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Rabbi Noah Farkas Sermons

03/04/2020 10:59:32 PM


Clap Along If You Feel that Holiness is The Truth (Yom Kippur Sermon 2017/5778)

03/10/2017 03:44:39 PM


It might seem crazy what I am about to say

Sunshine she's here, you can take a break

I'm a hot air balloon that could go to space

With the air, like I don't care,...

A Letter to My Children (Rosh Hashanah Sermon 2017/5778)

03/10/2017 03:44:05 PM



Rosh Hashanah Sermon 2017/5778

To my dearest children,

There comes a time in every family’s life where the playthings and the good times must be put on hold for a short time so some serious...Read more...

Judaism Rising - Yom Kippur 2016/5777

03/10/2017 03:23:30 PM


This past year the Jewish community lost three great luminaries. A few weeks ago we lost Gene Wilder, who knew how to mix the subtleties of emotional tragedy into a cocktail of comedy, storytelling, and sweetness. Earlier this year we lost Elie Wiesel, the voice...Read more...

On Race and Refugees: The Drought of Compassion - Rosh Hashanah 2016/5777

06/10/2016 11:52:35 AM


Let’s speak today about the drought. We all know, living here in Los Angeles, what it’s like to live with drought. “Brown is the new green,” they tell us. “Save your water because it’s all gone,” they tell us. Scientists are telling us that...Read more...

Seven Sacred Questions from Rabbi Noah Farkas

09/17/2015 04:33:31 PM


There is an old parable of a rabbi that reached the end of his life. He was sitting at home and his students came to visit him on the Sabbath as they did every week.  Now he was frail and ill, and his talmidim asked him to reflect on his career in the hopes...Read more...

Hide and Seek: Yom Kippur 2015/5776

07/10/2015 08:26:05 AM


My house is full of kids.  With four children - the oldest topping out at age seven - our house is just like summer camp.  It’s always loud, messy, the kids are always eating, and there are splatters of paint everywhere.  One of my kid’s...Read more...

Yizkor Sermon-Passover 2014

04/06/2015 05:28:04 PM


CLICK HERE to listen to the complete audio.

About two months ago, an airplane was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lampur enroute to Beijing.  There were about 300 people onboard. The flight took-off at midnight heading southwest. And at some point, for whatever...Read more...

To Reclaim Politics-Valley Beth Shalom 5773

04/06/2015 05:27:31 PM


Rabbi FarkasWhen the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville came to America in 1831 to investigate the American prison system, he instead discovered the inner workings of American democracy. Coming from France, de Tocqueville worried that in a free society like America the...Read more...

2018 Yom Kippur Sermon:  Hidden in Love:  A Sermon on Mental Health

04/06/2015 05:20:54 PM


"Hidden in Love: A Sermon on Mental Health"

For the past ten years I have lead a physician's talmud study group called Dinner for Docs. We meet about once a quarter, have some wine and eat a nice dinner. Then we engage in Talmud study. It was there that I really got to know Dr. Joe Beezy. He’s sitting right over there. Joe and I became friends over a...Read more...

2018 Rosh Hashanah Sermon:  Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

04/06/2015 05:17:04 PM


"Let There Be Love"

It was once said that Judaism is a tradition of minimum text and maximal interpretation. Take these three words from the book of Leviticus “V'ahavtah l'rechah kamocha” Love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev. 19:18). How clear can that be? How straight forward? How simple, how universal? “V'ahavtah l'rechah kamocha” Love your...Read more...

It is Not Good To Be Alone

04/06/2015 08:09:00 AM


Yom Kippur 2009 – 5770 by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

It's a wonder that Jews from all over the world find their way to synagogue tonight. We all came here tonight because of many motivations. I know you all didn't come here just for me, as much as any rabbi might think that to be the case. We came because we remember our parents and grandparents coming to shul when we were children. We came because some unconscious part of us that says,...Read more...

The Re-founding Of Conservative Judaism

04/06/2015 08:01:00 AM


The Jewish Week - December 22, 2009 by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

As Rabbi Steven Wernick presided over his first United Synagogue Conservative Judaism biennial, held earlier this month, there was a sense of an unprecedented opportunity to discuss the history and future of Conservative Judaism.  

As a young rabbi who believes in the idea of religious movements, I note that Conservative Judaism is a grass-roots coalition that...Read more...

The Book of Real Life

04/06/2015 07:59:00 AM


ROSH HASHANA 2010 – 5771 by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

About seventy years ago a couple by the name of Paul and Marie Lamfrom fled Nazi Germany with their daughters, Hildegrade, Eva, and Gert. They fled Hitler and sailed to America first to San Francisco and then up to Portland Oregon where they purchased a small distribution business. As any good Jewish businessman knows, when you're the middle man, you get squeezed at both ends. And...Read more...

Father and Son

04/06/2015 07:59:00 AM


Rosh Hashana 2010 by Rabbi Edward Feinstein & Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

While we pray here together on these high holidays, all across Los Angeles, all across America, there are small groups of younger Jews who have broken away from established congregations, and formed their own prayer groups, minyanim, and havurot. In living rooms, in backyards, in school gymnasiums, they gather this yomtov, to pray and learn and celebrate the new...Read more...

Invocation for the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors

04/06/2015 07:52:00 AM


June 2, 2009 by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

90 years ago, a German sociologist named Max Weber published a lecture of critical importance entitled, Politik als Beruf, or Politics as a Vocation. In which, Weber articulated an ethos of politics and civil activism based on the integration of two seeming incommensurable values. On the one hand, for those who choose public life, there exists the value of unbridled idealism that composes and...Read more...

Invocation At The 49th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony

04/06/2015 07:51:00 AM


Invocation at the 49th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Parks And Mortuaries November 11, 2008 by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

Good morning. I am Rabbi Noah Farkas, a former Navy Chaplain, and I am one of the rabbis at Valley Beth Shalom, a Conservative Synagogue in Encino. 

In a letter to James Lloyd on the 1st of October 1822, our 6th President John Quincy Adams wrote, "Individual liberty is individual power, and...Read more...

Reclaiming our Birthright

04/06/2015 07:49:00 AM


High Holidays 2008 – 5769 by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

Imagine with me, if you will, a small village in Ghana, West Africa. In this village, with no electricity or running water, there’s a primary school, sitting in shambles. Now, despite the decrepit look of the building, the school fills daily with sounds of young children running to and from their lessons. On the side of this school is a mural, painted with stylized images of...Read more...

Towards a New Zionism: Valley Beth Shalom 5773

04/06/2015 07:37:34 AM


Rabbi FarkasIn 1864, Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an Englishman with a literary mind was entrusted with the care for an afternoon of the three young daughters of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. That afternoon Reverend Dodgson and his colleague Reverend...Read more...

Rabbi's Corner: Turning the Tables with Rabbi Noah Farkas

04/06/2015 07:37:02 AM


Apples and honeyMy fondest memory of our Rosh Hashanah table is from even before we sat down to eat. As I was growing up, one of my chores on the Jewish New Year was to help set the table. Every year, as my mother would leave the plate of apples and honey on the...Read more...

From the Rabbi's Corner: Bereshit 5772  Hearing Nature's Silence

04/06/2015 07:36:30 AM


Rabbi FarkasThis fall we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” the book that launched the modern environmentalist movement. Carson’s genius was in her ability to arrange opaque facts and smith compelling prose in order to make her case....Read more...

The Prayer Thief-Valley Beth Shalom 5773/2012

04/06/2015 07:36:02 AM


Rabbi FarkasI’ll never forget the day I proposed to Sarah. I’d been planning it for weeks. We went on a long road and hiking trip with friends across the West. I bought a cheap plastic ring that was orange in the shape of a small flower for 50 cents, so I wouldn’t...Read more...

An Integrated Kashrut for the 21st Century: Rosh Hashanah 2011-5772

02/06/2015 08:51:00 AM


My great grandfather, my Zaddie Morris, may he rest in peace, was a tie maker. He worked in Manhattan and lived in a tenement on the Lower East Side. He would come home every night to his wife Esther and their five sons, and soak his hands in rose oil to keep them soft and smooth, so he wouldn’t scratch the Italian silk of his craft. Every Friday morning, he and my Bubbie Esther would wake up their boys from the single bed they shared many...Read more...

A Homeless Heart 5774

02/06/2015 08:40:58 AM


Rabbi FarkasEvery Shabbat I walk to synagogue.  Sometimes I walk alone; sometimes I walk with my family.   Now, it’s about a mile from my place to here. I walk down Ventura passing by the stores and under the 405 underpass. Many of you see me walking, some of...Read more...

Sun, August 9 2020 19 Av 5780