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.

Close

Sermons

Rabbi Janet Marder
May 4, 2001

Exactly 40 years ago this week astronaut Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. On May 5, 1961 he blasted off from Cape Canaveral and rocketed 117 miles up, landing 15 minutes later, 300 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. It was just a month after Major Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union had orbited the earth in the world's first manned space flight.

Some saw the human conquest of outer space as a profound challenge to religious faith. It was one of the early Russian cosmonauts, I think, who commented that he had proven once and for...

Rabbi Janet Marder
December 15, 2000

Do you have a childhood memory of sitting on the knee of some department store Santa Claus? I do. The memories come back to me as I stroll in the mall these days, surrounded by the trappings of the Christmas season. One rabbi I know has a name for the discomfort that some Jews feel at this time of the year -- our sense of being a minority engulfed by someone else's holiday. He calls it "Santa Claustrophobia."

Why do many parents - even some Jewish parents - tell their children about Santa Claus, want them to believe in...

Rabbi Janet Marder
December 8, 2000

I love Yiddish. Not only for its sound and its emotional texture, but for the special wisdom that resides in "di mameloshn." Take, for example, the term "shayne yidn." Literally it means "beautiful Jews." To Yiddish speakers a shayner yid isn't someone with lustrous hair, sparkling teeth and a great body. A shayner yid, a beautiful Jew, is a refined person, a cultivated person, a person of sterling character.

To me that little phrase captures a kernel of Jewish wisdom: the idea that true beauty, the beauty that matters, is inner beauty, beauty of heart and mind and...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 11, 2000

Peter Pitzele, who has become famous as the inventor of Jewish psychodrama, tells a story about a painful experience he had many years ago, when he was teaching at Brooklyn College. Pitzele had grown up the son of a self-made man who was also a self-hating Jew; an individualist who consciously sought to escape from his own origins. His father resisted "all forms of clannishness, tribalism and parochialism," distrusted "the panaceas of religion," disdained his fellow Jews as loud, pushy and vulgar. And so he raised a son, Peter Pitzele, who did his best to assimilate, who strove to be...

Rabbi Janet Marder
Yom Kippur 5760
October 9, 2000

A couple of years ago a Reform synagogue in the Pacific Northwest surveyed their third graders to see how they'd answer a very important question: "God -- what is He or She like?" The answers were charming. Here's a sampling: "I see a big huge man that we can see through him, and he has a big beard." One young man struggled with some theological contradictions: "God helps people. He looks like us, but bigger. He is in people but also he is all around the world, but still in heaven." Another was a poet: "God is a flower,...

Rabbi Janet Marder
October 6, 2000

Some years ago one of America's leading rabbis, a past president of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, was asked by a student to talk about Jewish spirituality, Jewish ways of relating to God. "The Jews have a very good relationship with God," the rabbi answered. "We don't bother God too much and God doesn't bother us."

The rabbi was using humor to defuse what was, for him, a very ticklish topic. And so it remains for many of us. All I learned about God, growing up, was a formula I learned by rote: "Baruch ata Adonai ...Blessed art Thou O Lord...

Pages

Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • (650) 493-4661 Contact Us

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).