Jewish Journal

Do-it-yourself High Holy Days sermon

by Jay Firestone

Posted on Sep. 13, 2007 at 8:00 pm

You think you have it bad? What about your rabbi, who has to work weeks -- no, months -- to prepare a High Holy Days Sermon. You think it's easy writing a speech that people will remember for the rest of the year? Well, then, why don't you and a friend write your very own with our MadLibs [R] version. First ask your partner to supply the missing words. Then read the completed sermon aloud ... and enjoy.
To my _____ _____ and _____ of Congregation _____ Israel, I'd like to wish you a _____ New Year.

On this very _____ day, let us take time to _____ back on our _____ lives.

I want to begin with a _____ story about Rabbi _____ ben _____, may he rest in peace, from the old city of _____. You may remember how this man sacrificed his _____ for the sake of giving _____ every week.

And you may also remember how his children, _____, _____, and Eliezer had to make _____ sacrifices, but the important point to remember is that "for every mitzvah we are blessed with _____."

Which is why this year, I would like every person to adopt a new mitzvah, like _____. Also, you should stop _____.

But, we cannot simply rely on God alone to make the world a better _____. We must also ___________________________________________.

And we can't _____ the world on our own. We must come together and _____ together.

We must also remember our _____ in Israel, who always needs our support. That's why you must take the blue _____ under your seat and donate $_____.

With this _____ membership gift, we can _____ our connection to _____ through Temple programs such as _____, _____, and the building of a new _____.

For a mere $_____, we will send you and _____ to Israel for a _____. If you're not a member, now is the time to _____! We need your support!

Remember our responsibility to _____, as it says in the book of _____. "Do unto _____ as _____ would have done unto you."

This extremely clear message will help you reach _____ With that in mind, I wish you all a _____ and _____ New Year.


(plural masculine noun)

(plural feminine noun)

(Hebrew word)

(Insert guttural Hebrew/Yiddish word. Make one up if you don't know one.)

(adjective how you feel in synagogue)



(adjective how you feel in synagogue)

(Hebrew name)

(foreign word)

(place of your last vacation)

(your most valuable possession)

($ amount)

(favorite number)

(Cantor's name)

(name of insect)


(favorite activity)

(household chore you hate)


(Orthodox: insert mitzvah between man and God; Conservative: insert mitzvah between fellow men; Reform: insert political cause; Reconstructionist: insert environmental cause; Atheist: insert favorite sport.)


(same verb)


(amount you cheated on taxes last year)

(adjective you'd like people to call you)


(favorite religion)

(obscure sport)

(social activity)

(luxury item)

(this week's lottery jackpot)

(favorite actor)

(time you need vacation)


(dead comedian)

(name of disease)


(same animal)

(name of a casino.)


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