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 Tzedakah Committee will continue to provide grants to eligible and deserving non-profits. The filing deadline for the fall 2021 award cycle is October 31. We encourage congregants to help charitable organizations with which they may be involved to submit grant applications for future grant cycles. Please complete this application form

Spring 2021

This spring, the Tzedakah Committee awarded five $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 322 grants totaling $140,764. The successful applicants are:

  • Literacy Works. Based in Chicago, its mission is to advance equity by providing a core of trained literacy tutors and other professionals to community organizations that focus on adult literacy and providing plain language workshops. The tzedakah grant will be used to support its clear language lab scholarship program for the benefit of organizations that have limited professional development budgets. 


  • Kaleidoscope. This organization, headquartered in Lod, Israel, promotes the spirit of diversity and develops skills of understanding and acceptance among Arabs and Jews living in Israel. Their mission is accomplished through student activities, professional training to school-based staffs, parent programming, and overseas programming in settings such as England, the U.S., and Germany. The tzedakah grant will be used to join 20 Jewish religious school teens in Akko with about the same number of Arab teens living in nearby Rama in an interactive nature day  overcome stereotypes and develop a mutual appreciation of diversity. 


  • Evanston Work Ethic Organization. This Evanston-based organization supports ETHS students from mostly low-to-mid income households in their pursuit of careers in vocational and technical trades. Evanston WE provides real-world work experience and prepares students to interact professionally with their colleagues and supervisors. The tzedakah grant will be used to support the annual summer internship experience for high school juniors by providing access to internships combined with training, coaching, and mentoring.


  • Community Animal Rescue Effort, Inc. The mission of this Skokie-based organization is to foster and support positive relationships between people and companion animals. CARE re-homes companion pets into safe homes, provides educational and counseling resources, and works to reduce overpopulation. The tzedakah grant will be used to purchase three wide-span, mobile, heavy-duty storage racks to improve the efficiency of CARE's pet food pantry. The pantry distributes donated supplemental nutrition and supplies to families in need.


  • Books & Breakfast. This Evanston organization partners with Evanston Township High School to promote justice, equality, and social well being among children of color and from low-income backgrounds by providing a before-school program that includes a healthy breakfast and academic support by trained volunteers and Northwestern under-graduate students. B&B also provides regular packages of books, school supplies, and essential items ranging from grocery gift cards to short-term rent assistance. This organization will use their tzedakah grant for general operating expenses.


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...




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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