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.



Rabbi Janet Marder
Rosh Hashana 5763
September 6, 2002

We begin tonight with a telephone conversation that took place just a year ago. It was one of several hundred calls made from the twin towers in the last desperate minutes before they collapsed in the flames of hate.

"Mom," asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. "What was that explosion?" Twenty miles away, in Oceanside, New York, Arline Nussbaum could see on television what her son could not see from his office in Carr Futures, on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower. She recalls their last words: "The other tower just went down," Mrs. Nussbaum said. "Oh my God,"...

Rabbi Susan Lippe
June 21, 2002

The room was dark.

Rabbi Eleazar was still in bed.
His face turned toward the wall.
He couldn't even bring himself to look toward the window at life and light.

Rabbi Yochanan entered the room.
He looked down through the darkness at his friend.
Rabbi Yochanan pulled a chair to the side of the bed.
He hung his jacket on the back of the chair and sat down.

The rabbi prepared to sit in this heavy silence for a long time.
He began to roll up his sleeve.
His face reflected the darkness.

Rabbi Janet Marder
June 8, 2002

Like most people who grew up in the 60's and 70's, I'm a veteran of the culture wars. One war I particularly remember was the battle we fought in high school over dress codes. When I was in 12th grade I participated in a massive sit-in on the lawn to protest our school's "rigid and archaic" rules about what students could and could not wear to class. We had a short but forceful list of demands: girls should be allowed to wear pants and should not be required to wear hose; boys should be allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts....

Rabbi Janet Marder
June 1, 2002

One moment, in particular, captures for me the confirmation class of 5762. It was our last class of the year. We were supposed to be reaching agreement on some basic Jewish principles that all our students could affirm. We, the teachers, had thought - naively, perhaps, that there were a few simple, non-controversial items that our students would accept right away. Things like helping others, perhaps, or givingtzedaka, or maybe the idea that it's good to be a Jew. We soon learned that we were living in a dream. As soon as a principle was proposed, our students jumped instantly...

Rabbi Janet Marder
May 31, 2002

It took me a long time to appreciate abstract art. I first encountered it in junior high, when for some bizarre reason, I used to pick up random volumes of the encyclopedia and read through them. In volume 15 of the World Book there was a long article on "painting," with reproductions of all the great works of Western art. There I discovered modern classics like Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie" - vibrant geometric shapes of red, yellow and blue, bisected by black lines. Later, wandering through various art museums, I encountered Jackson Pollock's frenzied splatters of paint, Kandinsky's vivid,...

Rabbi Janet Marder
May 25, 2002

George Burns once said: "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family -- in another city." Jewish culture is rich in jokes about themishpokhe, the extended family - probably because family is at the heart of Jewish identity. In the old country, and in the early part of the 20th century, when hordes of Jewish immigrants crowded together in tenements, the generations lived together. Grandma or Grandpa might live with their children, or just upstairs in the duplex. Brothers and sisters would often grow up and move into houses in the same neighborhoods as their parents. When my mom...


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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).