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
December 5, 2003

“As religious leaders, we are outraged at recent violent attacks on synagogues in Istanbul. We unequivocally condemn all these attacks against Jews at prayer and call on leaders – governmental and religious – of all countries to join us in this condemnation.”

This ad appeared in the New York Times this past Wednesday, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, and signed by 11 Christian leaders, including the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and a range of denominational representatives including Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Mormon, United Church of Christ, Assemblies of God and the Society...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 28, 2003

“Tov l’hodot l’Adonai – it is good to give thanks to God.” Americans do it once a year, on the fourth Thursday in November. It used to be the last Thursday in November – that’s the way it was when Abe Lincoln first proclaimed this national holiday in 1863. But in the depths of the Depression, in 1939, President Roosevelt set it one week earlier, as a way of helping businesses by extending the pre-Christmas shopping season. Americans give thanks once a year, in the autumn, with football and feasting and a big parade in Manhattan. Jews are taught...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 21, 2003

I was nine years old and in the fourth grade at Hesby St. School in the San Fernando Valley. For the first time I had a teacher who was not old and scary but young and beautiful. Even her name was beautiful – Miss Jewel. Every afternoon she read aloud to us from a book that I loved: Island of the Blue Dolphins. I was completely wrapped up in the story of Karana, a California Indian girl growing up in solitude on one of the Channel Islands, with only the wild dogs and the birds for company. I couldn’t wait...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 15, 2003

Chinese proverb: “One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” That strikes me as a very Jewish way to think. For our tradition, like the Chinese, applauds and celebrates the asking of questions. One way we show this is to invite every one of our students to ask the rabbi a Jewish question to answer at the student’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

So this was Aaron’s question: “Will religion be around 5000 years from now? And do you think Judaism will survive?”


Rabbi Chuck Briskin
November 7, 2003

One morning, a few days after Rosh Hashanah, a member of the congregation knocked on my office door. “Do you have a minute?” she asked. “I want to share something with you.” She told me that after listening to my Rosh Hashanah sermon—that taught in part about the economic crisis in Argentina—she had a conversation with her seven year old her son. He had been saving money that was going to be used to buy a fun toy. After they talked about people in the world who are needy he decided that giving his money to help to them was...

Rabbi Susan Lippe
Yom Kippur 5764
October 6, 2003

“Why do we read the story of Jonah on Yom Kippur afternoon?
I’m glad you asked.

It’s a straight-forward story.
It’s only four chapters.
It’s message is simple.

God cares about all the people.
Jonah only cares about himself.
God wins.

When Jonah is called to be a prophet, he promptly does the opposite of what God asks.

When God asks Jonah to help others, Jonah doesn’t even take the time to refuse. He simply sails off in the opposite direction.

During a raging storm, sailors ask Jonah to pray to God to save...


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).