Creating Beth Emet Community Together

Tuesday, January 17 | 24 Tevet 5783

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend with the Interfaith Community in Evanston

Missed the Service this Past Friday? Watch the D'var Torah in honor of MLK. With an introduction and closing by Rabbi London, along with words from Beth Emet's own Matt Feldman, and Robin Rue Simmons of First Repair.

Pastor Clark and the Second Baptist Singers sang throughout the service. Click for one of their selections.

Above is a sketch by Lee Weintraub of the pulpit and choir during the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Interfaith Worship Service at Faith Temple in Evanston this past Sunday. Additionally, a photo of Rabbi London sharing the closing benediction.

Following a screening of The Big Playback Pastor Nabors facilitated a Q&A with Co-Directors Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow, Rabbi London, Pastor Carlis Moody Jr, and Robin Rue Simmons. Missed the screening? Catch one of the upcoming airdates on WTTW(PBS) from Wednesday, January 18- Saturday, January 21.

4th Annual Walk For Warmth was a Huge Success

Beth Emet’s Team had over 30 walkers on Monday's MLK Day’s Walk for Warmth. The rain held off while close to 400 people from all the Evanston faith communities walked a route of the overnight shelters to raise awareness and funds for Interfaith Action to keep the shelter open. The official number is not in yet but so far at least $26,500 of the $30,000 goal was raised. Thank you for participating!

Support This Year's Mitzvah Appeal Campaign

Our annual Mitzvah Appeal campaign ensures that our community remains strong and serves as our primary fundraising effort of voluntary giving, providing the single largest source of non-membership income necessary for the financial health of Beth Emet. As is true with other synagogues and many other institutions, our membership commitments and fees simply do not cover our expenses. Each year the Mitzvah Appeal campaign addresses this gap through the generosity of additional contributions from each of us. Our goal this year is $280,000.

Pledge Today & Sign Up for Our Next Event

In appreciation of your gift, we have one more event:

D.C. 2023 Spotlight: Brunch with U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky

Sunday, January 29 | 9:45 am |In-Person at Beth Emet and Virtual

Suggested Minimum Pledge: $36 per person

With a change in the House leadership, there will be much to discuss as the 118th U.S. Congress convenes in January. Brunch will be served in-person or grab your favorite breakfast food and cozy up to the Zoom screen.

State of the World Got Your Goat?

We truly rose above it with a very successful Mitzvah Appeal event this past Saturday. With more than 55 in attendance, all had great food, fun music to dance to, and heard inspiring words by Mark Hilton and Judy Aronson as they shared why Beth Emet is so important to generations of their family. You can read it here.

Thank you to all who attended and supported this year's campaign, to the wonderful planning committee (Paul Isaacson, Elaine Lev, Michael Orenstein, Michelle Oxman, Marti Netler, and Bekki Kaplan), and a special thank you to Lee Weintraub for hosting such a wonderful evening.

BE Connected
Weekly Calendar
Full Calendar with Links
Program Registration 

Tuesday, January 17

Milestone Celebration for Connections for the Homeless

6:00 pm | In-Person and Virtual on Livecontrol

Several times a year, Connections for the Homeless gathers their staff and supporters to celebrate and honor the recent accomplishments of their program participants, staff, and volunteers. Several Beth Emet members are included in this upcoming program.

Honorees from Beth Emet include:

  • Honoring Jeff Forgash with the Lisa Todd Volunteer Award.
  • We are honoring The Lunch Squad as an outstanding volunteer group, which includes Gail Doeff who has spearheaded this effort, and Bekki Kaplan who volunteers. Not pictured here is Beth Emet member, Rachel German.
  • In addition, Evanston Lighthouse Rotary is being honored as an outstanding community partner.

Dayenu Circle Monthly Meeting

7:30 pm | Virtual on Zoom

Calling on all those concerned about climate change. Come to the next Dayenu Circle Zoom meeting. We will explore ways to become a more zero-waste congregation by looking at other Evanston faith communities that have adopted zero-waste practices, e.g., composting and avoiding disposable plastic items. We will also kick off brainstorming about celebrating Earth Day in April. 

Wednesday, January 18

Murder on a Kibbutz: A Book Discussion led by Lisa Lieberman

7:30 pm | Virtual on Zoom

In a recent Guardian review, Lavie Tidhar called the late Israeli author Batya Gur's Murder on a Kibbutz (1991) one of the top ten books of all time about Israel. The daughter of Polish Holocaust survivors, Gur had a special interest in how kibbutznikim who came from the death camps found solace in the rhythms of communal life.

This program is sponsored by the Israel Committee.

Thursday, January 19

Qigong with Netiva Caftori

10:00 am | Virtual on Zoom

Our very own Netiva Caftori invites us to experience the healing practice of Qigong with her. Qigong is a millennia-old system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health and spirituality.

Conversations to Nourish Our Souls with Marci Dickman

7:15 pm | Virtual on Zoom

Not sure how to connect to the Mystery or the Divine in the world? Perhaps you are seeking an honest conversation about making meaning in life and what really matters. We will use the prayerbook, poetry, prose, and ourselves as our texts, aiming to deepen our connections and discern meaningful paths in our daily lives.

Friday, January 20

*Cancelled* A Close Look at Torah

9:30 am

Anonymity and Annihilation with Dr. Barry Wimpfheimer

11:00 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom

Part 2 of this course will meet next week on Friday, January 27

David Weiss Halivni z’l (1927-2022) was a revolutionary in two separate intellectual arenas- talmudic analysis and Jewish theology. He is known for innovating the notion that much of the Talmud was produced by a group of unnamed editors whom he called Stammai as well as worked to process personal and communal experiences of the Holocaust in religious terms. Come learn about how Halivni’s Talmudic theory and unique theology might inform one another.

Kindergarten Families Shabbat Service and Dinner

6:00 pm | In-Person

This is a formal part of our curriculum so that our families can celebrate Shabbat as a community in Beth Emet. We will have a short service and then share a festive potluck meal in the Weiner Room. RSVP by Wednesday, January 18.

Oneg Shabbat

6:00 pm | In-Person

A great way to welcome Shabbat is with a little nosh and connecting with new and old friends. We will gather in the lobby for a light reception at 6:00 pm, and light candles together in the lobby at 6:25 pm. For those who will be joining us online, we invite you to light candles before services. Look forward to seeing you on Friday.

Kabbalat Shabbat Services

6:30 pm | In-Person and Virtual on Livecontrol

Saturday, January 21

Kahal Shabbat Morning Services

9:30 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom

Sunday, January 22

Sunday Morning Minyan

9:00 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom

Monday, January 23

Board of Trustees Meeting

7:00 pm | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom

If you are interested in attending the meeting, please reach out to Geoff Prass for the password-protected Zoom link. This is done for security purposes.

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In The BE Family

New Members Volunteer at the Soup Kitchen

Last week Beth Emet's newest members volunteered and made a tasty dinner for 57 soup kitchen guests. It is a great way to get involved and meet others. If you wish to volunteer, feel free to reach out to Susan Melczer (our Soup Kitchen volunteer coordinator).

Mazal Tov to Beth Emet Member, Robyn Gabel

State Representative Robyn Gabel (Representing Illinois' 18th District) is now the Illinois House Majority Leader!

We Want to Hear From You!

Whether it's good news to share or you would like to be featured or know someone who should be featured "In The BE Family," let us know or contact Bekki Kaplan.

BE Involved

Volunteer Opportunities

See all our current volunteer opportunities

Help Feed the Hungry at A Just Harvest

Wednesday, January 25

We need one more volunteer to cook and up to three more to serve lunch at A Just Harvest on Wednesday, January 25. Michelle will be cooking there at 9:30 am. We serve from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. Please call Michelle Oxman at 847-558-9797 if you can help. 

Bakers Needed for the Soup Kitchen in January and February

The Beth Emet Soup Kitchen guests love home baked desserts! We are currently seeking volunteers who could bring 3 dozen nut-free dessert servings for a Wednesday night dinner in January or February. Delivery to the synagogue is between 3:30- 4:30 pm on the assigned date. This is perfect for congregants who want to help out from home. 

To receive an assignment and additional details, please email for available dates.  

BE a Driver

Looking for a quick way to do a mitzvah? We are looking for drivers for special deliveries/gifts from the congregation. Only takes a few minutes to brighten someone's day! Contact Bekki Kaplan for more information and/or to add your name to the list.

BE a Neighbor! Plan a Gathering and Get to Know Your Neighbors!  

Lincolnwood members gathered for dinner, conversation, and Havdalah in early January. What a great way to get to know some Beth Emet members who may not have met otherwise. And, it was so much fun to hang out in person! (Plus, everyone took a COVID home test prior to arriving to make it as safe as possible.) If you’re interested in hosting a neighborhood gathering – whether for dinner, coffee, a group walk, seeing a movie or so much more, contact Bekki Kaplan who can assist in providing names and ideas.  

Upcoming Congregational Opportunities

New Tikkun Middot Va’ad (small group) Facilitated by Marci Dickman

Monthly, January- June; Specific days and times to be determined by the participants

Each of our Tikkun Middot Va'adot focus on a particular character trait each month, and each session includes meditation, mindfulness practice, study of Jewish and secular texts, and self-reflection. Between sessions, participants work with a chevruta (partner) to explore the internal and external obstacles and opportunities present in each moment in order to access more wholesome choices. The group is open to congregants of all ages and interests.

Interested? Contact Marci Dickman

Reconvening on Climate Action and Resilience

Saturday, January 28 | 3:00 pm

In-Person at Lorraine Morton Civic Center

It's time to bring people together from all corners of Evanston to discuss climate action and to collaborate on tackling our shared challenges. No matter who you are and whether or not you are affiliated with a local environmental organization, YOUR participation is critical. Come ready to talk, learn, and re-energize your passion for climate action. Register Here.

Family Food Face-Off for Tu B’Shvat- A Celebration of Trees!

Sunday, January 29 | 4:30 pm | In-Person

Be a part of our first ever culinary face-off for families and kids kindergarten- 3rd grade. Trees, pods, seeds, and even dates may be part of the afternoon challenge!

What will YOUR family discover in their mystery basket?

Prizes, Yummy snacks, stories and fun for all!

Visual Midrash? Decoding Medieval Jewish Art with Dr. David Shyovitz

Friday, February 3 and 10 | 11:00 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom

Pre-modern Jews are often described as “people of the book,” but Jews produced visual art over the centuries as well – images in illuminated Bibles, Machzorim, and Haggadot that are complex, often learned, and sometimes deeply subversive. How might our understanding of Torah study shift if we accompany study of Jewish texts with study of Jewish images?

Tu B'Shvat Shabbat Dinner for Families with Young Children with Special Guest Aimee Leigh

Friday, February 3 | 5:30 pm | In-Person

Celebrate the birthday of the trees with our favorite song-leader Aimee! Enjoy a delicious dinner, story and brief Shabbat service.

Co-Sponsored by PJ Library

Learners Minyan

Saturday, February 4 | 9:30 am | In-Person

Want greater comfort in a Shabbat morning service? Wondering what the prayers mean or when we bow? Marci Dickman will lead this Learners' Minyan on Shabbat morning. We will pray, sing, laugh and reflect.

Kahal Potluck Luncheon

Saturday, February 4 | 11:30 am |In-Person

Jamberry Music with Nicole Jaworski Is Back!

Co-Sponsored by JBaby

Starting Tuesday, February 14 | 9:30 am | In-Person

Join us for joyful, collaborative music-making with Nicole Jaworsky 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!

What Makes a Family? Tools for Talking About Family Diversity

Sunday, February 5 and 12 | 9:30 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom

In this 2-part interactive series, led by Ilana Dvorin Friedman and Rabbi London, we will consider how cultural notions and assumptions about “family” can hinder their sense of belonging. Through ongoing discussion and storytelling, grown-ups can support young children to embrace the beauty of all families. This adult series is perfect for parents and grandparents of children birth through 3rd grade.

Free child-care available—Please reserve your spot in advance

An Inside Look at the Abraham Accords

Sunday, February 5 | 11:00 am | Virtual on Zoom

The historic Abraham Accords dramatically improved Israel’s position in the Middle East, normalizing Israel’s ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In 2½ years, the Accords have led to a renewed relationship with Morocco, security agreements with Bahrain and Morocco, Saudi Arabia treating Israel “as a potential ally,” expanded trade and other business opportunities, and more.

Sponsored by the Israel Committee

Racial History of Evanston Bus Tour Followed by Dinner and Conversation

Sunday, February 5 | 2:00 pm | In-Person

Visit places of importance to Evanston's Black community, learn about prolific residents in Evanston's Black history, and discuss Black resistance to systemic racism in the city.

Tax Wise Charitable Giving

Tuesday, February 7 | 7:00 pm | Virtual on Zoom

Tzedekah is an essential tenet of Jewish life. Regardless of how old you are or your stage in life, there are tax efficient ways to give to organizations that matter to you and easy ways to include philanthropy in your estate planning such as making a meaningful legacy gift to Beth Emet. Tax planning experts, Adam Prawer-Stock, Ted Froum and Steve Reiches will lead this informative session.

Discussion, moderated by Karen Isaacson, Q&A to follow.

Sponsored by Dor L’Dor, From Generation to Generation, Beth Emet’s Planned Giving Program. For more information on Dor L'Dor, check out Beth Emet's website.

Congregational Announcements

Tzedakah Grant Fall Awardees

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 two $1,000 grants to Clearbrook of Arlington Heights and Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E). A summary of the Clearbrook's funded project is included below. The C.A.R.E. project will be highighted in a future issue.


Clearbrook serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It will use the grant to purchase art supplies and an air fryer to better serve clients of Techny Community Day Services Center, an adult vocational program in Northbrook. The supplies will be used to enhance educational and recreational activities. The air fryer will be used to improve the facility's ability to provide meals to its clients who keep kosher. Beth Emet member Jill Randell volunteers at the Center.

Missed a Program? 

When possible, we record our programs for those who were unable to participate. When recordings are available for adult programming, you can find them on the calendar event and on the website.

Missed last Tuesday's Current Politics with Dr. David Zarefsky?

Watch the recording here.

Community News

Interfaith Racial Education Workshop Series with Second Baptist Church of Evanston

Kick off/First Session January 21 | 11:30 am


Second Baptist Church of Evanston is thrilled to invite Beth Emet to an Interfaith Racial Education Workshop Series! This new eight-part series, sponsored by Northwestern University’s Racial Equity and Partnership Grant, will meet every two weeks, in-person for an interactive, learning, and action-based experience. 

Current COVID Protocols: Masks are recommended, but not required. We ask that whenever you are in the building, we each continue to respect one another’s personal space and comfort levels. 

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