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 Sarah Weissman
June 15, 2018

Thank you so much for your kind words, Rabbi Marder.  It has been a true blessing to be a rabbi here at Beth Am for these past ten years.  You have all welcomed me, taught me, and celebrated with me as I grew from a brand-new and very green rabbi into the model of wisdom, maturity, and gravitas that I am today.  You’ve welcomed my husband Eric and our son Maverick into the community with open arms, and you’ve given Eric the extra gift of letting him perform in the Purim shpiel every year.  We are so very grateful.  I’m...

Rabbi Janet Marder
June 15, 2018

It is written in the Talmud: A person should not say: “I will study the Torah so they will call me a ‘Sage’; I will study Mishna so they will call me ‘Rabbi’; I will review my studies so I will become an Elder and sit in the Academy.” Rather, learn out of love, and eventually the honor will come of its own accord [Nedarim 62a].

This passage in the Talmud is concerned with the proper motivation for Jewish study. As the medieval commentary Tosafot says, it should come from love of the Creator, not from the desire for praise,...

Lorri Ford
June 9, 2018
On the no longer ticking
   side of my twin-faced
   wristwatch it’s always
   five o’clock in Paris.
The hour-and-minute hands
    are stuck.
The ticking side
    keeps perfect Eastern Standard 
    If asked the hour anywhere, 
    I’d like to say, “It’s five o’clock
    in Paris.”
            I won’t, of course.
    Wit and the myths of punctuality 
    that rule our lives do not often mix…
But five o’clock in Paris resurrects
    an evening that was just...
Rabbi Heath Watenmaker
June 8, 2018

After forty days of waiting, wondering what the future might hold, the scouts finally returned to the Israelites camped in the wilderness of Paran. Moses had sent twelve scouts to survey the land of Canaan, not too much further from their camp, to determine what lay ahead and whether or not it was, in fact, a “Promised Land.” At first, their report seemed to indicate a land of true promise and possibility: “We came to  the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit,” at which point they...

June 2, 2018


Okay -- so here I am.  What ever possessed me to do this?  Certainly my mother and father didn't make me do it -- now -- or then.  It's my understanding that Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan who started the Reconstructionist Movement -- his daughter was the first bat mitzvah in the U.S. around 1935.  But, growing up orthodox, girls weren't expected to or for that matter allowed to become a bat mitzvah.  So what brought me to this moment?  What has been my path?  My motivation?  I really don't know.  I was quick to latch onto the controversial idea...

Rabbi Janet Marder
June 1, 2018

Today, in 2018, more than 7000 languages are spoken on this planet. Among them are Arabic and Hebrew -- two distinct, mutually unintelligible tongues, though both belong to the larger family of Semitic languages and have structural similarities. Several words – especially those related to essential elements of human life – are virtually identical in the two languages. Such words are primitive remnants of a time before the two split apart, perhaps 6,000 years ago.  Words like “mother,” “father,” “sister,” “brother,” “daughter,” and “son”; words like “head” and “hand,”  “blood” and “bone.” Words like “day,” “night,” “water,” “earth,” and “sky.”...


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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).