From earliest youth, my life has been infused with Jewish practice and Torah study. My father worked as a rabbi, my mother as a Jewish studies principal, and I attended Jewish day schools from kindergarten through college. In high school I was drawn to Talmud study and Chumash (Torah study), and instead of finishing high school, I went to Touro College night school, so that I could study Talmud at Yeshiva Bnei Torah full time.
While I loved yeshiva studies, I increasingly felt that something was missing; I wanted to study the sources with scientific method and not just traditional learning. So I continued my studies on both tracks: I received Yoreh Yoreh and then Yadin Yadin ordination (semicha) from YCT Rabbinical School, while parallel to this, I received an M.A from Hebrew University in Jewish History: Biblical Period, and a Ph.D. from Emory University in Jewish Religious Cultures and Hebrew Bible.
Since then, I’ve been working as the senior editor of TheTorah.com, while writing books and articles on Bible and Jewish Law. My goal in biblical studies is to offer a synthesis of traditional Torah study with critical scholarship. In Jewish law, which I work on as a joint research fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Kogod Center and the JJ Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life, my goal is to ensure that halakhah adheres to ethical norms relevant to contemporary society.
In 2015, my family and I moved back to Israel. Zionism was also part of my education from the beginning, and while my professional training is not in the field of politics, I try in my op-ed writing to reflect on the ethical challenges Israel faces, such as the separation of church and state, or the treatment of Palestinians and other minorities.
Zfarber.com was created in order to bring together my various writings in one easy to use website. I hope that this venue will allow more people concerned about the same issues to be exposed to my ideas. Together we can build a more vibrant, intellectually honest, and ethically sensitive Jewish world.