Conservative Judaism/Haran


G_d bless you Rabbi,
   Can you help me understand Haran.  God called Abram to leave his family and he goes to Haran.  But Haran was Abram's brother.  Did Abram leave his father Terah's house and go to live with his brother Haran?  I don't understand.

Dear Don,

Thank you for writing. Sabbath is about to start and therefore I will be brief. I have delayed answering due to personal injury, but I'm recovering thankfully.

Your challenge is in reading the Bible in translation.

11:27  This Haran is spelled "Hey-Reish-Nun sofit" Beginning with the sound of the letter "H"

12:4  This Haran is spelled with the first letter a gutteral and generally mistranslated in transliterated English  "Chet-reish-nun sofit."  This first letter sounds like the "ch" in the word "Bach" - a throaty sound, called a gutteral letter.

It is more accurate to study it in the original. If not, work with a reliable commentary.

Best wishes

Rabbi Dov

Conservative Judaism

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Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner


Write to me with questions about Jewish customs and law, history, philosophy and tradition for answers from a Conservative perspective or conversion. I am a graduate of The Jewish Theological Seminary and a member of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly. Having served in congregational pulpits since 1970, I now am President of the Foundation For Family Education, Inc. a non-profit educational endeavor. I established it to create new formats of hands-on programs and provide free educational downloads at In addition to general informational questions I welcome your questions about programs for social action, outreach to dual-faith families, inter-faith clergy projects, healing services, education for conversion, adult education for the congregation and the community. If you have questions about Informal and Formal Education I am ready to share my extensive experience with Youth Activities, Camping and Religious School/Hebrew High School on a congregational, community and national/international level.


I have served on the National Youth Commission for more than 25 years and serve on the Boards of the Conservative Zionist movement MERCAZ and the World Council of Synagogues. I have always dual-families and taught candidates for conversion with a great sense of fulfillment. I am very proud of 25 years on the Jewish camping staff of Camps Ramah. My greatest source of pride is my family! Ask me about them, please!:-)

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