Uri Farber

When I study a Jewish text, from Torah to Talmud, from Halacha to Chassidut, my goal is to read it as Making Sense. Meaning, I should read all texts charitably, as if they were the words of my friends, and assume that what they're saying is reasonable, pragmatic, and ethical. That means that I also have to understand the context in which something is being said which means that when I talk about, the Para Aduma, the Red Heifer, for example, I have to make sure I understand that ashwater is soap and if I want to understand kitniot, I have to understand the relative wealth of the medieval Proven├žal Jewish community and the culinary norms of the region. Once I actually understand what they're actually saying, then I can see how all of these authors over the millennia have faced problems not dissimilar to the ones in my own life and see their advice on how to approach them.

On the subject of my background - I grew up in a traditional Conservative synagogue where I was a USY chapter Religion/Education Vice President for two terms, winning Regional Chapter of the Year and International Chapter of Rel/Ed Excellence, and regular participant in the post-tefilah lay-lead parsha study group "Jews for Exegesis". I went to a modern Orthodox day school from preK through 12th grade, where I began studying Talmud in 6th grade and proceeded to annoy my teachers by not sharing their assumptions about the text for the next six years. I also served as gabbai of some of the various minyanim from 8th-12th grade. I spent my gap year in Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, a school focused on bridging the "feelings-based" Judaism of the neo-Chasidic world and the "learning-based" world of traditional yeshiva study, combined with an academic approach to Torah and Talmud, supplemented with an education in an anti-formalist methodology of halachic study. After flirting with mechanical engineering and the law, I ended up studying Religions of the Ancient Middle East at the University of Maryland. While there, I taught formally in Hebrew school and a day school while serving in various leadership capacities across Hillel and teaching informally there. I've spent the past two years as madrich and rabbinical student back in Maale Gilboa, teaching four classes a week there. I am now in the Kollel at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies.

Uri Farber Favorite Subjects


Ashkenazi Culture

Comprehensive Jewish Literacy



Great Jewish Personalities / aka Famous Jews

Hebrew Language




Introduction to Judaism


Jewish Calendar

Jewish Contributions to Civilization

Jewish Denominations / aka Streams of Judaism

Jewish Law (Halakha)

Jewish Values (Middot)

Judaism and Comparative Religion






Rabbinical Literature








The Structure of Jewish Texts

Trope (Cantillation)


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