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
August 14, 2004

Why Do Modern People Today Observe Ancient Laws from the Past?
For Alicia Korda

Every week the parents of our B’nai Mitzvah give their son or daughter a blessing in front of the Ark, and talk about the qualities they especially cherish, and what makes their son or daughter special to them. In a few moments Alicia’s parents will have an opportunity to say those things to her. I want to tell you one of the things I most cherish about Alicia, and about our students in general, and that is their questions. The mark of a thoughtful person...

Rabbi Susan Lippe
July 5, 2004

In the tradition of Rabbi Janet Marder, I badgered this bar mitzvah into asking me a Jewish question.  He came up with two great questions.

Michael asked me: Why do we come to synagogue?  Why can’t we just be Jewish at home?  Questions perhaps inspired by months and months of driving back and forth from home to Beth Am and back again.

Like many questions in Judaism the answer to your questions is…
Both are right. Both home and synagogue are essential.

Some weeks there is no better way to end the week than to take off your...

Rabbi Chuck Briskin
June 18, 2004

I’d like you to imagine belonging to this synagogue. It is housed in two rooms in a non-descript building in the center of town. These rooms are on the seventh floor. To get there you have to walk up a flight to the second floor, take the elevator to the eighth floor, then walk down a flight to the seventh. The main hall holds one hundred people. They sit on donated rickety chairs. The synagogue offers regular Shabbat, holiday and festival worship, and is filled to capacity on the High Holidays. The synagogue offers regular classes and despite its modest...

Rabbi Janet Marder
June 11, 2004

They say that you can't go home again, and I guess in my case that's true. Most of the world of my childhood is gone now. The Southern California hills where I used to hike for hours have been razed and paved over; the backyard orchards are almost gone; the street where my family lived until I was five disappeared when the freeway was built. The past has evaporated behind me, as it often does in California , and so I have to carry the landscape in my memory. I remember the smell of chaparral and the...

Rabbi Josh Zweiback
June 4, 2004

We celebrated Confirmation here at Beth Am a few weeks ago. Twenty-five of our teenagers led the congregation in worship and learning. It was a great experience for me as a teacher. I loved working with the students. I loved getting to know them better, learning about their interests and concerns.

As a thank you gift from the class, I received a book inscribed with little notes from each of the students. One of these notes was devastating to me personally.
“To Rabbi Yoshi—Thank you for your dedication and teaching. You are still young at heart.” Youngat heart? What...

Rabbi Janet Marder
May 30, 2004

There’s a verse in Pirke Avot, a collection of Jewish ethical teachings, that for me captures an essential idea about Jewish education. It says “lo ha-baishan lamed” – a shy person cannot learn. The verse doesn’t mean that shy people are lacking in brain power. It means that shy people are less likely to speak up, to challenge the teacher, and especially to ask questions. According to our tradition, asking questions – admitting that you don’t know all the answers – is the only real way to learn.

Here at Beth Am we try to encourage our students to speak...


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).