Sermons | Congregation Beth Am




Watch, listen or read the sermons in our listing of recordings below. Alternatively, you may subscribe to the Beth Am Sermons Podcast.

Watch, listen or read the sermons in our listing of recordings below. Alternatively, you may subscribe to the Beth Am Sermons Podcast.



Rabbi Janet Marder
November 29, 2019

The Mayflower was a square-rigged ship, about 100 feet long from stem to stern. It was named for the English hawthorn, sometimes called “the tree of May” – small and nondescript through most of the year; bursting, in springtime, into cascades of white and pink blossoms. 

The Mayflower set sail from Southampton in August 1620, with a companion ship, the Speedwell. Soon after, the Speedwell sprang a leak. After repairs, there was a second launch. They made it more than 200 miles this time, but the Speedwell developed another leak, and again they had to return to port. At this...

Rabbi Heath Watenmaker
November 22, 2019

My daughter Cayla recently came back from the library with a lovely little children’s book called Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed)[1]. It begins with little Ava discovering a beautiful rainbow that appears after a rainstorm passes. Ava thinks that it’s the most beautiful rainbow she’s ever seen. She makes a wish that it could stay up in the bright sky forever. And then, the next day, the rainbow is still there. And it’s still there the next day and the next day after that. Soon, word of the rainbow who stayed starts to spread through the...

Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit
November 15, 2019

If you’ve been a student at Beth Am or, my hunch is most other synagogues you likely, at some point have come across the famous debates of Hillel and Shammai.   Just as a refresher - Hillel and Shammai were two different schools of ancient Jewish scholars named after the sages who founded them.   The two schools are famous for the vigorous debates they had with one another on topics concerning Jewish law, ritual and belief.  These debates were so prolific that the mishna - the first major work of Rabbinic literature from around the year 200 records more than 300...

November 8, 2019

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em” (Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 5).  Though Shakespeare meant it ironically, there is truth in the saying.  Sometimes greatness is innate, other times it is carefully cultivated and hard-won, and once in a while, greatness shows up in the most unlikely of places.  David slays Goliath, the Maccabees triumph over the Greeks, the 49ers are undefeated so far this season.  And in this week’s parashah, God tells Avram, “Lech l’cha — Go forth from your land, and from the land of your birth, and from your...

Rabbi Janet Marder
October 25, 2019

September 5, 1977: lift  off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station --  Voyager 1 probe is launched into space. Its mission is to conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn, along with the larger moons of both planets.  January 1979:  the spacecraft begins photographing Jupiter. A few years later, after the flyby of Saturn, the ringed planet’s gravity flings Voyager high out of the plane of the planets; it begins its planned journey towards interstellar space.  

Valentine’s Day 1990: at the request of astronomer Carl Sagan, Voyager points its camera back towards home for a final look and snaps the...


Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • (650) 493-4661 Contact Us

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).