Listen to Selected Sermons from CBI Shabbat and Festival Services

Michael Z. Cahana

Senior Rabbi

sermon-2And this our life, exempt from human haunt, 

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

      - William Shakespeare
        “As You Like It” Act II, Scene I

The rabbi’s voice is given freedom and responsibility in a synagogue. This is deeply felt here at Congregation Beth Israel. There is great honor to speak in the very congregation where Rabbi Stephen S. Wise began his career and formulated his thesis of a “free pulpit.” Fifty-four years later, my predecessor, Rabbi Emanuel Rose, came to this congregation and carried forth that ideal of speaking bravely and freely. For over four decades he spoke words of social justice from this pulpit.

In this era, many, if not most, of us feel disconnected from the Divine Presence. It is my desire to use words of Torah and the tradition of Jewish teachings to demand justice and to inspire a personal connection with holiness. I believe that there is joy and meaning to be found by changing the world and by touching the ineffable.

On this page, I share with you a diverse sample of sermons. I hope it gives a taste of our shared journey here at Congregation Beth Israel.

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Select Sermons

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Sermon Texts

2017/5778 High Holiday Sermons

Rabbi Cahana's Kol Nidre SermonSanctuary

Rabbi Cahana's Rosh Hashanah Morning SermonSummer of Love / Summer of Hate – Love is What We Need

Rabbi Joseph's Erev Rosh Hashanah SermonDon't let the Fear keep you from the Joy


Sermons from Past Years

Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana
Senior Rabbi

5777/2016 Rosh Hashanah Morning SermonWelcome Home - Finding Life's Meaning Together

5777/2016 Kol Nidre SermonSh’ma Yisrael – Why Can’t We Listen? Black Lives Matter and a People in Pain

5776/2015 Kol Nidre SermonFor the Sake of Heaven

5776/2015 Rosh Hashanah Morning SermonG-d is still speaking - Climate Change

5775/2014 Kol Nidre SermonFacing Israel - The Struggle for Hope

5775/2014 Rosh Hashanah Morning SermonOur Struggle with G-d

5774/2013 Kol Nidre Sermon Text
Cast a Giant Shadow

5774/2013 Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon Text
Relational Judaism

5774/2013 Prayer at the start of a New Year
Prayer read at the beginning of Erev Rosh Hashanah Service

The Battle for Gun Control - We Are Better than That.

The Battle for Gun Control

5773 Kol Nidre Sermon Text
Israel - Challenges and Family

5773 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon Text
Rabbi Sputnik and the Dreams of a Generation

5772 Kol Nidre Sermon Text
The Jewish State

5772 Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon Text
Marriage Equality

5772 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon Text
We are Broken but We are Valued

Rabbi Rachel L. Joseph
Assistant Rabbi

5777/2016 Erev Rosh Hashanah SermonAgents of Hope

5776/2015 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon: Hineni

5775/2014 Rosh Hashanah Evening Sermon 5775/2014: We Are Shattered Vessels

5774/2013 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon Text
Ani Ma’amin' - I Believe

5773 Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon Text
Transformational Judaism

Cantor Ida Rae Cahana
Senior Cantor

5772 Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon Text
Hineini. Shofarot: Be present, pay attention to the moment

5772 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon Text
Remember who you wanted to be