Sermons | Congregation Beth Am





Rabbi Sarah Weissman
November 18, 2016

For some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about Sodom and Gomorrah.  The story of God literally raining down punishment in the form of fire and brimstone on a community because it has strayed so far from the right path feels appropriate these days.  It also happens to be in this week’s Torah portion, Vayera.  So it’s a good opportunity for us to see whether a closer look at this famous story might yield some wisdom for how to navigate these difficult and tumultuous days. 

God says, “The outrage of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so...

Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit
November 11, 2016

There is a great joke which I’ve told before. Since I am a Rabbi, repeat jokes are part of my DNA. It’s about a man converting to Judaism. The man decided to talk to one of his Jewish friends about the conversion. They have a wonderful discussion about all things Jewish, and as the friends are about depart, the potential convert leans over and ask his friend one of his only lingering questions regarding circumcision. His friend replies, I don’t remember much about it, but I do know that it was so traumatic that afterwards I couldn’t walk or talk...

Rabbi Janet Marder
October 21, 2016

The other day I went out into the sukkah for a little bit of quiet, but my yard was full of sounds. The breeze rustled through the bushes. The squirrels were chattering about something or other; jays were screeching overhead in the redwood. Bees were buzzing in the bottlebrush; smaller chirps and cheeps came at me from all around. I guess the critters didn’t get my memo – the one that said, “Hey, quiet down – I’m looking for inner peace.”

Or maybe I’m the one that didn’t get the memo; the one that says, “Hey – stop sending memos...

Rabbi Sarah Weissman
Yom Kippur 5777
October 12, 2016

What would you spend hours in the freezing snow for?  To see your favorite band in concert or your favorite team play in the Super Bowl?  To buy the newest iPhone or a new Harry Potter book?  To meet a lifelong hero?  It would have to be something worth the time and effort, not to mention the discomfort.  It would have to be something you truly loved, right? 

Two thousand years ago there lived a very poor man, a humble Jew who earned his living as a woodcutter.  His name was Hillel and he loved to study.  Hillel was born...

Rabbi Janet Marder
Erev Yom Kippur 5777
October 11, 2016

Fifteen miles west of the center of Berlin is the quiet, leafy suburb of Wannsee. Each summer, thousands flock to its beautiful lake, fringed by woods and greenery. Yachts and sailboats cruise its cool, shimmering waters; sunbathers enjoy its mile-long beach, filled with white sand imported from the Baltic coast.

On the shores of Lake Wannsee stands Wannsee House, an elegant villa built in 1914 by a German pharmaceutical executive. Symmetrical in design, surrounded by spacious lawns, flower beds and terraced gardens, the house’s back windows offer stunning views of the lake. In this idyllic setting, on January 20, 1942,...

Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit
Rosh Hashanah 5777
October 3, 2016

There was once a king who had plans to visit a town in his kingdom. In preparation for the king’s visit, the town decided to fill a giant barrel with wine and present it to the king upon his arrival. Where were they going to get so much wine to fill the giant barrel? They came up with a brilliant idea; each family of the town would bring one flask filled with wine and pour it into the giant barrel and this way the barrel would fill with wine.

They placed a giant barrel in the center of the town...


Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • (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).