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Reform Judaism/Why did Abram go to 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,

At the time when this story takes place, it is well attested by archaeological evidence that there was a mass migration due to famine in the land. Abram was a part of that migration. In this case Haran is not meant as the name of Abram's brother. Rather it is a location. Locations were often given names that related to significant people who lived in a certain place. So, Abram was directed to a place which was named for his brother. Or, one might read it as the place where Haran's tribe was located. I hope this is helpful.

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Rabbi Sue Levy


I will be happy to discuss questions about the beliefs and practices of the Jewish people and faith, including but not limited to Reform Judaism. I am not trained as a psychologist and do not, therefore, answer questions about relationships or other personal issues.


I am a rabbi with twenty-seven years of experience. I was raised in the Reform Movement. I am a Reconstructionist rabbi. I have served congregations in three states and am now retired.

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Houston Rabbinical Association, Southern Poverty Leadership Council, Rabbis for Human Rights

B.A., political science, Temple University, 1965 M.A., relition, Temple University, 1983 M.A.H.L (Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters), Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, PA, 1986 Rabbinic Ordination, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, 1986

Awards and Honors
D.D. (Doctor of Divinity), honorus causa, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, 2011

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