Seth Farber

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Seth Farber is an American Modern Orthodox rabbi and historian, best known for his work helping Jews navigate the Israeli religious bureaucracy.[clarification needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Farber grew up in Riverdale, Bronx, New York, and is a graduate of New York University.[1] He was ordained by the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University in 1991, received his Masters in Judaic Studies from Yeshiva University in 1995, and a PhD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 2000.[citation needed]

Farber’s great-great-great-grandfather was the pre-eminent Central European Rabbi Moshe Sofer, better known as the Chasam Sofer (or Chatam Sofer).[1]


He was a teacher at the Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts before moving to Israel.

Farber is widely known as the founder and director of ITIM: The Jewish-Life Information Center, an organization that aims to assist Israelis with the legal intricacies of personal status—marriage, divorce, conversion, and burial—which are administered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in a manner that often leaves families bewildered, overwhelmed, and resentful.[2] Farber is widely cited in the press on the politically fraught issues of personal status among Jews in Israel.[3][4][5]

The New York Times called Farber a “pragmatic idealist” who believes that Orthodox Jews — including the rabbinate — and non-Orthodox Jews need to learn to “to trust each other” sufficiently to work together on difficult issues of personal status.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Farber is married with five children and lives in Israel.[6]

Selected works[edit]


  • Farber, Seth (2003). An American Orthodox Dreamer: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Boston’s Maimonides School. Brandeis University Press, University Press of New England. ISBN 1-58465-338-8. 


  1. ^ a b c Gorenberg, Gershom. "How Do You Prove You’re a Jew?", The New York Times, March 2, 2008. Accessed May 4, 2008. "Farber, 41, has a round, clean-shaven face and frameless glasses that make him look like an earnest grad student. He grew up in Riverdale, N.Y., attending the kind of Orthodox parochial school that, he told me, “celebrated Americanism,” that turned the American bicentennial into the focus of an entire school year."
  2. ^ Q & A with Yeshiva Alumnus Rabbi Dr. Seth Farber, Menachem Butler and Zev Nagel, Yeshiva University Commentator, 5/4/04 [1]
  3. ^ Friedman, Andrew. "Liberals, Russians Boo Civil-Marriage Deal", The Forward, July 25, 2007.
  4. ^ Eglash, Ruth. "Would-be convert faces deportation", The Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2007. Accessed May 6, 2008.
  5. ^ Chabin, Michele. "Orthodox Convert Nixed On Aliyah, Despite Deal", The Jewish Week, December 13, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2012.
  6. ^ "Rabbi Seth Farbet (sic)". Retrieved March 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]