Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | Adar 5780

Our Torah portion this week, Vayakhel, begins with these words: “Moses brought the community together.” (Exodus 35:1) During this time when we have to severely curtail our physical proximity to each other, it’s ironic that our Torah portion is about communal togetherness. The next verse, however, reminds us to observe Shabbat and points us in the direction of how we might come together despite our physical isolation from each other. In order to observe Shabbat, Jewish tradition teaches us we are supposed to refrain from certain activities we typically do like traveling, writing, building, and making things. Our tradition also instructs us to do different things on Shabbat like light Shabbat candles and eat special meals in order to distinguish Shabbat from the other days of the week.

The spread of COVID-19 is forcing us to have an extended break from our normal weekday activities. It’s not exactly a Shabbat filled with joy and relaxation, but, like Shabbat, there’s a list of things we must do and another list of activities we must refrain from doing. In order to keep all of us safe and well, we can’t go about our lives in a normal fashion like going to work and school, sitting in our favorite coffee shop, catching a movie, or hugging a friend, among other activities. And there are the new routines we need to get used to like washing our hands many more times than we used to.

But there are also other things we can and should do to decrease our social isolation and enhance our connection. Although we need to keep our physical distance, it’s critical that we connect in other ways. (I’ve been calling it physical [not social] distancing/social connecting.) Because of this extended break from our normal activities, we are working overtime at Beth Emet to make sure we can continue to connect with each other and create a sense of community. We are reaching out to those in our community who are isolated or most vulnerable to getting sick, meeting virtually, moving classes online, streaming worship services, and developing other creative ways to connect.

In this Emetmail, you will find ways to connect to the Beth Emet community. We encourage everyone to join classes and participate in worship. Even if you didn’t have time for classes in the past, please feel free to join now. On Friday, we sent out information on how people can volunteer to help others in the community. You will find that information and a link below to volunteer your services, ask for support, or let us know about someone in the community who could especially use support.

The Klei Kodesh (Rabbis London and Memis-Foler, Cantor Cotler, Marci, Kathy, Maia, Bekki, and Marla) are also creating content, video and the like, for people to access. We will be posting this content as well as other ways to connect on the Beth Emet Facebook page and on the front page of our website (please scroll down to the Highlights section).

Our first offering is a healing service that the Evanston Interfaith Clergy and Leaders taped over the weekend. You can watch the video here. More will be coming soon.
No programs or worship services will be meeting in person. If you need to come to the building for something, please contact a member of the Klei Kodesh first to ensure you can get into the building. All of the staff can be reached via email or you can leave a voicemail for any of us and we will get back to you. Email addresses are first initial, last name@bethemet.org (eg. mine is Alondon@bethemet.org). We will also be sending emails to the congregation twice a week—on Tuesday and Fridays—so please check your email for updates.

I’m so appreciative of the Klei Kodesh and the whole staff who have been working tirelessly to keep things going at Beth Emet in this new “normal.” I’m also grateful for the partnership of lay leadership and everyone who has stepped up to volunteer. We ask for your patience while we put systems in place. I’ve been heartened at the outpouring of warmth, understanding, and concern from so many in our community. We really have an awesome, caring congregation! I look forward to connecting with all of you soon.
With prayers for health and well-being.

Rabbi London

Rabbi Memis-Foler offered the following prayer at last night’s virtual board meeting. She thought you’d appreciate it.
Prayer for a Pandemic
By Cameron Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
Special Announcements
This weekend, you can listen to a prerecorded Kabbalat Shabbat service in your home. Please look out for an email Friday morning as well as check the Beth Emet homepage for a link to the Service. A link will be both in the calendar on the left side of the homepage (click the title to access more information), and under Highlights (you may have to scroll down). Friday's email will also provide information about Tot Shabbat, the Kahal Shabbat Morning Service, and b'nei mitzvah. We will also be updating our Facebook page with emerging information as well (don't forget to "like" us to see posts).

If you don’t have a copy of  Mishkan T’filah  at home, you can get a  free online flip book for Shabbat  , a discounted  Kindle ebook version of  Mishkan T’filah , or a full  Mishkan T’filahIt’s also just fine to listen in!

If you are observing a  yahrtzeit or are in a period of mourning,  click here to get a copy of the Mourner’s Kaddish. We will be reading the yahrtzeit and Kaddish lists.

Volunteer Opportunities
At Beth Emet we are exploring different ways that we can support and lift up the spirits of one another during this time. While many people are distancing themselves physically or choosing self-quarantine, others are thinking about how they can help. There are three areas in which we are looking to build a cadre of volunteers. 
1.     Virtual visitors (check in with people who are homebound via phone, Skype, text, Facetime, etc.)
2.     Tech Help Tutors (help people with technology so they can livestream worship and Adult Ed classes or connect with loved ones)
3.     Make Deliveries (dropping off helpful items to people who are homebound)
Be in Touch
If you are in need of support or are concerned about another member of our community, please let us know so we can reach out. We are all concerned about each other’s well-being and want to be present for each other. Please let  Rabbi Memis-Foler   know.

The clergy are here for you. If you want to connect, be in touch with Rabbi London , Rabbi Memis Foler , and Cantor Cotler .

Spiritual Healing

Read past COVID-19 Communications from Beth Emet
Coming Up at Beth Emet
If a class says "via Zoom" you will be able to watch the course on a computer or mobile device. At the class start time, you can click on the Zoom link. If you're having issues, please see Zoom directions . While you may not have signed up for these Adult Education classes, now that they are online, feel free to click on the zoom link and join the learning. Again, please note the Zoom link will not be active until the class start time.

If you anticipate you might need some technology help connecting electronically prior to the class , please email Rabbi Memis-Foler or call Beth Emet at 847-869-4230 ext. 321 and leave a message with your phone number. We will have someone reach out to you, to help walk you through the steps, so that you can connect. Please be patient, as it might take time before someone can get back to you.

Wednesday, March 18
7:30 p.m. Current Politics with David Zarefsky via Zoom

Thursday, March 19
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler watch via Zoom

Friday, March 20
9:30 a.m. A Close Look at Torah with Rabbi Andrea London watch via Zoom
6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat Services (prerecorded link forthcoming)

Saturday, March 21
9:00 a.m. Tot Shabbat and Kiddush (prerecorded link forthcoming)
9:30 a.m. Kahal Shabbat Morning Service (please check your email on Friday)
10:30 a.m. Rachel Ross Bat Mitzvah (streaming information forthcoming)

Friday, March 27
9:30 a.m. A Close Look at Torah with Rabbi Andrea London via Zoom (link to come)
6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat Services (prerecorded link forthcoming)

Saturday, March 28
9:30 a.m. Kahal Shabbat Morning Service (Details forthcoming)
10:30 a.m. Max Kuhn Bar Mitzvah (streaming information forthcoming)

Monday, March 30
with Zach Selch and Mark Schoenfield via Zoom
Social Justice
Help Those in Our Community
The Emergency Overnight Shelter run by Interfaith Action of Evanston (IAE) has had to close. Please contact Mayor Steve Hagerty and ask him to implement the following:
  • Create temporary emergency shelters at shuttered community centers or other large facilities in the community. Connections can recruit staff and volunteers and partner with Interfaith Action to utilize their emergency shelter cots.
  • Install portable handwashing stations in the community and identify bathroom solutions for unhoused residents to avoid a secondary public health situation.
  • Release emergency funding to cover motel costs for our homeless residents that need to isolate.
You can access Connections for the Homeless  COVID-19 Response webpage  for regular updates on our services and to learn how to support us.
Do you know an organization worthy of a Tzedakah Fund Grant? Grant Applications due March 31
The Tzedakah Committee supports causes and organizations that promote justice, equality, and social well being. Since 1987, thanks to the congregation’s generosity, the Tzedakah Committee has awarded 304 grants, totaling $131,764, to 96 organizations. If you know or are involved with an Evanston-area organization that alights with Beth Emet's social justice values, please feel free to pass along the Grant Application and Guidelines .
Green business support needed for Eco Fair
Beth Emet’s Environment and Climate Action Committee is possibly holding an Eco Fair on Sunday, April 26 as part of an Earth Day celebration. If you have a business that addresses climate change, sustainability or green living, you are invited to host a table at our Eco Fair. Please contact Michelle Oxman at 847-558-9797 or Sharon Smaller at 847-651-0955.
Beth Emet Community
In the Press
Daily Northwestern , March 4, 2020
Did you miss a recent Kabbalat Shabbat Service?
Tune into our SoundCloud channel to hear recent Shabbat Divrei Torah from Rabbi Andrea London , Rabbi Amy Memis-Foler and special guests. Read Rabbi London's d'var Torah from last Friday on Parashat Ki Tisa and COVID-19.
JCC Chicago Early Childhood Registration for the 2020-21 school year now open! The JCC is offering current Beth Emet Early Childhood families special pricing both on full-day Preschool and Daycare as well as a 20% savings on camp when they register for an Apachi Day Camp/Preschool combo, starting in June 2020. Here is a View dates and pricing . Additional program details are available online
Adult Education
If a class says "via Zoom" you will be able to watch the course on a computer or mobile device. At the class start time, you can click on the Zoom link. If you're having issues, please see Zoom directions . While you may not have signed up for these Adult Education classes, now that they are online feel free to click on the zoom link and join the learning. Again, please note the Zoom link will not be active until the class start time.
Course Cancellations
Beth Emet Book Club - Wednesday, March 18 at 1:00 p.m.
The Poetry of Prayer
Friday, March 20 at 10:45 a.m.
Resources Matter: Doing More to Waste Less Wednesday, March 25 | 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Illinois Holocaust Museum Tour - Sunday, March 29 | 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
What is Your Favorite Bubbe Meisse or Old Wives’ Tale? - Sunday, March 22 | 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
The Poetry of Prayer - Fridays, March 20 and 27 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Celebrate Spring in the Kitchen - Thursday, March 26 | 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
with David Zarefsky
Wednesdays, March 18 and May 20 | 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. Watch via Zoom
A continuing lecture-discussion class on contemporary public issues of interest to Jews as citizens.

with Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler
Thursday, March 19 | 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. watch via Zoom
Prepare for Equal Pay Day (March 31, 2020), by studying what Judaism has to say about the gender pay gap and equity.

with Zach Selch and Mark Schoenfield via Zoom
Monday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Presented by the newly-formed Israel Committee, this program will focus on the complex issues for meeting Israel’s security needs while negotiating with Palestinians to resolve the conflict by an agreed two-state solution.

View more details, costs, and upcoming coursesregister, or email  Miriam with any questions.
Photos of the Week
This year's Purim Spiel Shmotown brought the magic sounds of motown to Shushan. Watch the entire spiel on our Facebook page.

Send us your pics ! Since we can’t be together in person, send your pictures so we can enjoy each other’s Shabbat celebrations! Send us how you are observing Shabbat at home - are you gathering around the computer to listen to services or dancing at Tot Shabbat? Snap a pic of your Shabbat meal (and include a recipes). You can even sneak a snap of your favorite person enjoying a Shabbat nap! Email your images to Bekki Kaplan .
B'nei Mitzvah
Andrew Ross and Shari Roth
March 21

Susan and Mike Kuhn
March 28
General Community
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