New Heading Color

Shabbat Shalom
This Shabbat, Betsy Fuchs shares Obligations Without Measure Whose Reward is
Without Measure.  
In this new weekly email, each Friday during 5775, we will be featuring writings from you, our congregants, sharing reflections on Shabbat. We hope you will be inspired to share your reflections with the community. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact Stacey Robinson at

In March 1999, I read Ursala Hegi's book Stones From the River about people with each other in a small town in Germany, during peace and war. They took care of each other, watched out for each other, were cruel to each other, took risks and didn't take risks for each other. They formed and re-formed their community and always they were in relationship with each other. 

I sometimes write prayers (which are more like letters to God and to myself) and I was inspired by the book to write this prayer:

Dear God, 

There is so much to do,
So much in this dear world that needs repair,
I cannot do it alone, yet I shirk away from doing with others.
Help me to take care of myself and others,
To take risks for the sake of myself and others,
To be family, to extend my family, to find community
So I can, with others, find and do the work we must do.

Then I added a note to myself, a coda to this prayer:


In January 2000, I took the imperative message of my prayer to heart and after many years of being away from Judaism and from community, I found Beth Emet. And I learned (perhaps relearned) the obligation for us to take on Tikkun Olam, Repair of the World. I engaged, with others at Beth Emet, in Tikkun Olam projects including Beth Emet's Blood Drive and for a time, passionately attempting to effect changes that would bring us closer to peace in our beloved Eretz Yisrael.

My connection with the holiness of this obligation, the sacredness of the community I found here, led me to find a renewed connection to Shabbat. Since January 2000, I have attended Shabbat morning services here. Together, we say the beautiful and practical words of Elu d'varim, which translates to "these are the words/ the things/ the obligations."

These are obligations without measure, whose rewards, too, are without measure:

* to honor father and mother,
* to perform deeds of love and kindness,
* to attend the house of study daily,
* to welcome the stranger,
* to visit the sick,
* to provide for the wedding couple,
* to accompany the dead to burial,
* to pray with sincerity,
* to make peace between two people,
* And the study of Torah leads to them all.

These are small things, challenging acts, obligations that we can do with others or on our own, for family and for friends and for the strangers who come into our lives.

These are obligations, yes, but they are also gifts that I am reminded of every Shabbat morning.

Betsy Fuchs has been a member of Beth Emet since January 2000. She regularly attends Kahal Shabbat morning services and has been nourished and inspired and challenged by the Beth Emet community. She loves the combination of prayers and poetry and readings in Mishkan T'Filah and is looking forward to the new Machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh. 

This Weekend at Beth Emet

Friday, October 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Kabbalat Shabbat Services with a D'var Torah by Rabbi Andrea London 

Saturday, October 11 at 9:30 a.m.
Kahal Service in the Weiner Room
Shabbat Minyan in Room 208

3:00 p.m.
at Rabbi London's Home (1424 Washington, Evanston) 

Sunday, October 12 at 8:45 a.m.  

5:00 p.m.

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