Welcome home, Rabbi Farkas, to Anshai Torah
Photo: Courtesy Farkas Family
Welcome home Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas (right), and family — if only for a Shabbos. Rabbi Farkas returns to his hometown with his wife Sarah and children, from left, Meira, Naomi, Asher and Shaya, on Jan. 17.

Bruchim ha’baim and welcome home, Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas. Raised at Congregation Anshai Torah, and its predecessor Anshai Emet, Rabbi Farkas takes to Anshai Torah’s bimah, a special guest during Kabbalat Shabbat services at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, and again at a dinner in his honor.
“A first-grade Noah would be surprised and not,” said Rabbi Farkas, who has served Valley Beth Shalom in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, since the beginning of his career. “He’d be surprised that ‘he’ is a rabbi, but not that ‘he’ is a leader. He’d be surprised at the causes ‘he’ is dedicated to, but not that ‘he’ is living passionately, and I think, I know, ‘he’ would be proud of his family.”
Noah, the son of Andy and Dr. Ferne Farkas and brother of Daniel and Leah, attended Solomon Schechter Academy (now the Ann and Nate Levine Academy) and was a student of Wende Weinberg, of blessed memory.
“The Farkas family has always been warm and devoted. They care for each other, their community, their shul. They chose that devotion over everything and so too the next generation,” said VBS Senior Rabbi Ed Feinstein, one of Solomon Schechter Dallas’ earliest leaders. “Noah is a visionary, a true leader with tremendous spirit and energy. I’m honored for even a small part in mentoring him.”
A dedicated member of Rashi USY and a Plano Senior High graduate, Rabbi Farkas spent a semester at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, which foreshadowed his career in the rabbinate.
“Twenty-five years ago being a ‘proud, Jewish teen’ wasn’t a thing in Dallas. There was lots of anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Farkas. “I went to Israel and was touched and inspired in the deepest way. I found the rhythm of my life matched that of the world and I’ve never been the same — in the very best way.”
Rabbi Farkas earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. During a gap year, he met the former Sarah Robinson, the two both leaders at a USY convention. Married since 2005, they have four children: Asher, Meira, Naomi and Shaya.
As an intern, Rabbi Farkas served Congregation Beth Israel in Biloxi, Mississippi, helping to rebuild that Jewish community after Hurricane Katrina. As a commissioned ensign, a chaplain for the United States Navy Reserve during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he prepared military families, emotionally and spiritually, for deployment and upon return.
Rabbi Farkas’ parents instilled a commitment to social action in all of their children, a trait enhanced when the future rabbi spent time in Ghana, West Africa, with American Jewish World Service. “Reacting to the hunger and the poverty I experienced, it was the first time I felt purpose. I’ve been responding ever since,” he said. “I vowed to dedicate a portion of my life to making the world better than I found it.”
Rabbi Farkas is an appointed commissioner and immediate past-chair of the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority, overseeing strategies between public and private partnerships. He galvanized a coalition of synagogues, churches and other organizations to pass legislation to build housing and services for those in need.
Rabbi Farkas, who initiated his congregation’s VBSNextGen, offering innovative learning and social programs to those in their twenties and thirties, also launched the Seminary Leadership Project, training Jewish clergy nationwide to create social change through JOIN, the Jewish Organizing Institute & Network for Justice, for which he is a board member.
A regular contributor to the Jewish Journal, Rabbi Farkas, recognized as one of America’s most inspiring rabbis by The Forward, is published on topics of spirituality, social justice and millennial engagement.
“We’re proud of Noah, of all of our children, and we can’t wait,” said the rabbi’s mother, she and his father among Anshai Torah’s founding families, Andy its first president. “To have him speak in the congregation he was raised, on the anniversary of my bat mitzvah no less, is exciting.”
“It makes me feel good to hear the pride in Ferne and Andy’s voices when speaking of their son, ‘the rabbi!’ They should be proud,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg. “Rabbi Noah has established himself in many different areas of the rabbinate and we’re exceedingly proud to invite him to address our congregation, the place he was first nurtured, his first congregation.”
For more information call 972-473-7718, email receptionist@anshaitorah.org or visit anshaitorah.org.
Submitted by Deb Silverthorn on behalf of Anshai Torah.

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