Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

Rabbi Alpert’s High Holy Days Sermons 5781

by Jaymee Alpert on September 22, 2020

If you would like to reflect on Rabbi Alpert’s High Holy Day messages, the PDF files of her sermons are available for you to read below and view on YouTube. While viewing the video on YouTube, if you’ve not yet done so, please scroll down and click Subscribe!


Rosh Hashanah Day 1
Turning a Crack Into a Rose
To ... Read more »

Building Outer Parapets and Taking Inner Parapets Down

by Jaymee Alpert on September 2, 2020

Parashat Ki Tetzei contains more than 10% of the Torah’s laws – by some counts there are 72 mitzvot and by others there are 74 mitzvot in this morning’s parashah.  There are laws about human dignity, laws about divorce, laws about rape, kidnapping, building houses, paying workers on time, and waging wars.  

This morning I would like to focus on one specific law.  Deuteronomy, ... Read more »

August 1, 2020, Nachamu – Finding Comfort

by Jaymee Alpert on August 5, 2020

August 1, 2020, Nachamu – Finding Comfort

On Wednesday night and Thursday of this past week, we observed Tisha b’Av – a day of fasting and mourning the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem, as well as a number of other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish People over the centuries.  Even with anti-Semitism on the rise – again, or ... Read more »

Moses’ “I Give Up” Moment

by Jaymee Alpert on July 1, 2020

6.27.20. Korach. Moses’ “I Give Up” Moment

This morning, we read from the parashah entitled Korach.  Korach is a rabble-rouser who sees himself as equal to Moses and Aaron.  Korach stages a rebellion, he is outspoken and arrogant; he doesn’t handle himself in a respectful way, but he does raise some good points.  And in fact, there is a bit ... Read more »

6.13.20. B’ha’alotkha, 14th Week

by Jaymee Alpert on June 18, 2020

6/13/20 B’ha’alotkha, 14th Week

Parashat B’ha’alotkha has so much in it, and this year, it seems that many of its lessons speak directly to us, because this Torah portion gives us a window into the daily lives of the Israelites during their time in the wilderness.  If this sounds like a familiar theme, it is.  Even though we read the ... Read more »

A Message for These Times

by Jaymee Alpert on June 9, 2020

This sermon was given on Saturday, June 6, 2020

Dear Friend, 

What an impossibly long and difficult week.  Again.  It has been 12 days since George Floyd was murdered by the police on May 25, and over the past nearly two weeks, we have experienced protests across the country.  Some have been peaceful, some have resulted in violence.  Some police ... Read more »

What Makes a Person “Holy”?

by Jaymee Alpert on May 6, 2020

Dear Friend,

I hope you are managing as well as possible.  I continue to be inspired by your ability to be flexible and patient, as well as to adjust to our current situation.  Since Shelter-In-Place began about eight weeks ago, Congregation Beth David has found new ways to gather and to check in on one another.  It is clear that ... Read more »


by Jaymee Alpert on April 7, 2020

Dear Friend, 
Many of you asked for a copy of my sermon from this past Shabbat. It is pasted below. I encourage everyone to heed its message that what ever you can do to honor the traditions of Passover in these trying times, is “enough”.

4.4.20. Shabbat HaGadol, Tzav
Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

Today is Shabbat HaGadol – the Shabbat immediately before ... Read more »

Dear Friend,

It is hard to believe that we have been physically distant for more than two weeks and there are still several weeks ahead.  I have been amazed by how quickly Congregation Beth David has been able to become a virtual community.  There are regular gatherings, classes, and services happening every day.  There is a team of people calling ... Read more »

Staying Connected During These Difficult Times

by Jaymee Alpert on March 17, 2020

Dear Friend,

During this difficult and constantly changing time of social distancing and isolation, I want you to know that Congregation Beth David is here for you.  We are working to move as many of our offerings as possible online, so that we will be able to connect with one another and to be in community, even when we must ... Read more »

Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Alpert

by Jaymee Alpert on March 13, 2020

My Friend,

It has been a long and difficult week with continuously changing circumstances, and plenty of anxiety.  By now you have received many emails from Congregation Beth David with updated information and all of the changes we have been trying to address.  Earlier this week, we had to cancel the kiddush lunch following Shabbat morning services, and a few ... Read more »

COVID-19 – Programming at Beth David

by Jaymee Alpert on March 12, 2020

As of March 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

Considering the additional guidelines released by Santa Clara County Public Health on March 10, we are making the following adjustments to our upcoming schedule and practices.

In order to continue to be a supportive community in this time of stress and uncertainty, Shabbat Services, Netivot, Daily Minyan, Religious School, Tot Shabbat and ... Read more »

On the last Shabbat of each Jewish month, we recite a blessing called Birkat HaChodesh over the new month ahead. The blessing is based on the words that Rav, an early Talmudic rabbi, used to say at the end of his Amidah (Berachot 16b):

May it be Your will,
Adonai our God and God of our ancestors,
to reawaken ... Read more »

Gratitude and Blessings on Thanksgiving

by Jaymee Alpert on December 3, 2019

Gratitude and Blessings on Thanksgiving

In this past Sunday’s New York Times, David DeSteno wrote an opinion editorial entitled, “Why Gratitude is Wasted on Thanksgiving.”  DeSteno, a psychologist who has spent years studying how gratitude shapes people’s lives, writes the following, “truth be told, gratitude is wasted on Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong: I love the rhythms and rituals of ... Read more »

High Holy Days Sermons 5781

by Jaymee Alpert on November 4, 2019

If you would like to reflect on Rabbi Alpert’s High Holy Day messages, the sermons are available for you to read.


Rosh Hashanah Day 1
Turning a Crack Into a Rose
To follow along with Rabbi Alpert on our YouTube video please click here: https://youtu.be/Ipika9M1i4w?t=4467 This will begin the recording at Rabbi Alpert’s sermon.
While on viewing the video ... Read more »

How One or Two Changes Can Have a Big Impact

by Jaymee Alpert on September 26, 2019

At this time of the year, we tend to have high expectations. During the High Holy Day season, we turn over a new leaf as we pray that we will become the best person we possibly can be. We might not have a plan for how to make incremental changes in our lives, but as we reflect on the words ... Read more »

Writing an Ethical Will for Selichot

by Jaymee Alpert on August 29, 2019

Last year on Yom Kippur, I spoke about ethical wills. According to celebrationsoflife.net, an ethical will, or in Hebrew, a tz’a-va’ah is “a way to share your values, blessings, life’s lessons, hopes and dreams for the future, love, and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community. An ethical will is not a legal document; it does not distribute your material ... Read more »

I want to hear from you…

by Jaymee Alpert on July 3, 2019

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since Danny and I moved to California, and you welcomed us into the community.  What a year it has been!  Thank you for being patient with me as I have tried to learn your names (I still have work to do), to learn the culture of Beth ... Read more »

Rabbi Alpert Wants to Hear from You…

Rabbi Alpert is eager to hear your thoughts on the year that has passed since she joined Beth David as well as what you might like to see happen in the future. Join her for coffee or a glass of wine

Coffee with Rabbi Alpert
Friday, July 12 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Peet’s, ... Read more »

Reinvigorating Friday Night Services

by Jaymee Alpert on June 5, 2019

In my very first D’var article, one year ago, I shared one of my favorite liturgical passages.  It is the one I use as both a reminder and a guide that every day, we are granted a new beginning.  Each morning before the Shema, we say “u’v’tuvo m’chadesh b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh v’reisheet – Day after day in ... Read more »

Kedoshim and LGBTQ Relationships

by Jaymee Alpert on May 16, 2019

Kedoshim and LGBTQ Relationships

Our parashah this morning, Parashat Kedoshim, contains many different ways to become holy.  The word Kedoshim means holy, and the Torah portion opens with God speaking to Moses saying, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them:  You shall be holy, for I, Adonai your God, am holy.”  That’s a powerful message – ... Read more »

Adding Traditions on Shabbat Morning

by Jaymee Alpert on May 9, 2019

Over the last few weeks, we have incorporated two new traditions into our Shabbat morning services.  We have begun calling two people to the Torah to share an aliyah under certain circumstances, and we have added the opportunity to bensch gomel (recite the prayer for recovering and/or emerging from a dangerous situation) as a group. 

Here is more explanation:

There ... Read more »

Metzora, Shabbat HaGadol, Homelessness – 4/13/19

by Jaymee Alpert on April 24, 2019

Parashat Metzora, much like last week’s parashah – Tazria, is one of those parshiot that is really tough for moderns / post-moderns to understand.  It’s gross, it’s icky, it deals with skin disease, bodily fluids and emissions – lots of things we don’t discuss in polite company let alone from the bimah.  And yet, each year, Parashat Metzora comes around, ... Read more »

Preparing for Passover

by Jaymee Alpert on April 4, 2019

On Shabbat HaChodesh, the Shabbat on or immediately preceding the month of Nisan – the month in which we celebrate Passover, we read a special maftir portion from the Torah (Exodus12:1-20).  This year, Shabbat HaChodesh falls on April 6, and it is also Rosh Chodesh Nisan.  The maftir contains a description of Passover, and it is a good ... Read more »

3.16.19. Shabbat Zachor, New Zealand

by Jaymee Alpert on March 20, 2019

3.16.19. Shabbat Zachor, New Zealand

On Wednesday night we will come together to celebrate Purim.  Purim is a time to let loose – it’s holiday where the normal rules don’t apply.  It is not a holiday of moderation, rather it’s a time to be silly, to dress up, to maybe get a little tipsy, to make noise, and to have ... Read more »