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
June 14, 2019

How to fry an egg on the sidewalk in five easy steps: Step one: Wait for a really, really hot day. Make sure the sun is blazing, with no clouds in the sky. Step two: Take an egg out of the refrigerator. Let it sit around until it’s room temperature. Step Three: spread out some tin foil or set a metal pan in direct sunlight and let it heat up for at least 20 minutes. Step four: crack an egg onto the metal – try to keep the yolk intact – then stand around and wait for quite a while,...

Rabbi Janet Marder
June 9, 2019

The song came into our lives 26 years ago, in May of 1993. It was written by Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, who said the song was inspired by the view from his 16th century manor house in rural southwest England. “Our house is surrounded by barley fields,” he wrote. “In the summer it's fascinating to watch the wind moving over the shimmering surface, like waves on an ocean of gold.”

Today we heard the version sung by Eva Cassidy, whose acoustic guitar and “silken soprano voice” [NY Times Aug.12, 2002] convey a haunting blend of yearning...

Tyler Gregory, Executive Director of A Wider Bridge
June 7, 2019

In honor of Pride Month, Beth Am welcomed Tyler Gregory, Executive Director of A Wider Bridge (AWB) -- the LGBTQ organization building support for Israel and LGBTQ Israelis. Increasingly in recent years, supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement have targeted LGBTQ  communities and leaders by pushing a false narrative of “pinkwashing” – dismissing Israel’s strong record on LGBTQ rights (all of which were achieved through decades of community struggle), as a mere cover-up for issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Gregory will discuss the important work of AWB in directly engaging North American LGBTQ leaders with...

Rabbi Sarah Weissman
May 31, 2019
Next weekend we will celebrate Shavuot, the festival that commemorates Matan Torah, the giving of Torah.  Jews around the world will welcome in the holiday by staying up all night studying Torah.  Part of the magic of the Tikkun Leil Shavuot, the all-night study session, is the sense of excitement and anticipation.   After counting the fifty days between Passover and Shavuot, and after staying up all night, we arrive at the culminating event in the Jewish story, the revelation of Torah on Mt. Sinai.  
You won’t be surprised to hear that there are numerous midrashim - rabbinic legends -...
Rabbi Janet Marder
May 24, 2019


“In the lovely month of May when all the buds were bursting, then in my heart did love arise….” Thus begins a lyric poem by Heinrich Heine, beautifully set to music by Robert Schumann. The month of May does seem meant for lovers – with newly-green landscapes refreshed by rain, trees in blossom and carpets of flowers.

In fact, the month of May is full of holidays that are all about love. You can show your love for your mother, not just on Mother’s Day, but on “National Clean Up Your Room Day,” observed annually on May 10th....

Rabbi Heath Watenmaker
May 17, 2019

On July 27, 1656, the Talmud Torah congregation of Amsterdam excommunicated Bento Spinoza (or Baruch, as he would have been called in Hebrew in the Portuguese community’s synagogue—the names both mean “blessed”), a 23-year-old-businessman who had developed a reputation for having rather radical ideas. In the decree of cherem, religious excommunication from the Jewish community, the leaders of his congregation wrote:

The Senhores of the ma’amad [the congregation’s lay governing board] having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Spinoza, have endeavored by various means and promises to turn him from his evil ways. However,...


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