Rabbi Sendrow’s Sermons

Why Did God Create Hurricanes?: September 8, 2017: “…It’s another hurricane sermon tonight, but a very different one from last week’s. Tonight, I want to ask a question: why did God create hurricanes?…” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Us: September 1, 2017: “…I have a specific reason for talking about Stevie Ray tonight, and remember, the title is SRV and Us. To make the connection, I have to give you some backstory…” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Charlottesville: August 18, 2017: “…only a short week ago the title of this sermon would have made no sense to anyone. Now, not a soul in this sanctuary will not understand it. The title of my sermon tonight is ‘Charlottesville’…” Click here to read the entire sermon.

What God Do You Believe In?: June 2, 2017: “…A man is on his way to his daughter’s wedding in New York City, and he can’t find a place to park. The lots are full, there are no open spaces on the street, and he is running late. He is beginning to panic. If he is late for his own daughter’s wedding, she might never forgive him. So he offers a prayer…”  Click here to read the entire sermon.

Personal Reflections Upon the Conclusion of Kaddish: May 19, 2017: “…I lost my beloved mother, of blessed memory, on March 5, of 2015. I finished saying Kaddish for her in February of 2016. About four months later, I lost my father, alav ha-shalom. Just this week, I concluded the period of saying Kaddish for my father…” Click here to read the entire sermon and  Click here to listen to the entire sermon

Making A Difference: May 12, 2017:  “…this past week our son, Evan, graduated from the Indiana University School of Social Work. I was introduced to the Dean before the graduation, and he told me he was going to speak on making a difference, which is also my topic tonight…” Click here to read the entire sermon

AIPAC Policy Conference – The Four Most Moving Words: March 31, 2017:  “My friends, you may know that I spent the early part of this week at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington…..” Click here to read the entire sermon

February 10, 2017
Dear Friends,
Thank you for coming to this page to read one or more of my Friday night sermons. Unfortunately, some pinched nerves and floating ribs make typing very painful just now, so I am writing out my sermons by hand. I’ll return to typing and posting them as soon as I can, and I do hope to type up and post at least some of the ones I’ve written out. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and please do check back here again. If you would like to be notified when new sermons are posted, follow me on Twitter (@CSTRabbi). – Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow

Happiness & New Year’s Resolutions: December 23, 2016:  “…I am a great believer in New Year’s resolutions. I’m not talking about the intense self-inspection that we do leading up to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. I have a lighter approach to resolutions for the secular new year….” Click here to read the entire sermon

Where I Draw My December Line: December 16, 2016:  “…early in this sermon, some of you will smile and others will wince. I assure you that what will cause you to do so is only from the backstory that sets the stage for what I want to say tonight…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Why Did God Make Jews: December 9, 2016:  “…I can tell you with professorial certainty that the Christian Bible begins with the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The Jewish Bible, on the other hand, does not begin with Abraham…” Click here to read the entire sermon

How to Get 74 Likes on Facebook: November 25, 2016:  “…if you saw the sermon title I posted on Facebook and Twitter, it could have easily confused you. That’s why I made sure to mention that it had to do with Thanksgiving…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Loving God: November 18, 2016:  “…Stealing comes naturally so we are commanded not to steal. Loving God does not come naturally and so we need the commandment to tell us to love God…” Click here to read the entire sermon

After the Election: The RA & I: November 11, 2016:  “..the response to this election from my organization, the Rabbinical Assembly, and from this rabbi himself…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Is God Perfect: November 4, 2016:  “..I can remember being a little boy and believing that my parents, they should rest in peace, were all-knowing and all-powerful. I believed that they would have the answer to any question I asked. …” Click here to read the entire sermon

A World Series Life Lesson: November 6, 2015:  “..tonight I am going to speak about a life lesson we can learn from this  year’s World Series…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Abraham Shmabraham: October 2015:  “..my talk tonight is called, “Abraham Shmabraham. What’s So Great About Him?”…” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Happiness Equation: May 15, 2015:  “..My friends, for over twenty-five years I have been involved in pastoral counseling with congregants. I have heard almost every problem under the sun, but in all these years, no one has ever come to me and said, “Rabbi, I’m too happy. How can I be less so?”…” Click here to read the entire sermon

A New Case for God-One Big Bang is Never Enough: April 4, 2014:  “..Some of you baseball fans might remember the name Frank Pastore. He was a pitcher for sixteen years for the Cincinnati Reds, and finished his career with a year in Minnesota and finally in Texas. He was also a confirmed atheist…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Is God Perfect?: January 31, 2014: “…We do indeed have the habit of twisting ourselves into theological pretzels when it comes to defending God. Defending God is a practice that theologians call theodicy. But why should God need defending at all?…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Help Israel-Pick Up Your Phone: January 24, 2014: “…My friends, tonight I will be brief but I will speak about something that is very important. You may have seen my topic on Twitter or Facebook: “Help Israel—Pick Up Your Phone.” There is nothing more important I can do than help you help Israel…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Butler University Presents a Real Jew: August 30, 2013: “…I had assigned a short paper due on the first day of class, and I had students stand and read their papers. After hearing several students describe the small farm communities they were raised in (one was “predominantly white, well, completely white), a thought occurred to me. I asked a question, “Would you please raise your hand if I am the first rabbi you’ve ever met?”… Click here to read the entire sermon

Top Ten Benefits of Prisoner Release: August 2, 2013! : “Well, my friends, after three years, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are to resume next week. I have to tell you, I love the peace process. How could I not? It’s older than two of my children, one of whom is starting college in the fall…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Blackstone’s Formulation: Is It True?!: July 26, 2013: “So tonight’s sermon is really a question. There is something known as Blackstone’s Formulation, which says, “It is better that ten guilty escape than one innocent suffer.” … Click here to read the entire sermon

To Tell The Truth: July 12, 2013: “I know that most of you think I sit down in front of my computer and sermons flow forth from my fingers to the keyboard the way symphonies flowed from Mozart’s pen to paper...” Click here to read the entire sermon

One Thing G-d Cannot Do: July 5, 2013: “When someone tells me they do not believe in God, I usually ask them to tell me about the God they do not believe in. I usually get some version of the George Carlin’s description of God…” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Tale of Two Tallises; Or What is the First Question You Will Be Asked in Heaven: June 21, 2013: “It was the best of tallises, it was the worst of tallises, it was a display of wisdom, it was a display of foolishness…” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Paradox of Life, Death, and Jewish Leadership: June 14, 2013: “Our Torah reading tomorrow begins with the strange ritual of the red heifer. You can read about it in detail in Numbers 19. It goes on to deal with issues of ritual purity and impurity, which are probably not high on the priority list of most Conservative Jews in terms of their religious lives. But let’s unpack some of these things—time constraints will limit us to a superficial look at it—but I think we will uncover a paradox within our religion….” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Most Important Battle You Can Fight: June 7, 2013: “Some studying I was doing earlier in the week gave me the idea to send out a potential sermon topic and see what people thought. The response was quite good. The topic I suggested was “The Most Important Battle You Can Fight?,” and I asked people for their thoughts on what that might be...” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Messiah Came Today: May 31, 2013: “…My friends, I am sure at least some of you will be surprised to learn that the Messiah came today. I hope it goes without saying that I am not referring to Jesus of Nazareth. It is well known that Christians accepted him as the Messiah, and it is equally well known that Jews have not, so I trust I am not bruising anyone’s feelings here…” Click here to read the entire sermon

If It Weren’t For Bad Luck, Wouldn’t Have No Luck At All (Thank God): May 24, 2013: “…My friends, this Shabbat we read the Torah portion B’ha’alot’cha during services tomorrow. This is a special Shabbat for me. It was on the week we read B’ha’alot’cha from the Torah that I was ordained as a rabbi…” Click here to read the entire sermon

How’s Your Mom, a.k.a. The Power of Prayer, or What Kind of God Can You Live With?: May 17, 2013: “… I would like to begin tonight by thanking all of you who have written or emailed or verbally expressed words of support during my mother’s illness. To all who planned to ask me after services “How’s your Mom,” the answer is she is doing amazingly well…” Click here to read the entire sermon

I Agree with PETA (For Once): October 28, 2011: “…My friends, organizations tend to choose their names wisely. They choose names that give the impression that everyone would agree with the organizations’ causes. For example, Rabbis for Human Rights. What kind of rabbi is not for human rights?…” Click here to read the entire sermon

America’s Most Famous Arab: October 21, 2011: “…My friends, tonight I want to speak to you about the death of America’s most famous Arab.  Some have called him the most famous in the world…” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Blessing and Curse of Gilad Shalit: October 14, 2011: “…A Bat Mitzvah student arrived for her lesson this week very excited. She said, “You know that guy you always talk about?” Actually, I did not know who she meant, so she went on, “The soldier they captured. They’re letting him go.” In total disbelief, we went to my computer and confirmed that she was right. After five years in captivity, Gilad Shalit is being released…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Believing In God after the Shoah: September 23, 2011: “…How do you continue to believe in God after the Holocaust? If the questioner is asked why the Holocaust is an obstacle to believing in God, the response is almost always something like this: Because the Nazis murdered six million Jews. Tonight, I’ll respond to that answer…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Partners For Peace, Indeed: September 16, 2011: “…on September 11, we had a powerful, age appropriate memorial service to kick off our Sunday School year. Tonight, Iʼll talk about one more anniversary…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Militant or Terrorist: Does Language Matter?: September 9, 2011: “Dear friends, I spent yesterday in Washington, DC at an AIPAC summit for Midwest rabbis. I was surprised to hear some of the presenters refer to Mahmoud Abbas as Abu Mazen, literally the father of Mazen, which I understood to be a friendly nickname, even a term of endearment…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Two Problems: The Believersʼ and the Atheistsʼ: September 2, 2011: “My friends, I will be taking part in a debate this month. It is titled Good Without God?, and I will be debating a minister and an atheist. I would be very appreciative if you would attend—I think youʼll enjoy it, and I would welcome the moral support (no pun intended)…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Cemetery Vandalism: A Kaddish: August 26, 2011: “…My friends, as a Jewish Hoosier I was deeply hurt by the attack on two Jewish cemeteries on the south side of Indianapolis…” Click here to read the entire sermon

A Freakish Act of God?: August 19, 2011: “…I want to begin tonight by saying that although my talk tonight analyzes a remark made by Andy Klotz, it does not reflect on Mr. Klotz whatsoever…” Click here to read the entire sermon

If I Had To Pick One Torah Portion: August 12, 2011: “…Why would this be my choice? Not to denigrate other parshiyot, but this one has just about everything you need to learn in life…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Who Will Fight Against Israel: August 5, 2011: “My friends, this past week a watershed event took place in Egypt, the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak on charges of corruption and plotting to kill the protestors who were demanding that he resign. Hundreds of Egyptians filled the streets around the former police academy that had been named for Mubarak in which a makeshift courtroom had been prepared. Mubarak was wheeled in and placed in a steel defendantʼs cage, where he lay in a hospital bed during this first hearing…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Talking with Zar: Moral Boundaries: July 29, 2011: “There is nothing quite like talking with an old friend. My oldest and dearest friend is a fellow I have known since we were six or seven years old. My family was in the Philadelphia area this week, visiting my parents and my brother’s family. I got to see my old buddy as well, and we spend quite a while standing outside and talking one evening…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Does God Speak To You: July 22, 2011: “… tonight I am giving my answers to the following questions: Does God talk to you? If so, what does God say to you?” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Greatest Source of Pain in Life: July 15, 2011: “…I dedicate my talk tonight to Leiby Kletzky and his family. Tonight is undoubtedly the worst Shabbat of their lives as they grapple with the aftermath of this weekʼs tragic events.” Click here to read the entire sermon

I Hate DST: July 8, 2011: ” My friends, I will share one of my human failings with you tonight. I have real hatred in my heart. I hate Daylight Savings Time…” Click here to read the entire sermon

America, Bless God: July 1, 2011: “My friends, on this Shabbat preceding America’s highest holiday, I decided to collect some references to God by American Presidents..” Click here to read the entire sermon

Gilad Shalit and Delta Airlines: June 24, 2011: “My friends, this Shabbat is the fifth anniversary of the kidnapping by Hamas of IDF Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit. Kidnapped as a corporal, he was promoted to Staff Sgt. during his captivity…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Flight 990 – A bin Laden Redux: June 3, 2011: “…I spoke on this same topic the Friday after bin Laden was killed. In part, I said the following: I found that many people were conflicted about how to react to the killing of bin Laden…” Click here to read the entire sermon

When AIPAC Made Me Cry: May 27, 2011: “…My friends, this past Sunday through Tuesday was a very exciting and stimulating time for me. I was attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference…” Click here to read the entire sermon

What Happened to Civility?: May 13, 2011: “… I am still trying to increase the number of members who follow CST on Twitter. Those who do got a tweet from me this week saying that I had just heard the most disgusting commercial I had ever heard on the radio, and that I worry about how coarse we are becoming as a society…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Reactions to bin Laden’s Death: May 6, 2011: “…I found that many people were conflicted about how to react to the killing of bin Laden. There was a part of them that was glad he had been killed, and another part that wondered if it was right to be happy over the killing of any human being…” Click here to read the entire sermon

No Monarch, No Messiah: – April 29, 2011: “…I sent out a Tweet asking if a royal wedding was a Friday night sermon topic. I said it would need a Jewish angle, and asked if anyone could suggest one…”  Click here to read the entire sermon

Enough is Enough: – April 22, 2011: “…Iʼm sure you have heard the ancient Jewish joke about a husband and wife who decide to divorce after 65 years of marriage. The judge asks, “After all these years, why would you want to get divorced now?” And one of them responds, “Because, your Honor, enough is enough…” Click here to read the entire sermon

A New Birth of Freedom: – April 15, 2011: “…My friends, this Monday and Tuesday nights, and indeed for the entire holiday of Pesach, we remember Israelʼs first birth of freedom…” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Iron Dome: – April 1, 2011: “Tonight, you will leave here with a new layer of meaning regarding the word kippah, and a new image in your mind linked to references to Israelʼs famous dome...” Click here to read the entire sermon

Praying for Peace: I Did It My Way: – March 25, 2011: “My friends, today I was part of an interfaith service. It was originally conceived as a service praying for peace in the Middle East…” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Rabbi’s Speech: – March 1, 2011: “Tonight, the talk you are going to hear is titled ‘The Rabbiʼs Speech: Why I Took My Kids To an R-rated, Obscenity-laced Movie’…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Hate! Its a Big Mitzvah!: – March 4, 2011: “Religions tend to talk a lot about love. Although “God loves  you” might have a Christian ring to Jewish ears, it really shouldnʼt…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Two Apologies: A Rabbi’s Morning At the Statehouse – February 25, 2011: “I was invited to give the invocation before the Indiana House of Representatives this past Wednesday morning.  As you know, that was anything but a normal day at the Statehouse…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Oh Yeah Who Says – February 18, 2011: My friends, I have not spoken here very much about the man that I refer to when I use the words “my rabbi…” Click here to read the entire sermon

What Are You – February 11, 2011: “…For me, a more interesting question to ask in shul is this: do you consider yourself an American Jew, or a Jewish American? Of course we are both, but which would be your primary identity?” Click here to read the entire sermon

Super Bowl Commercials You Will Not See – February 4, 2011: “There is a newer aspect to Super Bowl Sunday that I want to talk about tonight. Itʼs the commercials…” Click here to read the entire sermon

Letterman Jews and the Nine Commandments – January 21, 2011: “…I have many things I want to touch on in a short time tonight: Cardiac Jews, Letterman Jews, the holiest and most important day on the Jewish calendar, what we stand for as Conservative Jews, the Nine Commandments, and a pet peeve of mine concerning a word that is regularly misused in English, not necessarily in that order.” Click here to read the entire sermon

The Wussification of America – January 7, 2011: “…I know you are Colt fans, but I would bet that many of you know what recently happened in Philadelphia vis a vis an NFL game between the Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. The NFL postponed the game from Sunday night until Tuesday night because of the snow expected in Philadelphia.” Click here to read the entire sermon

May God Make Me Like Who – December 17, 2010: “…Why do we pray that God should make our sons like Ephraim and Menasheh, as opposed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Why do we invoke the names of the matriarchs for our daughters, but do not invoke the names of the patriarchs for our sons?” Click here to read the entire sermon

Harry Potter, or Herschel – December 10, 2010: “…I would like to give you one rabbi’s views on the Harry Potter series of novels, and see if we can find any Jewish values contained therein.” Click here to read the entire sermon

Reflections on the Assassination of President Kennedy – November 19, 2010: ” …Between this Shabbat and the next comes November 22. Forty-seven years later, people still remember just where they were when they learned of the assassination of President Kennedy.” Click here to read the entire sermon

Remarks at Yitzhak Rabin’s Memorial – November 18, 2010: “On November 4 of 1995, I was in Washington, D.C. for a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism convention. It had been an incredible day—it was Shabbos, and if you have ever experienced Shabbos at a convention like that one, you know that the davening and learning experiences with so many other committed Jews are deeply moving and exciting. Then came the news of the Prime Minister’s assassination.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Remembering Rabin, November 12, 2010: “The year was 1994. I was a fairly new rabbi, having been ordained in 1992. History was going to be made in 1994, and the world would be able to watch it happen.”  Click here to read the entire sermon.

Indy Interfaith Redux, October 29, 2010: “My friends, I returned to Marian University last Sunday to take part in another interfaith service. I found this to be an even more powerful experience than my first interfaith service at Marian.”  Click here to read the entire sermon.

David Hazony on Dennis Prager, October 22, 2010: “Every rabbi needs a Dick Cavett Show. That probably makes sense to no one other than myself, so allow me to explain.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Religious But Ignorant, October 8, 2010: “This past week, I read about a poll taken by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. They asked over 3,400 Americans thirty-two questions about the Bible, world religions, historical figures, and Constitutional principles. What were the results? They were the proverbial good news and bad news.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Mentschmaker, Mentschmaker, October 1, 2010: “Hereʼs a piece of Jewish trivia for you: do you remember Yenta the matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof? Do you know who played Yenta on Broadway with Zero Mostel as Tevya?” Click here to read the entire sermon.

A Chance to Change the World, September 24, 2010: “My friends, I was listening to one of my favorite radio shows via podcast, and I was listening to the show several days after it had been broadcast. To my surprise and delight, one of the segments was devoted to the documentary 100 Voices: A Journey Home.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Choosing Life – Or Not, September 3, 2010 “I have a clear memory of a television show starring Bill Cosby that ran when I was a child, many years before the more famous Cosby Show made its debut. Bill Cosby played a gym teacher or a basketball coach, and the episode I clearly remember is about him needing another basketball.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Learning From Islam, August 27, 2010: “This was an interesting week, my friends, in the arena of interfaith relations. I took part in an interfaith service this past Monday at Marian University…” Click here to read the entire sermon.

After AIPAC, August 20, 2010: “Abraham Lincoln once said when he listened to preaching, he preferred preachers who looked like they were fighting off bees. I understand what he meant.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Crab Boat Wisdom, August 13, 2010:  : “My friends, in the computer age every sermon I write has a title, but usually that title functions only as a file name so I can save what I have written on the computer. Tonight, however, I will begin by sharing the title of this talk with you so that you have some sense of what to expect. My talk tonight in entitled Crab Boat Wisdom.” Click here to read the entire sermon.

Hoosier Rabbi, August 6, 2010: “As soon as our friends in Florida learned that we had accepted a pulpit in Indiana, the jokes began. What kind of jokes? Hoosier jokes…” Click here to read the entire sermon.