Notes for Giving a Dvar Torah

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We have a really nice article with some tips for someone who’s planning to give a dvar Torah.  And when I worked at Jewcy I wrote my own tips, but over at Jewschool they have very wisely posted a lengthy list of tips, tricks, dos and don’ts about giving a sermon that was written by Rev. Victoria Weinstein, a Unitarian minister. Here are some of my favorites:Public_Speaking.jpg

·    Draw from your life. Good sermons come from real-life questions and struggles that have application to our relationships, our work and our inner growth. Lengthy theoretical musings and esoteric expositions have their place, but it is not in the pulpit.
·    It helps to know what your conclusion will be before you begin.
·    Embody your message. Do you care about what you’re saying? We should be able to see that in your physical presence and hear it in your vocal inflection! Many a beautifully-crafted sermon has been murdered in the cradle by zombie-like delivery.
·    Sermons are not free therapy for the preacher, so don’t preach on emotional subjects from which you have no distance and have little or no objectivity. Avoid over-sharing, blaming, or “dumping.�
·    NEVER begin a sermon by describing how hard it was to write the sermon, how nervous you are, how little sleep you got last night, or talking about “what I was going to preach about before I changed my mind and came up with this.�
·    Never use someone else’s life as an illustration even anonymously if they might be recognized by any member of the congregation; always obtain permission from anyone you will be mentioning by name.

See the whole list here.

Posted on December 18, 2008

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