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
April 28, 2002

State of the Congregation

"Ma tovu ohalecha Ya'akov. How good, how beautiful are your tents, O Jacob." Traditional words for entering the sanctuary, for giving thanks to be standing in a holy place. We gather this afternoon in a sanctuary encircled by walls of glass, designed to evoke the ancient tents of our ancestors in the wilderness. For many years this has been a tent of tranquility, its brilliant windows opening our eyes to the stillness and serenity of the natural world around us. Sunlight pours through these windows; golden sunsets set them aglow; through them we have seen...

Rabbi Janet Marder
April 20, 2002

On March 12, 1911, the body of a 12 year old Russian boy was discovered in a cave on the outskirts of Kiev. The local right-wing press immediately launched a campaign accusing the Jews of using the boy's blood for ritual purposes. At the boy's funeral, leaflets publicizing the blood libel were handed out. Meanwhile, the police investigation traced the boy's murder to a notorious gang of thieves. But the chief district attorney of Kiev disregarded the police information and instead decided to pursue the case as a ritual murder charge.

In July, 1911, a lamplighter testified that...

Rabbi Janet Marder
Pesach Yizkor
April 3, 2002

By the seventh day of Passover, I've had a bellyful of matzah. I've eaten it in all kinds of forms this week: matzah balls and matzah brei, matzah kugel and matzah meal rolls, as well as a delicacy I only learned about when I got married: gabritte matzah, a speciality of the Marder men, which seems to consist of matzah pieces soaked in hot water, salted and eaten with scoops of cottage cheese.

During this week of deprivation, I seem to think about food more than any other week of the year. I remember the seders of my childhood,...

Rabbi Josh Zweiback
March 30, 2002

Yael, the oldest daughter of my friends Leon and Bruria, turned four on March 12. I happened to be in Israel at the time so I had the pleasure of celebrating this birthday with her atgan, at her Israeli pre-school.

What a break from an otherwise tense week of suicide bombings in Jerusalem. There in Nataf, about 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem on the way to Tel Aviv, everything was quiet and peaceful.

Yael's birthday party was great fun. Theganenet, the preschool teacher, sang all of her favorite songs. Her parents acted out her favorite book,Tiras Cham, "Hot Corn," whose...

Rabbi Janet Marder
March 23, 2002

One of my favorite places to get away is the Elizabeth Gamble community garden. It's a green oasis on Waverly Street in the heart of Palo Alto. You can hear the noise of traffic on the surrounding streets, but if you sit very still on a quiet afternoon and focus your eyes on the flowers you can forget you're in the middle of a city.

A young boy is lying on the floor of the gazebo doing his math homework, his scooter lying nearby. The flowerbeds, quiet all winter, are beginning to heat up as spring arrives. There are irises,...

Rabbi Janet Marder
March 1, 2002

Two women scientists were talking about stress one day in a lab at UCLA. One joked to the other that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded with one another. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own." The scientists noted that almost 90% of the research on stress had been done on males, and decided to launch a new study focusing on women. The results of their landmark study, recently published, suggest that women respond to stress "with a cascade of brain...


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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).