Sermons | Congregation Beth Am





Rabbi Janet Marder
December 14, 2001

I'm delighted to be with you on this very special and joyous evening for Congregation Or Ami. I always enjoy the opportunity to speak at a rabbi's installation service. For one thing, it gives me the chance to share some traditional rabbinic humor. For example: how many rabbis does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to say: "My friends, this reminds me of a Hasidic story. . ."

But I'm sure Ken didn't invite me here to poke fun at our profession. I imagine he invited me because of the unique...

Rabbi Janet Marder
December 8, 2001

Sadie's husband Jake has been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet his faithful wife stays by his bedside day and night. One night, Jake comes to and motions for her to come closer. He says, "My darling Sadie. . .you have been with me through all the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot by a robber, you were by my side. When my health started failing, you were still by my side. You know what, Sadie?" "What, dear?"...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 23, 2001

Two parts cornbread stuffing - moist, a little sticky, saturated with essence of the bird from which it came. Two parts sweet potatoes slathered with marshmallows - the original comfort food. One part onion dip and one part pumpkin pie. One part carrot ring with green peas in the center. Four parts noise. One part shooting hoops in the driveway and one part watching football on the couch. Those have been the ingredients of Thanksgiving with my family ever since I can remember.

This year was the same as always. There were little kids running around and crawling on the...

Rabbi Chuck Briskin
November 17, 2001

I am the youngest of three boys. Six and eight years separate me from my older brothers. At times it seems that the only thing we have in common is our parents. We have very different careers. We are driven by different issues. We have different hobbies. Our personalities are distinct. We've always been temperamental, but adulthood has mellowed us--somewhat. We get along now. And we know where each other stands. We know how to push each other's buttons, but we do so with less frequency these days. The sibling rivalries and petty arguments that tempered much of our childhood...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 16, 2001

Some of the greatest minds of our time have taken a very dim view of religion. Said Clarence Darrow: "I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose." And Mark Twain said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." "The most common of all follies," wrote H.L. Mencken, "is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind." But it isn't just curmudgeons who think that religion is basically a bunch of fairy tales.

In a recent book called "How the Mind Works," the eminent MIT professor Steven Pinker wonders...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 9, 2001

I didn't want to get on the airplane. There was a meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New York City earlier this week, and because I am Vice President of the organization, I was supposed to be there. It would be the first time I had flown since September 11, and I was nervous. I talked to several people about how I was feeling. They all told me I was being irrational - that it was riskier to get in my car than to get on a plane, that this was probably the safest time to fly,...


Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
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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).