Sermons | Congregation Beth Am





Saul Wasserman
Asilomar, 2016
July 22, 2016

I am going to describe one experience I had at age 21. It lasted no longer than an hour, but has had a life-long impact. This is heavy stuff, and I may not be so able to get through it without becoming emotional.

As a young man, I was soon to be married. My bride-to-be’s grandfather Willie was quite ill and would be unable to attend the wedding.  Instead, along with other members of the family, we visited him in the hospital.  

I remember all of us gathered around him in his hospital bed.The family talked about the upcoming wedding, and...

Diane Rolfe
Asilomar, 2016
July 22, 2016

This is the brief story of my religious transformation to Reform Jew through conversion that was evolutionary, not revolutionary, and it begins with the purchase of my first two packets of stamps from two nations when I was 9.

I had enough money to buy 2 stamps out of the hundreds of stamps at the nearby Hobby Store. At age 9 what did I select as my first 2 stamps to go into my new album??? One stamp showed a beautiful Greek goddess in a colorful, flowing gown from Greece and the second set of stamps showed 4 dull- colored Israeli...

Richard Bloomfield
Asilomar 2016
July 22, 2016

The headline from the Cleveland Plain Dealer of April 9, 1971, got it right, but hardly told the whole story:

" Woman Killed, Son Wounded in Holdup."

The paper reported correctly that my paternal grandmother, Sophie Bloomfield, who had just turned 81 and who was still working with my parents at the furniture business they had founded together in 1946, had, in fact reached into her purse, handed over a $20 bill to the young guy with the gun and was, for no apparent reason, shot point blank in the head - right in front of her son, my...

Rebecca Whitman
July 15, 2016

Shabbat shalom!

I'm the type to test the waters before diving in.

I had never been involved in organized Jewish or synagogue life as a child. My family was "twice a year" Jews, attending the children’s services for the High Holy Days, with a family Seder for Passover, candles for Hanukkah, and not much else. So, when I was metaphorically launched into the deep end without my goggles on for a session at Camp Newman, it was an unpleasant surprise. My mom had convinced me to attend our local Reform Jewish summer camp through a video about their high ropes...

Rachel Gibson
July 8, 2016

Shabbat Shalom.  Thank you, Cantor Shpall, for inviting me to speak to the congregation on this beautiful Shabbat.  I’m thrilled that tonight we’re welcoming our rising 6th graders who will begin the next phase of their Jewish journey, as they get closer to becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. 

Together with Cantor Shpall, I’m co-chairing what is called the B’nei Mitzvah Revolution, here at Beth Am.  As the youngest of seven kids and the only girl in the bunch, I love the idea of being a revolutionary.  It makes me think of the rising up of the least powerful segment...

Debbie Mukamal
July 1, 2016

Shabbat Shalom. Thank you to Rabbi Marder for the opportunity to share some words this beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat.

My friend Willard grew up in Menlo Park. In true Silicon Valley fashion, entrepreneurship surrounded him from his youth. His dad owned the shoe shine business on the Stanford campus, and he has fond memories of selling hot dogs and ice cream on University Avenue, long before it was populated with start-ups. These days, Willard is the proud owner of Magic Hands, a thriving eco-friendly mobile auto detailing business. He’ll come to your home or your office and detail your car with...


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).