Rabbi Noah Farkas
Named by The Forward as one of America’s most Inspiring Rabbis, Rabbi Noah is passionate about creating an inclusive and meaningful life for contemporary seekers.
Noah serves his community at Valley Beth Shalom, the largest Jewish congregation in the San Fernando Valley where he is instrumental in making it into a center of spirituality, intellectual learning, and justice for Jews and others seeking meaning in life.
Noah is an advocate for justice, most recently leading a multi-year campaign to address homelessness in Los Angeles. He galvanized a coalition of churches and synagogues along with many other organizations to pass historic legislation that has moved over five billion dollars to build housing and services for the homeless and the near-homeless. Noah is an appointed Commissioner and Chairperson of the the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority which oversees the regional strategy between public and private partnerships to end homelessness. He has been featured on NPR as a change-maker and is a rising voice of faith leadership in Los Angeles.
Noah is a social entrepreneur. He is responsible for launching the Seminary Leadership Project which trains hundreds of Jewish clergy nationwide to create social change through JOIN for Justice where he also serves as a board member. Noah is also the founder of Netiya, an interfaith organization that works on food issues in Los Angeles, and boasts a membership of over forty congregations. He is also the founder of VBSNextGen, which creates a home Jews in their 20s and 30s at Valley Beth Shalom through innovative learning and social programs.
Before coming to VBS, Noah served as the Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Gulfport, Mississippi where he helped rebuild the Gulf Coast Jewish community after Hurricane Katrina. Under his leadership the congregation reformed its board structure, built a new building, and worked with civic officials to ensure the Jewish community’s future in Southern Mississippi.
He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2008, where he won numerous academic prizes in the areas of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud. He has served as Guest Lecturer at the American Jewish University.
During Rabbinical School, Rabbi Farkas served as a Chaplain for the United States Navy Reserve during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Rabbi Farkas worked with military families of all faiths to prep them for deployment and to help them spiritually and emotionally when they returned home.
Rabbi Farkas publishes widely on topics of spirituality, social justice, and millennial engagement. He is a regular contributor to the Jewish Journal and speaks nationally at conferences. He lives in Encino with his wife Sarah and four children where he loves to garden and make artisanal ice cream..
He can followed on Twitter at @RabbiNoah