Sermons | Congregation Beth Am





Rabbi Sarah W. Weissman
April 14, 2017

There once lived a truly good couple who loved God, gave tzedakah, and helped the poor. The whole town honored the couple, and yet they had one sorrow: they had no children. Years passed, and one day, as the couple sat at their Passover Seder table, they read the Haggadah and retold the Exodus. While the husband and wife were talking, there was a sudden knock at the door. At the threshold stood a ragged old man. The couple invited him to join their Seder and treated him with the greatest hospitality. However, when the old man took his leave...

Rabbi Janet Marder
April 7, 2017

Here’s a question: where did the question mark come from? Perhaps you’ve heard that the shape of the question mark comes from the shape of a cat’s tail when it’s feeling inquisitive. The same theory posits that the exclamation point comes from the shape a cat’s tail makes when it is surprised. Both punctuation signs derive, it is said, from the ancient Egyptians, who worshipped – you guessed it -- cats.

Delightful as this theory is, I am sad to report that it is only an urban legend. There was no punctuation in ancient Egypt. It’s more likely that question...

Assemblymember Richard Bloom
March 31, 2017
Rabbi Heath Watenmaker
March 24, 2017

The Artist’s Spirit

Just before dawn, on a summer night in 1889, looking out the window of a mental institution, Vincent Van Gogh painted what would become one of his most famous works: “Starry Night.” It’s one of the most recognized and reproduced images in the history of art. At this peak of his lifelong struggle with mental illness, perhaps the most turbulent moment of his life, he painted this incredible work, which depicts the night sky with brilliant swirls of whites and blues, and luminescent stars. Looking at it, one can’t help but be drawn in, mesmerized by the...

Rabbi Sarah Weissman
March 17, 2017


In 2000, I was living in a very small dorm room with a good friend of mine who happened to be a staunch Republican.  In the weeks leading up to the election, the atmosphere in our room was tense.  It probably didn’t help that I put a poster on my side of the room that said “When women vote, Democrats win.”  But that’s just a guess.  After the election, we were still on edge.  I can’t speak for my roommate, but I know that part of me wanted to talk about the election, to find out how on...

Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit
March 10, 2017


Congregation Beth Am
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We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).