Sign In Forgot Password

Rabbi Joshua Hoffman Sermons

03/04/2020 10:58:40 PM


Holding on and Letting Go: Yom Kippur 2016/5777

10/21/2016 11:56:35 AM


Holding on and Letting Go: Yom Kippur 2016/5777  

Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

Summertime in our family has been filled with the tunes from the Broadway musical, Hamilton.  Plays and replays have etched the lyrics of the show into my mind, sometimes waking me up even before the first cup of coffee or stepping onto the exercise machine. “Look around, look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now!” These...Read more...

Now Is The Time - Rosh Hashanah 2016/5777

06/10/2016 12:37:11 PM


Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

Rabbi Hoffman

"Now Is The Time"

Chaim is on his deathbed, resting as his daughter sits dutifully by his side. Chaim perks up and says, “Is that noodle kugel? I smell noodle kugel.” His daughter responds, “Yeah, Mom is making some kugel.” The curtain...Read more...

Je Suis Juif - I am Jewish, Rosh Hashanah, 2015/5776

09/24/2015 04:10:35 PM


Rabbi Hoffman

Je Suis Juif - I am Jewish
Rabbi Joshua Hoffman
Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA

A Jewish man is disgusted with his faith, decides to leave the Jewish world behind, and join a monastery.  He...Read more...

Baruch Atah - You Are Praised: Yom Kippur 2017/5778

04/06/2015 03:54:55 PM


Baruch Atah - You Are Praised-Rabbi Joshua Hoffman
Yom Kippur 5778

Hillel the Elder wasn’t born the great sage of Israel or the key founder of our rabbinic tradition.  The legend has it that the poor student would garner just enough wages each day to provide sustenance for his body and to pay his entrance into the Beit Midrash, where study of the richness of Jewish tradition was found. One one occasion,...Read more...

The Right of Passage - From Rite to Right

04/06/2015 07:47:33 AM


Rosh Hashana 2004 – 5765 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

On a warm summer evening, groups of boys throughout this country are led through twisted mazes of trees and brush away from the camping areas they traveled miles far from home to reach. Upon arriving to the site, the flames of a centrally located bonfire wisp to and fro as they are fanned by the gentle breeze. Small groups form around the fire, and the Boy Scout elders begin to charge...Read more...

The Paradoxes of Yom Kippur

04/06/2015 07:47:05 AM


Kol Nidre 2004 – 5765 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

There is a story about a young boy who enters a sacred space - just like this one - to pray in his community - just like we are now - on Yom Kippur. He cannot speak - he cannot read - he does not have the capacity to understand the complexities that the Yom Kippur liturgy encourages us to explore. He comes to the sanctuary with his flute - the only instrument he has to express himself....Read more...

Israel - Is Real?

04/06/2015 07:46:39 AM


Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur 5767 – 2006 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

Here is something real. This is a piece of a Katyusha Rocket launched on Northern Israel by Hizbullah. It may appear small to you, but the sharp edges of this coarse material conceived by man and fashioned by machine can maim and kill. Like its shape and size seem so insignificant to you now, its existence is almost surreal. This little scrap easily grasped in my hand...Read more...

Who Is Trusted?

04/06/2015 07:46:12 AM


Rosh Hashana 2005 – 5766 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

Having never experienced nighttime before, Adam and Eve must have been quite anxious and full of fear as they witnessed their first sunset. One teaching has it that as the darkness approached and began to cast shadows over his face, the man thought to himself, 'I am doomed! Because of my sin, the world is darkened. It will become void and without form once again. This is the...Read more...

A Noble World

04/06/2015 07:45:45 AM


Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur 5767 – 2006 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

A farmer's barn catches fire. The county fire department was called to put out the fire. Due to the dry heat and the surrounding grassy area, the fire was more than the county fire department could handle. Someone suggested that a nearby volunteer bunch be called. Despite some doubt that the volunteer outfit would be of any assistance, the call was made.

The...

We Might Be Giants

04/06/2015 07:24:33 AM


Remarks on the occasion of the receiving the 2010 Federation of Jewish Men’s Club’s Herman Braunstein Humanitarian Award. January 9, 2011

As young associate rabbis we are deeply appreciative for the recognition and celebration of our nascent careers. Tonight, above all, we are celebrating the potential for building community anew.

We signed up for assistant positions to sit at the feet of masters and drink thirstily from...Read more...

Love Should Never Have to Hurt

04/06/2015 07:23:10 AM


Yom Kippur - 2009, 5770 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

Al Chet Sh’Chatanu L’fanecha – We say it. We beat our chest. It is an odd ritual - beating our chests. It ranks up there with using fresh scallions to playfully beat fellow Seder participants to relive the pains of enslavement in Egypt on Pesah. There’s even the lesser known but equally peculiar beating of the willow branches on the lulav toward the end of Sukkot. It’s a...Read more...

Meeting Your Creator, or Finding Einstein's Compass

04/06/2015 07:23:00 AM


Rosh Hashanah 5771

A 5 year old child lay sick in his bed one day. The boy’s father brought a gift to delight his curiosity and help pass the time. A compass. The way the needle moved always pointing toward north, was mysterious and captivating. Hours of thinking and playing, testing and retesting the marvelous truth of the needle. No matter which way he stood, the needle always pointed north. What was the secret of this magical...Read more...

The New Prophet

04/06/2015 07:22:00 AM


Yom Kippur 5769 – 2008 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

When I stumbled upon the notable pollster, John Zogby, and his new book, The Way We Will Be, I was offered a glimpse into the minds that find so much significance in our casual musings. In this reflection of one man’s work with opinion polls, the author draws some thoughtful and certainly optimistic conclusions about American social behavior in the years to come. Pollsters like Zogby...Read more...

Facing Facebook

04/06/2015 07:22:00 AM


Rosh Hashana 5769 – 2008 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

As Jews, we cherish the values that flow from and throughout our tradition. Values like ‘Caring for others before yourself,’ ‘Dignity and respect,’ ‘True friendship,’ and ‘Character counts’ to name a few. But, these days, you won’t find me poring over ancient texts or arguing with rabbis from centuries ago to find them. These days...I find them at a place called...Read more...

The Future Gift: The Present

04/06/2015 07:21:00 AM


Rosh Hashana – 5768 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

A few weeks ago a very reputable survey source, MTV and the Associated Press, released the results of an extensive 7 month study on what makes young people happy. They asked questions ranging from, "How important is it to be happy with life?" to asking them to express their feelings about money, their heroes, and their stress. From the 100 questions they asked, what did they conclude? 26...Read more...

Got Game? High Holidays 5773

04/06/2015 07:20:32 AM


Rabbi HoffmanYou’ve seen it happen before. It is a new social cue that has entered our non-verbal vocabulary. It makes its way into office spaces and board meetings, at mealtimes, and even while waiting for the traffic signal to turn. Let’s call it, “The Drop.”...Read more...

Subatomic Doubt and Universal Faith: Parshat Mattot-Masei 5772 �" July 20, 2012

04/06/2015 07:20:00 AM


July 4th was a different kind of Independence Day this year. It was on July 4th that scientists from the CERN Laboratory beneath the mountains in France and Switzerland proved the existence of a subatomic particle called the Higgs Boson, named after Peter Higgs. In the 1990’s one physicist working on the nearly half-century quest, Leon Lederman, coined this elusive element, the “God Particle.” It was casually given this term because the...Read more...

Rabbis' Corner: Comfort & Healing in a Time of Loss

04/06/2015 07:20:00 AM


Below is a video clip of VBS Rabbi Joshua Hoffman, from the recent broadcast of ONE COMMUNITY, a production courtesy of the Jewish Life Television Network.  The topic is Death & Mourning and the role of the Rabbi in providing comfort & healing in a time of loss.  Joining Rabbi Hoffman is host, Rabbi Judith HaLevy, pres. of the Board of Rabbis and Rabbi Denise L. Egen, Congregation Kol Ami of West Hollywood.  


The End of Ends

04/06/2015 06:47:47 AM


In times of uncertainty, truth and confidence are found in a moral balance, if only we will listen.

Wanda Diaz Merced is an accomplished astrophysicist. Several years ago, though, she lost her sight due to an extended illness. Challenged by the rigors of her field, one that primarily uses sight to interpret the data collected from the vast universe, she and her team devised a method of translating information into sound, called...Read more...

The New Normal, Rosh Hashanah, 2013/5774

02/06/2015 08:56:09 AM


Rabbi HoffmanMy dear friends - This year I share with you a sermon that is as much about me as it is about the women’s stories who follow. We will learn together and construct a New Normal for this year and in the years to come. 

Saima, a rural Pakistani...

And the Youth Shall See Visions: Empowering our Teens by Empowering Ourselves

02/06/2015 08:52:00 AM


Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur 5764 – 2003 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

We must make our sanctuary, our community a place for dreaming, a place where children's visions can be actualized.

The scene opens, and we look upon a typical day in the life of a young teenager. A girl named Tracy walks down the halls saying hello to friends and is keenly aware of the other students walking around her. She notices the clothes her classmates are...Read more...

A New Investment Strategy

02/06/2015 08:41:40 AM


Rosh Hashana - 2009, 5770 by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman

When the woman left and I closed my office door I finally began to understand. Moments earlier, I listened carefully as the she told of her family’s journey from another country, of her father’s tireless work to scrape together what was at first a meager existence. She smiled as she shared that after a few years they all watched a successful business flourish beyond their greatest...Read more...

"King Me": High Holidays Sermon 2011/5772

02/06/2015 08:38:00 AM


"God was upset with David." It's a biblical story that unexpectedly turns for the worse. God sends His prophet, Nathan, to speak to the King of Israel. The message is unusually delivered by a parable:

Once, there were two men in the same city, one very rich, and one very poor. The rich man had flocks and herds, but the poor man had only one little ewe lamb which he had bought with what little money he had. The poor man tended to it...Read more...

Sat, July 11 2020 19 Tammuz 5780