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


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 October 31, 2020. Click here for the Fall 2020 Grant Application. 


Since 1987, thanks to the congregation’s generosity, the Tzedakah Committee has awarded 314 grants totaling $136,764. With the congregation's support of the Tzedakah Fund, including donating at twice-yearly tzedakah box collections, grants were awarded to the following organizations.  

Spring 2020

Literacy Works. Located in Chicago, this organization’s mission is to advance equity by promoting literacy education. To accomplish this mission, Literacy Works trains nearly 1,000 professionals and volunteer literacy tutors each year who, in turn, provide services to an estimated 10,000 adult learners most of whom are low-income and limited English proficient. This grant will be used to help fund a new financial literacy training series. This series will provide four financial literacy courses to adult literacy practitioners so that they can implement their own training to students within their programs.

Interfaith Action of Evanston. This organization brings people of diverse faiths and shared values together to serve hungry and homeless people, engages in advocacy, and promotes social justice. Major programs include a daily hospitality center, winter warming centers, four weekly soup kitchens, co-sponsorship of monthly, mobile food distribution, and an emergency overnight shelter (EOS). The grant will help fund an expansion of EOS capacity from 35 to 40 people and, in collaboration with Evanston’s Department of Health and Human Services, an alternate site during severe weather emergencies when more than 40 people seek shelter.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. For decades, St. Mark’s of Evanston has provided a welcoming place for the homeless and hungry by providing space for Interfaith Action’s hospitality center which is open Monday through Friday, 52 weeks per year. Last year, more than 1,300 guests received hospitality, including lunch, computer instruction, and job counseling. St. Mark’s intends to use the Tzedakah grant to help fund the repair and remodel of the hospitality center’s restrooms, including providing accessible space for their disabled clients.

Ani Shlishi. This organization, based in Tel Aviv and operated by former Beth Emet congregant, David Baskin, provides opportunities for self-advancement and meaningful employment to Israel’s at-risk Jewish and Arab young people. Ani Shlishi collects gently worn clothes for resale at two thrift store locations in Israel and provides staff with marketable retail and customer services skills. Sales revenue also funds vocational scholarships for its sales staff who have limited opportunities to learn a trade. The Tzedakah grant will be used to defray general operating expenses.

Youth Job Center. This Evanston-based organization provides in-school youth (in partnership with six area high schools, including ETHS) and out-of-school youth, with career and job counseling and connects young people to positive first job experiences with the goal of placing their clients on a career path toward economic self-sufficiency. The Youth Job Center will use the Tzedakah grant to defray general operating expenses.

Previous Tzedakah Fund Grantees

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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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