Celebrate Rabbi London's 18 years at Beth Emet on December 15. Don't miss the celebration concert with Maureen Nehedar. RSVP.
Tuesday, November 27 | 19 Kislev 5779

“The grass is always greener on the other side.” Too often, we compare ourselves to those that seem to have more than us. We admire those with a larger home, fancier car or bigger diamond. Especially at this time of year, when shopping seems to be the national pastime, everyone wishes for more money to buy more things. I hope we can take a step back to reflect on all our blessings and be appreciative of the numerous gifts we already possess; family and friends to name a few. Many years ago, I read a story that had quite an impact on me, and that I especially think about during Chanukah. 

A survivor of three concentration camps recalls how ingenuity and the will to survive led to a memorable Chanukah observance.

One of the items I smuggled out of Auschwitz was my spoon. It wasn't much, but it was mine -- and it would come to play an important role in my Jewish life and in those of some of the other prisoners there.

Having had some experience in the Lodz ghetto as a mechanic, I helped the electrical technician install the camp's lighting. With my new access to tools, I brought my spoon to work and filed down its handle, making it into a sharp knife. Now I could use it both to eat my soup and to cut my bread. This was useful because we would often receive one chunk of bread to divide among two or three people and without a knife it was difficult to apportion the bread fairly.

When winter came, though, my spoon became involved in an additional mitzvah. Despite the horrendous hardships we suffered daily, we still tried whenever possible to remember to do a mitzvah despite all the dangers that involved.

Having always kept mental track of the calendar, I knew when Chanukah had arrived. During a few minutes rest break, a group of inmates and I began to reminisce about how, back home before the war, our fathers would light their Chanukiyot with such fervor and joy. We remembered how we could never seem to get our fill of watching the flames sparkling like stars, how we basked in their warm glow and how they seemed to imbue us with a special sanctity.

And then we got to thinking about the origins of Chanukah, about the war of the Hasmoneans against their Greek tormentors, who were intent on erasing Judaism from Jewish hearts and minds. We recalled the great heroism of the Jews at the time who risked their lives in order to keep the Sabbath, practice circumcision and study Torah. And we remembered how God helped them resist and rout their enemy, enabling Jews to freely observe the Torah and mitzvot once again.

And then we looked around ourselves. Here we were, in a camp where our lives were constantly in danger, where we were considered sub-human and where it was virtually impossible to observe the most basic practices of Judaism. How happy we would be, we mused, if only we could light Chanukah candles.

While we talked and dreamed, we were all suddenly struck, as if at once, by the same resolution: We simply must discover a way of doing the seasonal mitzvah. One fellow offered a small bit of margarine he had saved from his daily ration. That could serve as our oil. And wicks? We began to unravel threads from our uniforms...

What, though, could be our Chanukiyah? I took out my spoon, and within moments, we were lighting the Chanukah "candle," reciting the blessings. We all stood around entranced, transfixed, each immersed in his own thoughts... of Chanukah holidays gone by... of latkes, dreidels, and Chanukah gelt we had received as children.

Our unusual Chanukah lights kindled in us a glimmer of hope. As we recited the blessing about the miracles God had performed for our ancestors "in those days" -- but also "and in our time" -- we well understood the only thing that could save us would be a miracle. A great miracle like the one hinted at on the dreidel's acrostic.

One starving man sacrificed a portion of his daily rations and others, freezing, unraveled clothing in order to have light on Chanukah. Let us kindle our Chanukah lights in the spirit of Teachings of the Sages (Pirkei Avot 4:1): “Who is wealthy? The one who is happy with their portion.”

We hope you will kindle the lights with us and join in the fun at Beth Emet's A Chanukah Celebration for Everyone on Friday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. Please see details below.

Simchat Chanukah,

Marla Topp
A Chanukah Celebration for Everyone!
Friday, December 7
5:30 p.m. - dinner, crafts, and dreidel games
6:30 p.m. - Shabbat candle lighting followed by Shabbat worship that will include music by the Youth Choir
Following services, a Chanukah Oneg with delicious sufganiyot.
Dinner is $16 per adult and $10 per child (age 5-12) by Wednesday, December 5, $20 and $14 thereafter. RSVP or call 847-869-4230 ext. 301

This year, Beth Emet has partnered with the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center—individuals and families are encouraged to attend each others holiday celebrations! Come welcome guests from the community at our Chanukah celebration and join the City of Evanston’s Kwanzaa Celebration at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center (1655 Foster St., Evanston) Wednesday, December 26 at 6:00 p.m. Learn more .
Coming Up at Beth Emet
Wednesday, November 28 at 7:00 p.m. Soap Opera in the Bible: King David
with Hyma Levin
Thursday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. Taste of Judaism with Marci Dickman
Friday, November 30 at 8:00 a.m. T almud and Bagels with Rabbi Peter Knobel
at 9:30 a.m. A Close Look at Torah with Rabbi Andrea London
at 10:45 a.m. The Sabbat Ritual Through Halachic Eyes with Rabbi Michael Balinsky
at 6:00 p.m. Beit Sefer First and Second Grade Family Potluck Shabbat Dinner
at 6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat Services (5:45 p.m. Shabbat Oneg) with D'var Torah by Lizzie Graham and Phil Bashook on Beth Emet's P-DAT initiative
Saturday, December 1 at 9:30 a.m . Adult B'not Mitzvah with Kahal
at 5:30 p.m. Parents & Kids Night Out at Beth Emet
Sunday, December 2 at 10:00 a.m. Social Action Committee Meeting
at sundown, first night of Chanukah
Monday, December 3 at 3:30 p.m. Explorations of Our Changing Selves: A Tea and Discussion for Women 60+
Friday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m . Beth Emet's A Chanukah Celebration for Everyone! Dinner followed by Chanukah Shabbat Service
Saturday, December 8 at 4:30 p.m. BESSY Chanukah Zoo Lights
at 5:00 p.m. Chasamba Chanukah Party
Sunday, December 9 at 9:45 a.m. Bagels, Lox and Leaders - Mitzvah Appeal event
Monday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m. Drumming for Self-Renewal with Linda Schneider
Celebrate Rabbi London's 18 Years at Beth Emet!
Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Rabbi London, a nationally recognized Jewish leader, has led Beth Emet since 2000. We are lucky to call her our own beloved rabbi. We celebrate this important milestone—18 years!—by bringing Maureen Nehedar, Rabbi London’s favorite Israeli singer, to Beth Emet.

This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Rabbi London’s leadership, her love of learning and teaching, her commitment to social justice, and building ways in which to build deeper relationships within the interfaith and Beth Emet communities.
A creator and composer, Nehedar is known for her revival of Persian-Jewish tradition poetry (Piyutim). Tickets: $36 for adults, $10 for 18 and younger and students with a valid student ID. Purchase tickets.
Mitzvah Appeal Campaign
613 + 1

The great scholar Maimonides listed 613 mitzvot found in the Torah. Now we add + 1 mitzvah that is personally meaningful to each of us: It’s a mitzvah to support our synagogue.

We all share the commitment to care for our community. Together we embrace everything that makes Beth Emet special, everything that makes Beth Emet our spiritual home. Now more than ever Beth Emet depends on your generosity to help provide the additional dollars needed to balance our budget. This is why you recently received a mailing inviting you to give to annual Mitzvah Appeal and to attend an upcoming event to thank you for your contribution.

No gift to Beth Emet is too big or too small. Every gift counts. Every gift matters. To those who gave last year, thank you. Your generous donation again this year is essential to making our Mitzvah Appeal a continuing success. To those who have not previously participated in the Mitzvah Appeal, your valuable donation this year in any amount is your opportunity to make a significant difference.

Join your fellow Beth Emet members in making a personally meaningful donation. Please click on the following link to Donate to the Mitzvah Appeal or Register for an Event Now!

It’s a Mitzvah.

And be sure to plan attending a Mitzvah Appeal appreciation event!
Bagels, Lox, and Leaders: A conversation about the current state of politics and society and the future role of the medi a
Sunday, December 9 at 9:45 a.m. This year's brunch features Jan Schakowsk y, United States Congresswoman serving Illinois 9th Congressional District since 1999, and a Beth Emet member. Peter Slevin , Northwestern University Journalism Professor, former Chicago Bureau Chief of the Washington Post and author of Michelle Obama – A Life . Moderated by: Cam Davis , recently elected to the Board of Commissioners for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District who previously served as the Great Lakes Water Czar for President Barack Obama. Make a donation and RSVP for an event now, or call 847-869-4230 ext. 301.

Mark your calendar for future Mitzvah Appeal events:
Current Politics: Insight and Discussion featuring David Zarefsky at the office of Jenner & Block, LLP (353 N. Clark, Chicago) on Thursday, January 10 at 12:00 p.m.
Got Beer? An Evening of Making and Tasting at Temperance Brewery on Saturday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Sommelier Soiree at the home of Neal Moglin and Mark Tendam (2448 Lincolnwood Drive, Evanston) Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. ($360 min. donation for this event)
Community News & Events
Upcoming Events
November 29, December 6, and 13 | 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Are you curious about Judaism? This engaging class on Jewish spirituality, ethics, and community is open to all and designed for the curious beginner. You don’t have to be Jewish to be curious. Individuals from all faith backgrounds are welcome. We ask you to register so we can save you a seat!  Register.
Learn More About Beth Emet's Post Detention Accompaniment Team (P-DAT)
Friday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. during Kabbalat Shabbat Services (Shabbat Oneg at 5:45 p.m.)
Phil Bashook and Lizzie Graham will deliver the D'var Torah discussing Beth Emet Social Action Committee’s latest initiative, helping strangers who are newly released asylum seekers. This work is done in partnership with the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI). Since June, Beth Emet's Post Detention Accompaniment Team (P-DAT) has helped 42 people. Two team members receive a call from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to meet the new immigrant upon release from the ICE center in downtown Chicago. As commanded by Torah, they welcome the stranger, provide a meal, supply clothing and essentials, and arrange bus transportation to the individual's future home in the US or take them to the ICDI sanctuary house. If you are interested in joining the team, contact Phil or Lizzie. You can also help by contributing to the Beth Emet P-DAT Fund, set up to support this important social action initiative. This is part of the Sanctuary Resolution that was passed by the Board of Trustees in 2017.
Adult B'not Mitzvah at Kahal Shabbat Morning Service
Saturday, December 1 at 9:30 a.m.
Join in a special Shabbat service as four of our congregants become b’not mitzvah; Jackie Berman, Nancy Grabowsky, Anne Rimkus, and Shari Rogers. They have studied hard for several years and we wish them a hearty Mazal Tov.
Parents & Kids Night Out at Beth Emet
Saturday, December 1 at 5:30 p.m.
Join in the fun for family night out at Beth Emet. Together we will do Havdalah from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. followed by heavy appetizers, drinks, and mingling (for the adults), and dinner and a movie for school-age kids. Cost: $36 for two adults plus kid(s); $18 for one adult plus kid(s). RSVP today.
This is a Beth Emet Families Connect (BEFC) program, fostering connections to each other, community, and Judaism.
Explorations of Our Changing Selves: A Tea and Discussion for Women 60+
Monday, December 3 at 3:30 p.m.
This is our fourth year of afternoon meetings over tea, coffee, and cookies. Our atmosphere is informal, people are friendly, and Beth Emet members, as well as friends in the community, are always welcome Where are the women connected to the story of Chanukah? Rabbi Memis-Foler will teach some of their stories and discuss what lessons we might learn from them today. Come, bring a friend, enjoy the discussion.
RSVP   or call 847-869-4230 ext. 301.
BESSY (grades 9-12) Chanukah Zoo Lights
Saturday, December 8 at 4:30 p.m. (drop off at Beth Emet, leaving for Lincoln Park Zoo at 5:00 p.m.)
Join us for an evening of lights! We are meeting at Beth Emet for Havdalah and Chanukah candle lighting before we head down to the Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights. We’ve got a special scavenger hunt in store, you won’t want to miss this! $5 please
Beth Emet Community
Security Update
In case you missed it, please read the Security Update that was sent to the congregation yesterday.
Shabbat Connections – Volunteers Needed!
Did you know that almost every Friday, a Beth Emet family receives a home-made Shabbat dinner through Shabbat Connections? For over 10 years, we’ve had volunteer cooks and volunteer drivers prepare and deliver Shabbat dinner to a family in our community. It might be brought to someone who has recently moved, or had a new baby, or an illness or death, or any number of other situations. It all works beautifully IF we have enough volunteers. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Kathy Kaberon.  
Beth Emet Camp Scholarships Available for Summer 2019
Application Deadline: January 18, 2019
It is with tremendous appreciation that we say thank you to the Samuel Sherwin Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Gerald D. Chiss Memorial Scholarship Fund of the Beth Emet Foundation, the Harvey Rice Youth Fund, and to those who support them. If you are interested in applying for the summer of 2019, please fill out this form or contact Bekki Harris Kaplan with any questions.
Diaper Collection for Bundled Blessings
During November, we will be collecting diapers for the only diaper pantry in Evanston. They particularly need pull-up diapers or the larger size diapers (4,5,or 6). though they will take any sizes including opened packages. Please place items in the big red barrel in our school hallway.
Adult Education
with Hyma Levin 
Wednesday, November 28 and December 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Here is your opportunity to grapple with some of the stories about David--his morality, "sweet singer of Israel," and more.

with Rabbi Michael Balinsky
Fridays, November 30 and December 7 at 10:45 a.m.
Although the Reform movement is steeped in ritual/mitzvah expressions, it does not define itself as a halachic movement. However, halacha (Jewish law) can help us gain insight into Shabbat and enrich our religious/spiritual lives.

with Linda Schneider
Monday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Treat your mind, body, and spirit to an uplifting break from your regular routine and join our rhythm circle, where we’ll make unique music-in-the-moment. 

with Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
Friday, December 14 at 10:45 a.m.
Jews claim that the Golden Rule originates in the Hebrew Bible. Some Christians
argue that the Jewish version limits “Love your neighbor as yourself” to Jews
only. What is the truth?
To learn more about each class, including full details, fee, and registration information, click on the class title link. View more upcoming Adult Education classes!
Social Justice
Interfaith Action of Evanston Emergency Overnight Shelter Volunteer Training
Sunday, December 2 at 11:30 a.m. following the Social Justice Committee Meeting
Interfaith Action of Evanston will staff an emergency shelter December 2018 and January and February 2019. The shelter will only operate when the temperature is 20 degrees or below or there is significant moisture.  It will rotate among six different faith communities, and Beth Emet will host February 10-23. 

Take action with the RAC
Photos of the Week
Rabbi Marc Margolius, from the Institute of Jewish Spirituality was Beth Emet's Scholar-in-Residence the weekend of November 16. Through Divrei Torah and learning, he imparted wisdom on how we can be our best selves by integrating Jewish mindful practice and middot (spiritual/ethical qualities) into our daily lives.
Life Cycle
Theodore "Ted" Rowe
husband of Myra, father of Michael (Kim) Rowe, and grandfather of Emily (Johnny), Jeremy, and Annalise Rowe

Lillian Michaels
mother of Gary (Terri) Michaels, grandmother of Adam Michaels and Annie Michaels
General Community
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