Comprehensive Weekly Newsletter
Wednesday, January 26, 2022 / 24 Shevat 5782

Final Phase of the Mitzvah Appeal! New Matching Challenge!
A very special donor just committed to creating a matching incentive of up to $10,000 for those pledges made in this final phase of the campaign. This is the perfect opportunity to pledge now as they will match dollar for dollar for all contributions over $50.00 that are made before February 4. Help us take advantage of this generous matching pledge! We are counting on you ... your support matters to Beth Emet.  

The Afghan family that Beth Emet is helping to support through JCFS/HIAS have been settling into their new apartment and new neighborhood. Our biggest realization, as we have spent time with them, is just how massive the learning curve will be as this family works to create a life here.
A relatively simple task, for example, like grocery shopping, became overwhelming when we were forced to use the self-check-out lanes. Suddenly, we were presented with a multitude of new steps: finding the UPC codes to scan, weighing fruits and vegetables, looking up items by code number, and then following steps to check-out. The family speaks almost no English, so following along on the screen is almost impossible without help. 
When you multiply this experience by all of the new systems they will likely face each day, you begin to realize just how big of a mountain this family needs to climb. 
For this reason, I am very thankful that this family has the support of the Beth Emet community behind them. We have a tremendous corps of volunteers to support mentoring and tutoring activities in the coming months. We can run errands and pick up the supplies they need (a volunteer last week realized the Mom owned no socks!). We can reassure them that they are not tackling this alone. 
Yesterday, with the help of a translator, we spoke with the family about how they're feeling and whether the volunteers are helpful - or, as I had worried a bit, too intrusive. Towards the end of the conversation, the father said, “We stood shoulder to shoulder with the Americans, and now you are standing shoulder to shoulder with us.” 
Thank you to the whole Beth Emet community for your support. If you'd like to learn more about getting involved, please contact me. 

Beth Emet Supports The Walk For Warmth!

Thank you to the many people that donated and/or spent time on Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s Day of Service walking together on Beth Emet’s Team! It was so wonderful to see so many new faces and lots of kids on the walk! 

The Walk raises awareness about homelessness and raises funds so that Interfaith Action can keep both the Warming Center open in the daytime and the Overnight Shelter open every night of the cold months. The Overnight Shelter will be housed at Beth Emet beginning Sunday, January 30th for three weeks.

Beth Emet’s team was #1 with the most walkers (45) and #2 with kids registered to walk (14) - hooray! And overall, the Walk was a huge success with $35,000 raised, with almost 600 people registered to walk from over 44 teams and more than 34 different faith communities!
In the BE Family!
Send Us Your News!
Beth Emet has so many amazing members, each offering unique talents to the greater community. Share your news with all of us so we can both celebrate and get to know one another a bit better…. Especially during these (mostly) virtual times. Send your news to Bekki Kaplan, and if possible, please include a photo!

Introducing New Member: Lisa Lieberman
Why are you excited to join Beth Emet?

My husband and I moved here in July to be closer to our son, who lives in Rogers Park. Raised Reform (I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and belonged to Keneseth Israel), I value our tradition’s commitment to social justice and our emphasis on deepening our faith through learning and questioning and listening respectfully to one another. Already I feel that I have found my home here, in the Beth Emet community.

Where is your favorite place you have traveled? 

Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, I taught for many years at Dickinson College. Leaving You: The Cultural Meaning of Suicide, my first book, addresses the suicides of notable Holocaust survivors including Primo Levi, Bruno Bettelheim, and Jean Améry. On the lighter side, I write the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries based on old movies and featuring blacklisted Hollywood people on the lam in dangerous international locales. The third book, The Glass Forest, is set in Saigon, circa 1957. I managed to get myself a gig as a lecturer on Silversea Cruises, lecturing on “Asia Through Hollywood’s Eyes,” to fund a research trip to Vietnam. What a fascinating country!

What is your favorite line from a movie? 

Well, it’s hard to choose just one—old movies are my thing, as you can see from my blog, deathless—but I’ll go with Marlene Dietrich’s line from the fabulous pre-code classic, Shanghai Express (which also features Anna May Wong in her best role): “It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.”
Mazal Tov to Nina Vinik
Founder and Executive Director of Newly Formed Project Unloaded
The mission of Project Unloaded is to create a new cultural narrative that guns make us less safe. Project Unloaded establishes safe spaces for open conversations about guns and provides accurate information about guns and gun safety to inspire the next generation to choose on their own terms not to own a gun. We are so proud of longtime Beth Emet congregant Nina Vinik, the Founder and Executive Director of this new organization. To learn more, check out the website at,
Mazal Tov to Rob Derdiger
Named Chief Executive Officer at Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi)
Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), the widely known Jewish college fraternity, has named Beth Emet member Rob Derdiger as its new chief executive officer. Rob previously served as the fraternity’s chief financial officer and managed its not-for-profit fraternal housing arm.  As eJewishPhilanthropy reports, Rob is taking the helm of the fraternity at a challenging time for Jewish students, who face increasing hostilities around Israel issues, on their campuses, and amid an uptick in antisemitic incidents nationwide.  Check out EJP to learn more about his new role and what will inspire him in this new position.
Congregational News
TONIGHT, January 26 at 7:30 pm
Emily Isaacson, member of Beth Emet and the Sunrise Movement’s Advocacy Coordinator, will be our guest speaker at the upcoming meeting of Beth Emet’s Dayenu Circle. Dayenu is a fast-growing Jewish advocacy group calling for bold climate change. We've launched our own Dayenu Circle, and we invite you to be part of our planning process for the coming year and help increase our impact as Jewish voices come together through Dayenu Circles.
Zoom Link- Ph: 312-626-6799 - Meeting ID: 812 6586 8544 | Passcode: 1224
This Shabbat Services to be Online
This Friday, January 28 and Shabbat morning, January 29 services will be virtual only. Please refer to the Shabbat email and our website for the links. We look forward to seeing you in-person soon!
2021 Donor Receipts
Please note: Donor receipts will be sent according to your current monthly statement preference, email, or USPS. Be on the lookout.
Questions? Please contact Debbie Gilbert, Finance Manager.
Missed These Two Events- Click the Boxes Below for the Recording
"The Missing Hand" Book Discussion with Susan Van Dusen

Missed this program? Click here to watch the recording.

Read more
Intimidation and Harassment of Jewish College Students...

Missed this program, click here to watch the recording.

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February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month
D'var Torah by Rabbi Tuchman during Kabbalat Shabbat Services
Friday, February 4 at 6:30 pm

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman is a sought after speaker, spiritual leader and educator. Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018, she is, as far as she is aware, the first blind woman in the world to enter the rabbinate. She provides consulting to individuals and organizations across the Jewish community on a variety of matters pertinent to disability access and inclusion. She has taught in numerous synagogues and other organizations across North America. She was named to the Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 for her innovative leadership concerning inclusion of Jews with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish life. In 2017, she delivered an ELI Talk entitled We All Were At Sinai: The Transformative Power of Inclusive Torah. She is a participant in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership Program. In 2020, she was honored by the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA).
A Book Discussion of Golem Girl with Author Riva Lehrer
Sunday, February 27 at 1:00 pm
Author Riva Lehrer will lead us in a discussion of her book, Golem Girl, a vividly told, gloriously illustrated memoir of an artist born with disabilities who searches for freedom and connection in a society afraid of strange bodies. This program will wrap up our February Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. Although prior reading of the book is not required, we encourage you to read it ahead of time if you are able. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for Q+A. Several copies of Golem Girl can be borrowed from the Beth Emet office and are available for purchase at Bookends and Beginnings in Evanston.

Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer and curator who focuses on the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people whose physical embodiment, sexuality, or gender identity have long been stigmatized. Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, Yale University, the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the State of Illinois Museum. Lehrer’s memoir, Golem Girl, was published by the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House in October 2020, won the 2020 Barbellion Prize for Literature; was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and shortlisted for the Chicago review of Books 2020 CHIRBY Awards. Ms. Lehrer is on faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and instructor in the Medical Humanities Departments of Northwestern University.
Young Family Programs
Shabbat ShaZoom- For Families with Young Children
Friday, January 28 at 6:00 pm
Please join us for 15 minutes on Zoom! We’ll welcome Shabbat with Cantor Cotler, and together recite the blessings. Very short and sweet–a perfect way to begin Shabbat!
Jamberry on Zoom!
Wednesday, February 2 at 9:30 am.
Join us for joyful, collaborative music making with Nicole Jaworski and Jamberry Music! In this class, you and your little one will bond with each other and make new friends while we sing, dance, play, pretend and experiment with instruments. Class is geared to kids 6 months to 2.5 years old and siblings are welcome to join! Please join us for 4 weeks on Zoom.
The fee per family is $40.00.
Social Justice
Racial Justice Training with Beth Emet and Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA)
The Racial Justice Discussion group, a subgroup of the Social Action Committee, is offering a 5-part training series on White privilege, White supremacy, and Anti-racist Allyship, starting on Monday, January 31 from 7:00-8:30 pm (On Zoom.) This program is designed for those who identify as white. Additional sessions will run at 7:00 pm on Februaru 24, March 15, April 7 and April 27. All sessions are facilitated by JCUA staff. Participants should plan to attend at least 4 of the sessions, and must sign up by this Thursday, January 27.
This is an exciting opportunity to explore these topics alongside other Beth Emet members and only a few spots remain. If interested, please contact Paul Peterson and click on this link to register for the series. 
Social Action Committee Meeting
Wednesday, February 2 at 7:00 pm
Whether a first timer or a seasoned regular, hear updates and learn how you can become involved with supporting Afghan refugees, providing food, shelter and other provisions for homeless and/or hungry individuals (we have several paths from which to choose), addressing Climate Change and so much more.
Fall 2021 Tzedakah Grant Award Winner
Each spring and fall, the Tzedakah Committee awards 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. This fall, the committee awarded one $500 grant to Family Matters, Inc. of Chicago. Since 1987, thanks to the Congregation’s continuing generosity and commitment to social justice, the committee has awarded 323 grants totaling $141,264.
Family Matters partners with youth, families, and communities to develop skills and abilities that will enable their clients to build successful futures. The grant will be used to partially fund a project to build teen technical skills and leadership abilities by launching new, teen-led podcasts to amplify youth voices on social justice issues. Together with Family Matters staff, volunteer mentors, and professional recording engineers, the teens will research social justice topics, record and edit interviews, and then publish and market the podcasts.
The Tzedakah Committee will continue to provide grants to eligible and deserving non-profits. The filing deadline for the spring 2022 award cycle is March 31. We encourage congregants to continue to contribute to our grant program and help charitable organizations with which they may be involved to submit grant applications for future grant cycles. The application packet is linked to Beth Emet's Tzedakah Fund webpage. 
Lifelong Learning
Adult Education

A Close Look at Torah with Rabbi Andrea London
Friday, January 28 at 9:30 am
There are many ways to interpret Torah and its nuances of meaning that are often overlooked. We will continue our learning from last year, reading and interpreting the text of the Book of Deuteronomy line by line. New learners are always welcome.
Ph: 312-626-6799
Meeting ID: 880 3271 0378
Passcode: 785827
The Mishnah: Law as Literature with Professor Wimpfheimer
Friday, January 28 at 11:00 am
The Mishnah, the second century book that is the basis for the Talmud, seems simple. A well organized code of law, it structures Jewish ideas for subsequent Talmudic conversations. But there is more to the Mishnah than meets the eye. In this two-part class we will discuss how the Mishnah complicates our understanding of the nature of law and asks us to examine our expectations when reading what we consider to be good literature. This class is dedicated to the memory of Dan Cedarbaum, z”l.
Ph: 312-626-6799 
Meeting ID: 884 1432 7090
Passcode: 1224
Trouble on the Yellow Brick Road: What Went Wrong During Our Ancestors’ Sojourn in the Desert? with Rabbi Ozarowski
Fridays, February 4 and 11 at 11:00 am
We will take an in-depth look at some of the debacles during the Jewish people’s trek through the desert, including the stories of the Golden Calf, the Spies, and the Korach Mutiny. We will look at the narratives, text, philosophical issues, what these stories might say to us today, and compare them to the way they were presented in the movie, The Ten Commandments.

Rabbi Dr. Joseph S. Ozarowski is Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain for JCFS Chicago. He is also an adjunct professor at Spertus Institute and the Academy for Jewish Religion (CA). He has served as president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and was recently elected international president of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). Rabbi Ozarowski’s first book, To Walk in God’s Ways, is considered a standard in the field of Judaism and Pastoral Care.
Abayudaya: Music, Judaism, and Community in Uganda
Sunday, February 6 at 10:00 am
Music is central to the Abayudaya, a Jewish community in eastern Uganda, and unites the different synagogues there as it allows them to express their unique voices. Musicologist Amanda Ruppenthal Stein, Ph.D. will offer us a glimpse of the importance of music in ritual and daily life for this flourishing part of klal Yisrael. She will share studio and field recordings, including Psalm singing in Luganda, the Bantu language spoken in the African Great Lakes region; it is the core repertoire of the Abayudaya liturgy. 

Amanda Ruppenthal Stein, Ph.D. is lecturer in music at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a recent graduate of the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where she was also the Crown Graduate Fellow of the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. In 2019, Amanda traveled twice to Uganda to conduct fieldwork in collaboration with a solidarity mission and recording project of the Cantors Assembly, celebrating 100 Years of the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda.
Panel Discussion: Israeli Current Events
Wednesday, February 9 at 7:00 pm
Our panel will be J Street, Standwithus, and Partners For Progressive Israel. We will start with two topics:
  1. Should the US use military aid to pressure Israel regarding settlements?
  2. Should we support the Two-State Solution Act, which would set American policy: (I) For a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (II) The West Back, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza are occupied territories. (III) Israeli settlements in occupied territories violate international law. (IV) Settlement expansion, Palestiian home demolition, revocation of Palestinian residency permits, and forced evictions of Palestinians violate Palestinian human rights and impede a two-state solution
After the panel addresses those topics, there will be Q&A for attendees to raise issues. There is no prior knowledge required, and we encourage all those who are curious to attend.
Community Programs
Up Close and Personal with Schechter Alumni
Monday, January 31 at 7:00 pm
Join Solomon Schechter Day School for a virtual discussion with some recent alumni who will share their experiences academically and socially in high school and college.
Please RSVP for the Zoom link