Sermons | Congregation Beth Am

Sermons

Sermons

Sermons

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.

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Sermons

Rabbi Janet Marder
March 5, 2004

It all began with a sickness. During the 17th century, in the midst of the Thirty Years War, the bubonic plague of medieval times once again swept through Europe, striking down thousands – according to some estimates, as much as a third of the population – and leaving misery and terror in its wake. In a small town in southern Germany, the inhabitants made a curious vow: they promised that if God would spare their lives, then every ten years they would present a play depicting the life of Jesus. As the story goes, not a single townsman perished of...

Rabbi Janet Marder
February 20, 2004

Earlier this week a friend of mine sent out the following email to a group of colleagues and friends: “After more than 22 years together – and almost 13 years since our religious wedding under thechuppah – we are delighted to report that, as of this afternoon, our relationship has been recognized as a legal marriage by the State of California, through the good offices of the Mayor and staff of the City and County of San Francisco. While we – and the [almost 3000] other couples who stood in lines all day in the rain every day this weekend...

Rabbi Janet Marder
February 6, 2004

Out in the world, I know that this was a busy week. There were seven primary elections, and the Democratic presidential race started to narrow down to a few finalists. There was a Superbowl Game, and, I gather, a rather notorious halftime show. Oracle moved in on PeopleSoft. The bird flu continued to wreak havoc in Asia. Controversy continued to swirl about whose fault it was that our president called us to go to war in Iraq on the basis of false information. Rabbi Gerald Raiskin, longtime spiritual leader of our sister congregation, Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, lost his...

Rabbi Janet Marder
January 31, 2004

Each week we invite our students to choose a Jewish question for the rabbi to answer, in four minutes or less, at their Bar or Bat Mitzvah service. Allie, as some of you know, has a very inquiring mind, and this is the Jewish question she chose:

Who wrote the Torah, and why is it sacred?

The Torah, first of all, is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. “Torah” is a Hebrew word that means “instruction” or “teaching.” Who actually created it? Nowhere in the Torah itself does it say who the author...

Rabbi Chuck Briskin
January 30, 2004

What is the worth of a human life? This is the question that was posed yesterday in Israel, and was discussed and debated in cafes, offices, and living rooms. What is the worth of a human life? What is one willing to exchange in order to know for certain the fate of a loved one? Yesterday morning after three years of delicate and complicated negotiations, the Israeli government released four hundred and twenty nine prisoners—members of the Lebanese terrorist organization, Hezbollah—in exchange for the remains of three Israeli Defense Forces soldiers, and one living civilian, a suspicious Israeli businessman. What...

Rabbi Charles Briskin
January 9, 2004

Remember celebrating Simchat Torah here? The music, the dancing, the Single Malt Scotch? It was just twelve weeks ago that we began the annual cycle of reading Torah with the familiar trope, “Bereshit barah Elohim, et ha’shamayim, v’et ha’aretz—When God began to create the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) It has been twelve weeks for us but two thousand years have passed in the Torah since God created the earth and all that dwells within. But this week we arrive to complete the book of Genesis and conclude the patriarchal and matriarchal narratives. And this parasha—this Torah portion—ends with...

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