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
November 16, 2001

Some of the greatest minds of our time have taken a very dim view of religion. Said Clarence Darrow: "I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose." And Mark Twain said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." "The most common of all follies," wrote H.L. Mencken, "is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind." But it isn't just curmudgeons who think that religion is basically a bunch of fairy tales.

In a recent book called "How the Mind Works," the eminent MIT professor Steven Pinker wonders...

Rabbi Janet Marder
November 9, 2001

I didn't want to get on the airplane. There was a meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New York City earlier this week, and because I am Vice President of the organization, I was supposed to be there. It would be the first time I had flown since September 11, and I was nervous. I talked to several people about how I was feeling. They all told me I was being irrational - that it was riskier to get in my car than to get on a plane, that this was probably the safest time to fly,...

Rabbi Susan Lippe
Sukkot, 5761
October 6, 2001

I live in a Dream World.

I'm a Jewish Educator.
I fantasize about efficient, educative tzedakah collection.
I dream about a perfect Sunday Program Schedule.
I spend time imagining the best Judaica curriculum for fifth graders.

And I always expect other people
To get excited
about Jewish education too.

Every time other people laugh at my
enthusiastic preoccupations,
I'm surprised.

When people aren't as excited as I am,
they often find my excitement
mysterious or amusing.

"That-enthusiastic-Jewish-educator
dreams about homemade-Haggadot?
...

Rabbi Josh Zweiback
September 27, 2001

Shanah Tovah. Good yontif.

My wife Jacqueline and I just celebrated our fifth anniversary. We marked the day as we usually do by going out for a nice dinner and a movie and then coming home to watch our wedding video.

Now, I did not even want a video made of our wedding. I didn't want the videographers swarming about--I thought it would take away from the experience. Every year as we sit enjoying the memories of that special day I'm reminded of how wrong I was.

The video is precious to us for a few reasons. It helps us...

Rabbi Susan Lippe
September 27, 2001

One Congregant wrote an angry letter to the Rabbi.

The Congregant complained:
"No matter what I do, I cannot reach God.
I attend synagogue.
I study.
I meditate.
I bless before I eat. I even buy kosher food.
No matter how hard I pray,
I cannot get God to listen to me.
I cannot bring God into my life."
The Rabbi read this letter with intense concentration and then returned it.
When the Congregant opened the envelope, he saw red.
With a red pen, the Rabbi had...

Rabbi Janet Marder
September 22, 2001

An old Yiddish proverb says, "Men tracht un Got lacht." Freely translated, it means "the best way to make God laugh is to tell Her your plans." Like many Yiddish proverbs, it has its funny side, but there's an edge to it. It recognizes that the universe is still in many ways impenetrable. We can chart the structure of the genome; we can chart the courses of the stars; but we can't come close to mapping out the future. We make our plans; we strategize and build and set up structures of meaning, and then life comes along and blows...

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Congregation Beth Am
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  • (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).