Tuesday, March 24 | 28 Adar 5780

As we enter our first full week under Governor Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and our second week operating as a virtual synagogue, I want to reflect on the remarkable efforts I’ve seen to ensure that our community stays active and connected despite our physical separation. More than 50 congregants have volunteered to reach out to people in our community, and calls are being made first to our seniors to check in on them. The acts of love and kindness are truly remarkable. To ensure that our members of all ages are able to stay engaged, we have also moved our Beit Sefer, Adult Ed, Youth programs, and Early Childhood program online, as well as last Shabbat’s worship services. On that note, we wish a hearty mazal tov to Rachel Ross, who celebrated her bat mitzvah last Saturday with her parents, Shari and Andy, and her sister, Carly, in a beautiful live-streamed service.

Here is how you can continue to stay connected to Beth Emet. You will receive congregational email updates every Tuesday and Friday, and the front page of the Beth Emet website will be updated daily, Monday-Friday. Beth Emet’s Facebook page also will be updated frequently. If you are having trouble accessing information online, please send an email to Rabbi Memis-Foler , who will put you in touch with a member of the community who can provide tech support.

The situation we are facing today brings to mind a teaching from this week’s Torah portion, the Book of Leviticus. The portion begins with the word, Vayikra (the Hebrew name of this book of Torah). Vayikra means, “He called” because God calls to Moses to give him the laws of animal sacrifice. There is an anomaly in how this first word is written in the Torah scroll: the aleph in Vayikra is smaller than the other letters. Traditional rabbinic commentators posit that this small aleph symbolizes Moses’ humility because the letter aleph is the first letter of the word Ani—I. Today, as we all contend with an uncertain and unsettling landscape, this small aleph might also represent how miniscule we feel in the face of a global pandemic. This need not mean that we are hopeless or helpless. It’s a reminder that we are each a small part in an interconnected universe, a truth that we might not sense when we go about our regular lives and feel more in control.

“So where is the hope?” you may ask. Jewish tradition has never maintained that religious practice and faith are a way to answer every question. Instead our faith can help us live with uncertainty and doubt and to grapple with unanswerable questions while surrounded by a loving community.

We are here for each other in these uncertain times with prayer, learning, and community. Each of us small, vulnerable alephs are not alone. We have each other, God, however we might understand and experience that concept, and our rituals and teachings to nurture and sustain us.


Rabbi London 
Rabbi London is on Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty's Emergency Management Task Force. Here are her notes from the last briefing .
Virtual Learning
Currently, classes are being conducted online using Zoom. You will be able to participate in the course on a computer, mobile device, or by telephone. At the class start time, you can click on the Zoom link below, on the calendar on our homepage, or on the programs description page on the web (and hyperlinked below). 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 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.

Friday, March 27
9:30 a.m.  A Close Look at Torah  with Rabbi Andrea London via Zoom (or call 312-626- 6799 Meeting ID: 657 819 679)

Monday, March 30
with Zach Selch and Mark Schoenfield   via Zoom (or call 312 626 6799 Meeting ID: 862 896 103)

Friday, April 3
10:45 a.m. Your Space, My Space, Our Space: The Sabbath Prohibitions via Zoom
(or call 312-626-6799 Meeting ID: 454 365 822)
Worship services will be prerecorded. They will be uploaded onto Beth Emet's YouTube Channel on Friday afternoon. The links can also be found on our website calendar, the worship schedule, and on our COVID-19 update page.

Friday, March 27
6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat Services   ( Check Friday's email for more details )

Saturday, March 28
9:30 a.m. Kahal Shabbat Morning Service  (Check Friday's email for more details and for D'var Torah.)

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’filah It’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.
Good News
Coming Soon! Bedtime meditation Wednesday and Thursday night's with Rabbi London and Sarina Elenbogen-Siegel. 
Watch Facebook and the website for forthcoming details.
Volunteer Opportunities - 50 Volunteers and Counting!
Thank you to our 50 members who have already signed up to volunteer, but it's not too late! Beth Emet is 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)
Interfaith Action of Evanston's Amazon Wishlist
Want to help the most vulnerable in Evanston and the surrounding area? Purchase some of the items on this w ishlist for Interfaith Action . Items will be distributed at the warming center at St. Mark’s Church.
Results of the 2020 World Zionist Congress Elections
ARZA/Vote Reform and Reconstructionist Movement was the clear winner. Nearly 10,000 votes ahead of the nearest slate. We are the largest Zionist party in the U.S. and that was made clear and should not be taken for granted.

ARZA/Vote Reform increased its vote by nearly 50%, adding 10,000 new voters. That is especially impressive since we had the most votes last time.

Thank you to Ted Goldsmith and Dave Kessler for leading our campaign, and all the members of Beth Emet who voted. Learn more.
In the News
Thank you to The Daily Northwestern for once again tapping into Beth Emet's wonderful resources. Rabbi  Andrea London  shares her wisdom in the article, " Coping with 'the new normal': local wellness leaders weigh in. "
Klei Kodesh Vlog
The Klei Kodesh are feeling the same loneliness and isolation as you are. So we wanted to start a video blog, or vlog, to share our thoughts and teachings with you. This is the first episode, featuring Cantor Cotler. For episode two, we will have an AMA (ask me anything) with the clergy. So email your question to Cantor Cotler with “AMA” as the subject. Whether you want to ask about Judaism, Israel, sports, food, or anything in between, let us know what you want to know!
Be in Touch
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.

Sign up to volunteer to be a Virtual Visitor -  check in with people who are homebound via phone, Skype, text, Facetime, etc.

If you have questions about how to access Beth Emet during these new virtual times, please feel free to be in touch with Bekki Kaplan

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.

Spiritual Healing
The Institute of Jewish Spirituality (IJS) is offering mindfulness resources to the community including daily meditation, weekly Torah study, and an online course. Learn more.

Read past COVID-19 Communications from Beth Emet
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