish education. Marci serves as the Director of Lifelong Learning, acting as the Principal of Beit Sefer and overseeing our Early Child...

  • Kathy Kaberon

    Kathy Kaberon is Beth Emet's Director of Young Family Programs. She has been an administrator in Beth Emet's Early Childhood Program for the past 10 years. Her affiliation with the program began in 1988, when she enrolled h...

  • Maia Volk

    Maia Volk joined Beth Emet in July 2018 as the Director of Youth Programs, overseeing the formal and informal education of Beth Emet youth.  Maia grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent her summers as a camper and staff at...




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.

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