Rabbis Whose Sermons I Don’t Ever Need to Hear:
Rabbi Shefa Gold:
As we approach the season of turning, we…speak to ourselves this challenge…How can I tap into that underground river that flows beneath my feet?”
–as quoted in a Seattle Jewish Transcript advertisement for Congregation Eitz Or High Holiday Services
Rabbis Whose Sermons I Could Hear Again and Again
Rabbi Leonard Beerman (on guilt as a powerful positive force when harnessed for social good):
They say that guilt is bad. But I say they are wrong my friends–guilt is good and Jewish guilt is the best guilt of all!
Rabbi Naomi Levy delivered two of the most moving sermons I’ve ever heard in my life. The first was about a congregant who was raped while on her way to High Holiday services at the shul. She described her harrowing pastoral counseling sessions with this woman in which they pondered the nature of good and evil, why God punsihes the good or at least seems indifferent to evil, and other questions you don’t want to meet in a dark alley. This sermon is included in her book, To Begin Again. Levy has known personal tragedy herself when her father was murdered in a robbery. She was 15 years old at the time.
The second memorable sermon dealt with the synagogue’s exective director, who during the previous year absconded with $40,000 of the shul’s funds. Her sermon pulled no punches in examining her and the synagogue board’s moral, spiritual and legal culpability in having placed their trust and their finances in the hands of this individual, why they had not put in place safeguards that might have protected them from his actions and why they had not done a background check.