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Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | 20 Iyyar 5777

Walking on holy ground. That’s what Pastor Rosemary Sanchez-Guzman called it. She wasn’t speaking about the physical act of walking. She was talking about the act of listening—listening to the stories of people who have fled a host of dangerous conditions in Central America and crossed, illegally, into the United States.

The pastor’s audience was a group of 15 teenagers from our congregation, spending their spring break learning about immigration on America’s southern border. When she spoke of walking on holy ground, “Pastora,” as our teens came to know her, wanted to impress upon them the significance—the sanctity—of listening. And her audience got the message. They sat in rapt attention, leaning in, as a man who had arrived in the United States with his five-year old son began to recount, in Spanish, the story of his harrowing journey to the U.S., much of it on foot, across multiple national borders. The man also spoke of what it meant, after several weeks without a full night’s sleep, to experience the hospitality of Cristo Rey Lutheran Church, Pastora’s humble church in El Paso, Texas, which has taken on the housing of refugees as a central part of its mission.

We also heard from a man whose family fled northward with the help of coyotes, or smugglers after his teenage daughter was raped by gang members. After an arduous journey, they were detained in El Paso in inhumane conditions (including being kept without blankets in an air-conditioned cell and permitted a single burrito and one trip to the bathroom per day) until they were granted an asylum hearing date and permitted to leave the detention center.

These were just two of the stories we heard during our five days in El Paso. Our time at the border was part of a year-long program, led by our Youth Director Abby Backer, about immigration through a Jewish lens. To truly and honestly confront the immigrant and refugee experience, she reasoned, we needed to visit the U.S.-Mexico border ourselves. She was right.

During our stay, we lived with refugees in the church, sharing meals, prayers and—through translation—stories. We visited the district court in Las Cruces, New Mexico, traveled across the border to Juarez, Mexico, and had conversations with US border patrolmen, representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, immigrant and refugee services professionals, and an immigration attorney, among others.

We learned how the undocumented are at the mercy of employers who can withhold pay or overwork or abuse them, knowing that those without legal working papers will hesitate to report any abuse for fear of deportation. Because of our broken immigration system, undocumented immigrants often live in the shadows without basic rights enjoyed by American citizens.

During a year in which immigration issues have captured the attention of Americans, young and old, like no time in recent memory, our teens peppered those they met with questions. But they also listened as though they really did feel themselves to be walking on holy ground, as Pastora had said.

Although many undocumented immigrants and refugees live in our hometown (including a Syrian family that our congregation is sponsoring), none of us will forget the experience of being immersed for a week in a border town that is at the center of the storm, living in a church that has made it its mission to care for asylum seekers, and hearing personal stories of trauma night after night. The words of Leviticus 19 rang in our ears: When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall do them no wrong. The stranger shall be treated as the native born, and you shall love the stranger as you love yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Our teens returned home energized and determined to make a difference. They are organizing a public rally/prayer vigil this Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m. at Beth Emet to share what they have learned and to challenge our community to become a more welcoming and safer place for undocumented immigrants and refugees. To determine what is most needed, we are working with immigrant rights organizations in our area, as well as the Evanston Interfaith Clergy and Leaders, which has formed a Solidarity Response Team to protect the undocumented. Please join us!

On Pesach, we read this passage from the Book of Deuteronomy (26:5): “Arami oved avi,” often translated as “my father was a wandering Aramean.” But the line can also be understood as “An Aramean destroyed or disappeared my father.” (The New American Haggadah) The Aramean here is Laban, and “my father” is our forefather, Jacob, a stranger who is taken advantage of, tricked, and then forced into 20 years of service to Laban. Jacob is at the mercy of his master, not unlike the undocumented in America.

Through the trip to El Paso, our teens gained not just knowledge, but passion and determination to bring the issues of undocumented immigrants and refugees out of the shadows and into the light. We walked on holy ground in El Paso, and our teens are now asking others to do the same.


Rabbi Andrea London 

Around the Congregation
Welcome Wendi Kromash 
Judy Fine Eichner has decided to leave Beth Emet. We thank Judy for helping us launch the Capital Campaign and for her service and contributions to the synagogue.

We welcome the newest member to our staff, Wendi Kromash, who will serve as the Acting Director of Development, and will work focus her energies and enthusiasm on the next phase of the Capital Campaign, and lead our ongoing development efforts. Wendi has a broad based business and consulting background, and she worked most recently as the Communications and Marketing Manager for Hagerty Consulting. She brings a strong knowledge and solid experience in communications, project management, grant writing, and fundraising, which we hope to put to good use both with the Capital Campaign as well as with other areas of development within the Congregation. Wendi joined Beth Emet in 2014, and is already very familiar with the congregation. You can reach Wendi at wkromash@bethemet.org and/or by phone at 847-869-4230 ext 325.    

Immigration Community Action
Sunday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. at
Beth Emet
Our immigration system is in a dire state – families are being torn apart and there are 11 million undocumented people in our country living daily in fear with no accessible pathway to citizenship. We must join together to protect our communities and fight for the soul of our country. 

Listen to Beth Emet students’ reflections on their recent travels to the U.S./Mexico border; hear from clergy about what it means to be a sanctuary congregation and local immigration activists about what we can do to make a difference. Speakers include Rabbi Andrea London and Antonio Gutierrez, Organized Communities Against Deportation.
Musical Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. (5:45 p.m. Oneg Shabbat)
This Shabbat our Junior Choir will sing one last time this season as we will honor the service of our beloved Rabbi-in-Residence, Cindy Enger, as she will be moving to New York to take a position as Director of Rabbinical Placement of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. We will also celebrate soon-to-be cantor, Stefanie Greene, as she prepares to leave for Israel to attend Cantorial School. 
Tot Shabbat and Kiddush
Saturday, May 20 at 9:00 a.m.
If you haven't checked out Tot Shabbat, this is the week to to do it! After a joyous musical service, shmooze with our Rabbi and Cantor over lox, bagels, and coffee while the children play nearby! 
Visit Pushing the Envelope Farm: Jewish Sustainable Farming
with Trisha and Rabbi Fred Margulies
Sunday, May 21 |12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pushing the Envelope Farm is a 14-acre community farm and education center that fosters Jewish communal life by exploring Jewish agricultural traditions and contemporary ecological understanding.  Get ready to get your hands dirty, learn new skills, and relax in nature. Our visit will include a tour of the grounds, meeting farm animals, learning about organic farming and gardening, and much more. This farm visit is suitable for both adults and families.
We will leave Beth Emet at 12:30  p.m. and travel by bus to Geneva, Illinois where the farm is located.  We will return by 5:00 pm.  $10 transportation fee (please register).

God Loves the Stranger: a D'var Torah by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Friday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m. (5:45 p.m. Oneg Shabbat)
Beth Emet welcomes author, poet, and teacher Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg who will be reading from her new book, God Loves the Stranger. Using a blend of ancient and modern ideas, her book carves a clear pathway that enables us to learn how to love one another and create just societies. Through stories, blessings, poetry, divine teachings, and meditation exercise, Rabbi Weinberg conveys a single, powerful message: Let us not be strangers. God loves us all. God Loves the Stranger will be available to purchase in the office for $18. 

Tuesday, May 30 at 7:00 p.m. at Beth Emet
Shavuot, is a Hebrew word meaning "weeks" and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. To celebrate the holiday, we join forces with six other Jewish communities in Evanston for a night of worship and learning. The evening will feature, in addition to Shavuot evening services, a Tikkun Leil Shavuot (a series of learning sessions). View full schedule. Advance registration is required. For more information, please contact Dan Cederbaum or at 847-492-5200. 
Shavuot Morning Service including Yizkor
Wednesday May 31 at 10:00 a.m.
Babysitting is available with advance registration only by Friday, May 26. Email or call 847-869-4230 ext. 301. Please include name and age of the child(ren).
Kol Emet Shabbat
Friday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. (5:45 p.m. Shabbat Oneg)
This Shabbat of song honors the Kol Emet committee. The Beth Emet Adult Choir will sing the world premiere of Cantor Lindsay Kantor’s Hashkiveinu, commissioned by Kol Emet: the Jewish Music Project. Cantor Kantor will lead us in worship with melodies by Cantor Gerald Cohen, along with his remarks about his mentorship with her in writing Hashiveinu
Friday, June 16-Tuesday, June 20
Take a peek before Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday, June 16 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Beth Emet is is proud to host This Is Hunger, an interactive experience on wheels (literally, it’s a big rig!). When the 53-foot-long double expandable trailer is parked and open on both sides, it provides almost 1,000 square feet of interior space to take participants on a voyage of awareness and activism: to help them understand the stark reality of hunger in America and to spark their commitment to taking action that will help end hunger once and for all. This Is Hunger is free and open to the community. Reserve your tickets now. Volunteers are also needed for a variety of shifts to check-in guests. Contact Leslie Shulruff for details.
Catch up on past Divrei Torah
Catch up on recent sermons by Rabbi Andrea London and/or many other congregants and special guests on our soundcloud channel.
Beth Emet Community
Israel: Many Voices: Stories from and of the Land
Sunday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m. at the Chicago-North Shore Conference Center
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership hosts an entertaining afternoon of contemporary Chicago-area storytellers sharing personal experiences about Israel. Beth Emet congregant Dina Elenbogen is part of this community event. Details and tickets.
Kol Zimrah: Jewish Community Singers present Voices in Song III
Sunday, June 4 at 4:00 p.m. at Am Shalom (840 Vernon Avenue, Glencoe)
Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers presents this special concert featuring members of our Beth Emet Junior Choir, who will join other area youth choirs in the North Shore to sing in this concert featuring works by Janowski, Klepper, and more. Directed by Cantor Pavel Roytman, and features Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman and other Chicago-area cantors. For tickets and more information visit KolZimrah.org
Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute (NRCI) for Mental Health Education
Sunday, June 4
Beth Emet has supported NRCI since its inception sixteen years ago. Every year on the first Sunday in June, Beth Emet gladly opens its doors and welcomes hundreds of community members and mental health professionals to a day long program that centers on issues facing our communities today. 

Staff and members of Beth Emet will play an integral part in this day; Cantor Susan Friedman, Abigail Backer, and Kathy Kaberon will co-lead panels and discussions.To learn more  View the brochureVolunteers are needed throughout the day, please feel free to email Jill Randell  if you are interested or have any questions. 
Sunday, June 18
Beth Emet will field a team to participate in the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate. All members of the congregation are encouraged to attend this annual event that supports racial justice and violence prevention in our community. This is family friendly event, and casual walkers, competitive runners and everyone in between are invited to join the team and participate. The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University Men's Basketball Coach who, while walking with his two young children in 1999 was murdered by a white supremacist. Learn more.
Social Justice
Upcoming Social Justice Events
May 15 - May 30: March to Springfield; Advocate for better jobs, better schools, communities free of violence.  The first 7.5 miles on May 15 is from Thompson Center to Archer & Pulaski, for more information check website, www.marchtospringfield.org.

May 22, 7:00 pm; The Dual Challenges of Homelessness and Mental Health, talk sponsored by Interfaith Action at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1012 Lake St., Evanston.

May 23, 4:30-6:30 pm at the Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave.: Assisting Evanston’s Immigrant and Undocumented Community: panel discussion for direct service, health/welfare providers and educators. Contact Nina Kavin for more information: 

Thursday, June 8, 7:00- 9:00 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church:  The United Voices Team of Evanston 4All Presents: "Bridging the Relational Divide: Creating Constructive Conversations” Limit of 50 participants • $10 donation. Hosted by Suzanne J. Priebe, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director Samaritan Counseling Center.

View more upcoming Social Justice programs and resources
You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover/Evanston
Thursday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Dear Evanston is starting a bookclub! 
Meet new friends while reading and discussing books about social and racial justice in Evanston. Learn more
For more than 50 years, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (or "the RAC") has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in Washington, D.C.  
The need for tikkun olam, world repair, at this moment in history is palpable and enormous. See latest press statements below:

Reform Movement Urges Congregants to Protect Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation with New Resolution

Adult Education
Drumming for Self-Renewal
with Linda Schneider
Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Drums and percussion have long played a role in Judaism offering a hands-on, non-verbal route to accessing the spiritual and emotional. No musical experience is needed, and instruments will be provided (though feel free to bring your own if you have them).
Friday, May 19, 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Longtime congregants Ada Golbus and Esther Fox are familiar faces at Beth Emet programs, classes, and events. Learn how their vigorous lives sustain their interest in the world and other people, as Heidi Goldfein presents her interview with these beloved sisters. Hear how their example has become a role model for everyone who knows them. No fee (please register).
with David Zarefsky
Monday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Sessions are expected to focus on the place of the United States in the world, including relationships with Israel, the nature of the social contract, and the principles of federalism. As these are all in flux, specific topics will be influenced by current developments.
Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Emet (please note this class will NOT meet May 30)
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, or other seasoned teachers co-lead this weekly class that consists of Jewish mindfulness meditation infused with the wisdom of Torah.
For more information including fees and registration information, click on the link in the class title above, or   visit the Upcoming Courses section online. 
Life Cycle
B'nai Mitzvah
son of Daniel and Naomi Sachs
May 13, 2017

Elijah Salamon
son of Adam and Jacalyn Salamon
May 20, 2017

son of Gabrielle Sternman and Rich Berger
May 20, 2017

Edward Warm to Lauren Finlon. Edward is the son of Helen Rysemus 

Dorothy Zuckert, mother of Curt (Andi) Zuckert, and grandmother of Max, Sam and Anni

Richard Krammer, father of Terri (Gary) Michaels, and grandfather of Adam and Anna
General Community
Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
1224 Dempster Street
 Evanston, IL 60202
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