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
April 25, 2004

Two days ago, on my last day in Jerusalem, I went for a walk in one of my favorite areas: Mishkenot Sha’ananim --- the words mean “Dwellings of Tranquility.” It is a beautiful neighborhood of terraced apartments, all built of pale Jerusalem stone and paved in the same material. In the late afternoon the neighborhood streets were quiet and peaceful, framed on both sides by flower gardens. You descend a central staircase until you reach the bottom, then walk along a path that leads into “Bustan Avraham,” a lovely little park created to honor the lost Jewish community of Marrakesh....

Rabbi Josh Zweiback
April 16, 2004

Shabbat Shalom.

I have three daughters. My four and a half year old and my two and half year old us ually play beautifully with one another. Except when they don’t which is frequently.

I was sitting in the living room the other day and I saw Isa, my oldest, push her little sister Ariela down. Ariela got up and ran over to me, crying. “Isa pushed me,” she sobbed.

“Isa,” I hollered. “Come here please. Did you push your sister?”

“No,” she replied. “Are you sure you didn’t push her?” “No,” she insisted. “Well, she says you did....

Rabbi Janet Marder
Yizkor Pesach 5764
April 12, 2004

Many of our Jewish festivals come at the cusp of seasons, when we move from one climate into another. Shavuot marks the passage into summer; Sukkot leads us into the fall, Chanukah lights up the darkness of winter, and Pesach, the festival which concludes today, stands at the gateway to spring.

The seasonal transition which Passover marks is reinforced by a change in the liturgy. It is at Pesach that we change the words of theGevurot, the second blessing of theAmidah. Instead of praising God “who makes the wind blow and the rain to fall –mashiv ha-ruach umorid ha-gashem,” we...

Rabbi Janet Marder
April 10, 2004

Eighteen years ago today I awoke very early in the morning, a few minutes past midnight. It was pain that woke me up – a sharp ache that jolted me out of sleep. I knew what it was; this wasn’t my first time. I woke up my husband and he sprang into action; this wasn’t his first time, either. We barely made it to the hospital; he drove like a maniac and I was breathing hard the whole way there. Twenty minutes after we arrived we were holding our new daughter in our arms – very tiny, just over five...

Rabbi Janet Marder
April 9, 2004

I thought this week about a famous line in a poem by the great Hebrew poet Bialik: “The sun shone, the acacia blossomed, and the slaughterer slaughtered.” As Bialik strolled the streets of Kishinev in the aftermath of the great pogrom of 1903 he was struck by the incongruity of beautiful spring weather co-existing with terrible bloodshed. In his gut he felt it was wrong. Surely there should have been storm clouds or lightning bolts from above – a sign of heavenly protest against the catastrophe below. Instead, it was as if nature looked on serenely, blandly indifferent to the...

Rabbi Chuck Briskin
April 2, 2004

Something very remarkable happened at the fourth through sixth grade retreat last weekend – something that we had never experienced during any of our previous retreats – something so spectacular, so unusual, so new that it is even difficult to comprehend its magnitude. What happened? We lit a campfire. Now to you this may seem ordinary, but if you had been with us in Scotts Valley in previous years, you’d know that lighting a campfire there isn’t a simple matter. You see for the first time, the forces of nature were on our side. It didn’t rain. It wasn’t too...


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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).