Why do we have a sermon in our service? What is its origin?

by Congregant Liz Gellis

Preaching in the synagogue dates to after the fall of Jerusalem in the 6th century BCE. The Israelites were exiled to Babylonia after the destruction of the first Temple and the synagogue came into being. Originally, it is believed that the synagogue was an assembly of believing exiled Israelites and it is presumed that the sermon began to be molded.

The ability to deliver an inspiring sermon is generally considered to be a core function of the pulpit rabbi. Is that still the case?

You may know that Cantor Marci has been writing a weekly sermon as part of her rabbinic studies. We have been fortunate to hear them  almost every week. The students in the cantor’s rabbinic class listen to five to eight sermons weekly. They hear each other’s styles and interpretations of the Torah, and encourage and critique the sermons. The school itself has been most helpful in providing good resources and Cantor Marci has found rabbis with whom she relates who share their expertise and whose work she consults.

When you listen to a sermon whether it is at the JCV or elsewhere think about its beautiful history in Judaism and in particular the words spoken by our spiritual leader.

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