Holiday & Key Sermons

2020/5781 High Holy Days

Rosh HaShanah Sermon

“At the Edge of Destruction and Creation”
Rabbi Hannah L. Goldstein

“Something’s not right.” It’s the message that pops up on my email when the internet connection is shaky or the program has trouble loading. I had never really noticed the alert- until around March. This was not just because there seems to be so much more email during the pandemic. Sometime in March, I was struck by the profundity of the message. Since then, every time it has popped up, I find myself emphatically agreeing…“You’ve got that right, Gmail. Something’s not right.” Read more.

Kol Nidrei Sermon

“The Torah of Perseverance”
Rabbi Jonathan Roos

What a way to start the new year. Justice Ginsburg’s death, literally on the cusp of 5781, cast a pall not only over services that night but augured poorly for the new year. Coming so close on the heels of John Lewis’ passing in July, you would be forgiven for thinking perhaps that God was trying to send a message before opening up the books for this Yom HaDin, this Day of Judgement. But trying to read current events for signs of God’s will are notoriously fraught – it’s not our theology and it’s a dangerous hubris. Read more.

Yom Kippur Sermon

Rabbi Noah Diamondstein

I love sports. My friends, I just love sports so much. Competitive sport, and especially team sports, is a central metaphor through which I see the world. I believe that a quite large portion of the most important life-lessons I ever learned were learned either on a playing-field or in the stands (or on the couch) watching a professional game. I learned about sportspersonship, responsibility, awareness, leadership, how to win with grace, and how to lose with dignity. Sports-watching, my wife will tell you, is just as much a ritual for me as fasting a couple times a year or lighting Shabbat candles. Read more.

2019/5780 High Holy Days

Sermons: Audio

Sermons: Text

Zichronot- The Power of Memory
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser | Erev Rosh HaShanah

The Honest and the Good
Rabbi Jonathan Roos | Rosh HaShanah Sanctuary

Why Be Jewish?
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser | Rosh HaShanah Bet Am

Good As Hell
Rabbi Hannah Goldstein | Rosh HaShanah Bethesda 

Antisemitism Sermon
Rabbi Jonathan Roos | Kol Nidrei 

Sharing Our Pain
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser | Yom Kippur Sanctuary

Day of Imagination
Rabbi Hannah Goldstein | Yom Kippur Bet Am

Text Only Sermons

Revelation in the Wilderness
Rabbi Hannah Goldstein
Friday, May 29, 2020

We are in the wilderness. Last night, we began our observance of Shavuot- the holiday that commemorates receiving Torah at Sinai. This festival celebrating revelation occurs just as we begin to read the book of Numbers- or Bamidbar in Hebrew. Bamidbar means “in the wilderness,” and it recounts the experience of the Israelites’ wandering between Egypt and the Promised Land. It is a period of growth and identity formation, a time of rebellion, and frustration. ” Read more.

“King of Israel”: Who Speaks for Us?
Rabbi Hannah Goldstein
Friday, August 23, 2019

This was a weird week. Every time I turned on the radio or glanced at the headlines, there was discussion of “Jews.” “King of Israel” trended on Twitter. On Tuesday, the president said in the Oval Office, that Jewish people voting for Democrats, “shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Read more.

2018/5779 High Holy Days

Sermons: Audio

Sermons: Text

Why Are We Here?
All Rabbis | Erev Rosh HaShanah

The Most Important Thing
Rabbi Jonathan Roos | Rosh HaShanah Sanctuary

Conquering Fear
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser | Rosh HaShanah Bet Am

Rosh HaShanah 5779
Rabbi Hannah Goldstein | Rosh HaShanah Bethesda

To Be Jewish, To Be Human
Rabbi Jonathan Roos | Kol Nidrei

Chesed (and Lawyers) Will Save Us
Rabbi Jonathan Roos | Yom Kippur Sanctuary

Practicing Patience
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser | Yom Kippur Bethesda

More High Holy Days

Underwear and Eyeglasses: Lessons from a Mensch
Rabbi Jonathan Roos
Rosh Hashanah 5775

I want to tell you a story about underwear and eyeglasses. It’s the story of Project Mensch. Let’s say that you are a volunteer in a DC Public School with a lot of poor students. You hear a story at the school about a little girl in the kindergarten who was particularly antsy in class. The school has a uniform and you can get in trouble for not wearing it, so she wears tights every day and she’s constantly pulling on them. She can’t sit still, which disrupted her class and made it hard for her to learn. The teacher, who has 25 maybe 30 students in the class, uses typical school discipline. But after a few weeks with no change, the teacher learns that this little girl can’t sit still because the only tights she owns are hand me downs that are far too big they are literally falling off her and what’s worse she’s almost never wearing underwear. She doesn’t have any – at least not clean or the right size. So, the teacher’s thinking about buying some for the student herself. How would you respond? Read more.

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