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
December 14, 2002

There’s a famous Chinese story that begins like this: Once upon a time a poor boy in a village received an unexpected gift. A nobleman singled him out and made him a present of a horse. The boy was thrilled with his good fortune and ran to his father to tell him. But the father said, “Be careful, my son, for what at first appears to be a blessing may turn out to be a curse.” Soon afterwards the boy, riding his horse in the forest, took a bad fall and broke his leg. His father found him weeping, and...

Rabbi Chuck Briskin
December 6, 2002

Just over one month ago I stood on this Bimah and received a blessing for a safe trip. I was departing for Israel and was strengthened by this prayer. But it also provoked some worried looks from our congregation. After services, many approached me to ask why I was going? “To express my support and solidarity with Israel and to see with my own eyes what is happening there.” Was my reply. Some said I was crazy for going, and many worried for my safety. I received an unusually large number of hugs. I hadn’t felt anxious about my trip...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 29, 2002

Every year at this season, when I was a child, my parents would take us out to see the Christmas lights. If you lived in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, that meant a drive to Candycane Lane – a neighborhood where all the homes featured incredible outdoor displays – illuminated Santas and reindeer-driven sleighs, giant snowmen and motorized hordes of frolicking elves – all awash in nonstop Christmas carols piped through every street. Hundreds of cars would be lined up, inching their way through the neighborhood – but it was one traffic jam that nobody ever complained about.
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Rabbi Janet Marder
November 23, 2002

In the middle of this week’s Torah portion there is a sigh of relief. “And Jacob arrived safe in the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan,” says the verse, in Genesis chapter 33 [v.18]. Jacob is a survivor of trauma – a man who has endured two profound ordeals. He has wrestled through the night with a mysterious adversary who wounds but does not kill him; and he has come through the stress and anxiety of meeting again with his brother, Esau – the man he cheated years before out of what was rightfully his.
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Rabbi Janet Marder
October 18, 2002

I was 22 years old, a rabbinic student at HUC in Los Angeles, when this happened to me. I was living with my friend Aliza in an apartment near Hollywood. One night we were up late studying when we heard noises coming from the apartment next door. Like many city dwellers, we didn’t know our next door neighbors; they were a middle-aged émigré couple from the Soviet Union, and they didn’t speak much English.

First we heard voices – a man’s voice shouting, a woman’s voice shouting back, so loud they sounded like they were in the room with us....

Rabbi Josh Zweiback
October 11, 2002

God is compassionate and God is good. Very good.

If God were not compassionate, if God were not so very good, well, I suspect we’d be under water about now. Like before. Like in the time of Noah.

God made a beautiful world for us to inhabit. This planet of ours, this pale blue dot, perfectly situated so that life does not merely exist, it flourishes.

God filled the world with light and life. Clear air to breathe. Cool, fresh water for drinking. Plants and animals of every variety.

But God despaired. We were God’s great disappointment. God had such...

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Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
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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).