Rabbi Bellows Message

January 22, 2023/ 12 Shevat 5784

Dear Friends, 

As people of faith, we turn to Torah for insights and lessons that might lead us toward health and healing. This week we read, 

This week, as the Israelites prepare to leave Egypt and break free from their enslavement, we read in Exodus, “Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month, each of them shall take a lamb a to a family, a lamb to a household.”

God wants us to make sure everyone has enough, has food to eat, and requires us to pay attention to who might be in need. On the eve of their liberation, the Israelites were required to ensure everyone had what they needed for the journey. 

A few verses later, we are commanded to teach our children, “It is because of what Adonai did for me when I went free from Egypt.” (13:8). The commandment to teach our children is repeated three times in this Torah portion. It becomes the bases for the four children’s questions in the Passover Haggadah recited at the seder table. From this, we learn that the only way to remember is to tell our story and share our lessons. We are commanded to remember our past, retell our story, and care for each other. 

This week’s email update has opportunities to enrich our lives and help others! I hope you will join us. See you soon! 

Rabbi Lisa Bellows

Rabbi Bellows Message

January 15, 2023- 5 Shevat 5784

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to share that Beth Am has become a Faith Partner with Viator House of Hospitality. We join dozens of other faith communities to partner with Viator house volunteers, supporters, sustainers, and people dedicated to welcoming refugees and working for immigration reform. To learn more about Viator House of Hospitality, click Here

Thank you to Sandy Lorgeree and the Beth Am Anti-Hate Taskforce for making our work with Viator house a priority. In the weeks and months to come, we will share dates to tour Viator House and how we might be of service to Viator House as a community and as individuals. 

The note below is from our friend, Father Corey Brost, the Executive Director of Viator House of Hospitality. 

Dear Beth Am Community,

Thank you for beginning a partnership with Viator House of Hospitality. Only because of good folks like you are we able to witness miracles like the one below. May the Holy One bless you. We look forward to sharing many more good news stories in the future, as well as opportunities for all of you to be even more intimately part of the story as a volunteer or an advocate for asylum reform.

His Room Is Now Empty Because His Heart Is Full…

Omar escaped Afghanistan when the Taliban took over in 2021, managing to board a plane alone in the midst of the chaos we all saw through news reports from the Kabul airport.

At 17, he landed in the U.S., far from the family he left behind. At 18, only weeks later, we welcomed him to Viator House. I remember his call to his mother on the day he arrived to tell her he was safe.

Throughout the last year plus, Omar has worked and sent money home, helping his family pay the expenses necessary to make their own escape.

That hard work paid off just last week, when Omar reunited with his parents, two sisters and brother at O’Hare. They now live together in a north Chicago apartment.

Another Viator House Miracle That You Helped Make Happen


Fr. Corey

September 18, 2022 / 22 Elul 5782

Dear Friends,

Engaging in the process of teshuva does not come naturally for most of us. Reflection on the past year can be painful. Many of us have been hurt; tragedies have happened; we have hurt others; anger, embarrassment, and shame might loom within us. Teshuva begs us to remember the hurtful words we have directed towards others and ourselves. Some of us have a measure of self-hate that is only uncovered with self-reflection. Teshuva creates a sense of vulnerability and opens wounds, leaving us without the protection of ego aggrandizement.  

Yet, that sense of vulnerability and our willingness to be open and honest about our shortcomings brings us closer to God and ourselves. 

Above all else, repenting and turning towards God allows us to recognize the godliness within us all. Created in the image of God, we are inherently good 

and the purpose of teshuva is to return to that good and live our lives with assuredness that Adonai is near to all.  

May our week leading up to our High Holy Days be filled with reflection, honesty, and humility. May the year bring us an additional measure of inner peace and a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.  

Kyle and I, Gabi, Lucy, and Nathan wish you a Shana Tovah—a year of health, goodness, and abundant blessings.

Rabbi Bellows