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.



Josh Block
October 5, 2018

Good evening ladies and gentlemen (Rabbi Marder, the host committee,

and especially Helene Lipton and Joanne Donsky. It is

truly special to be home, here in Beth Am, and it is

wonderful to be joined my so many of you who have

played such a sustaining role my life and that of my


I’m honored to be with you tonight, and to be able to

start an important conversation with you. I promise we

can talk about the media, but first I want to ask you

something else.

What do you...

Rabbi Janet Marder
Shemini Atzeret Yizkor 5779
October 1, 2018

In a book called H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald describes a morning several years ago when she got up very early on a quest to see some wild birds. The area she visited, just north of Cambridge, is a protected domain set aside for endangered species, with a mix of pine forest and sandy heath. It’s one of the driest areas in England. Because of its harsh and desolate terrain, it’s called the Brecklands – literally, the broken lands.

She writes: “The day built itself. A sparrowhawk, light as a toy of balsa-wood…zipped past at knee level, kiting up...

Amy Asin
September 28, 2018

Thank you for the introduction.

And thank you for being here tonight.  I know that there are a lot of other places that you could be – it’s Sukkot for example and Shabbat dinner in a sukkah is really special.  There is also a Beer Walk in downtown Los Altos tonight, Devil’s Canyon Brewery in San Carlos has its weekly food truck night on Fridays, there’s a concert at Shoreline, the Dodgers and Giants open the final series of the regular season, and as of this writing, the Giants still were not eliminated from mathematically eliminating the Dodgers from the...

Rabbi Heath Watenmaker
September 21, 2018

On this Shabbat, after Yom Kippur and before Sukkot begins on Sunday night, I thought I’d share a story with you, an old Chassidic story from Eastern Europe. It’s a reminder of the importance of respecting our desire for solitude, and of our simultaneous human need for community and connection:

Everyone loved Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz. Wherever he went, he was surrounded. As he walked briskly to the synagogue early on Shabbat, his students would catch up to him to try to acquire a morsel of learning. As he sat in the synagogue praying, children would come and sit on...

Rabbi Sarah Weissman
Yom Kippur 5779
September 19, 2018

Before I begin, I want to let you know that the subject of my sermon this morning may be sensitive for some congregants as it makes reference to sexual assault. I’ll begin with a story from the Talmud:


Some captive women were rescued and brought to the house of Rav Amram the Pious. The women were taken up to his attic to sleep and the ladder was removed so that no one could go up to them. When any of the women passed by the entrance to...
Robin Stavisky
Yom Kippur 5779
September 19, 2018

When the rabbi first called to ask if I would be willing to speak at the Yom Kippur about the subject of forgiveness, I was taken aback. “Rabbi,” I said, “I am no exemplar of forgiveness!” “Good” she said. “Speak to that.”

This topic and occasion presented a challenge to me. Not only would it be my first time speaking before the entire congregation in my 30+ years as a member, but I don’t know if I could find a more difficult subject.  Moreover, she also requested I make it personal, not how we as Jews struggle with forgiveness, but...


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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).