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.



Cantor Kay Greenwald
August 2, 2003

Delivered at Asilomar, August 2, 2003
Cantor Kay Greenwald

Shabbat Shalom.

Look around this room. Who do you see?

I see my Jewish community. Faces I know, people I love and care about, people I have yet to know, faces I will recognize better after this weekend.

What do you see? I see people whose ancestors, or who themselves, traveled from all over the world to come to this place, this country, this United States of America.

How did we all get here? To this room, this beautiful place?

I had been planning on

Stephanie Kolin
June 20, 2003

Do you remember that guy who dressed in a green suit with black question marks all over it? He gave Batman a good deal of trouble, always trying to trick him with dark meanings and mysteries. I believe he was called The Riddler. Usually seen as the villain, The Riddler will be playing a starring role in this week’s Torah portion . . . or at least his more good-natured, law-abiding twin brother will be the star. And if we listen carefully, we can hear the echo of ourselves in his words . . . “Riddle me this.”


Rabbi Chuck Briskin
June 13, 2003

Recently I was talking to several students during a break in our tenth grade Confirmation class about summer plans. Our conversation was animated as many spoke eagerly about their fun filled summers. They’re going to sports camps, arts camps, and performing community service. They’re spending part of their summer at Camp Swig, Camp Newman, or Camp Tawonga. Several are traveling on tours run by NFTY—the Reform youth movement. Our teens will spend an exciting summer filled with endless adventure, newly developed friendships and lasting memories. Sadly, none will experience this in Israel.

A six-week teen tour once was...

Rabbi Janet Marder
Yizkor Shavuot 2007
June 7, 2003

When I entered my teens, I fell in love with Impressionist art. I first encountered the paintings in miniature, reproduced on the glossy pages of the World Book Encyclopedia: shimmering landscapes and seascapes, boating parties, ballet dancers, sky merging with trees, buildings dissolving into mist. Best of all I liked the famous “series” paintings of Claude Monet – the cathedral at Rouen, the water lilies, and especially the haystacks.

Only later did I see them in a museum, at the Art Institute of Chicago: haystacks seen from every perspective, transformed by the movement of wind and weather, of shadow and...

Rabbi Janet Marder
May 24, 2003

The Jewish physicist Isaac Rabi, who won the Nobel Prize in 1944, used to attribute much of the credit for his success to his mother. “When I was a boy,” he said, “and I’d come home from school at the end of the day, my mother never asked me, ‘Isaac, what did you learn today?’ Instead, she would always say, ‘Isaac, did you ask any good questions today?’”

Here at Beth Am we also want to encourage our kids to ask good questions. So before Laura’s Bat Mitzvah, I asked her to choose a Jewish question that...

Rabbi Janet Marder
May 23, 2003

It is Sunday morning in Honolulu, and the congregation is gathered in Kawaiahao Church, the first Christian church established on Oahu, back in 1820. The minister reads aloud the Lord's prayer in the Hawaiian language; "the soft, round vowels of the native language tumble over the crowd like a wave coming in to shore: 'E ko makou makua iloko o ka lani." [New York Times, Feb.22, 2003]

Though they read along haltingly, many of those in the pews do not understand the words. Near the turn of the last century the Hawaiian language was banned in the schools in...


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