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Rachel Barenblat
Rachel Barenblat became a rabbi in January of 2011, and has been blogging as The Velveteen Rabbi since 2003.
Interests: Judaism, religion, ecumenism, poetry, motherhood, Christianity, Islam, liturgy, prayer, midrash, fandom.
Recent Activity
Thank you for reading, Beth. Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been more than sixteen years since I was in Iceland. I hope to return one of these days... Thank you for the McPhee tip -- I have ordered the book for my kindle and look forward to reading it.
Toggle Commented yesterday on An afternoon on Heimaey at Velveteen Rabbi
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For #throwbackthursday: a few photos from 1998, illustrating a short essay of that same vintage. As far as I can recall, this one was never published anywhere. Lonely Planet is my favorite series of travel guides. The guidebooks focus on... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
I realize in retrospect that having the first two stanzas be about the trees, and the later stanzas about the hills, is probably confusing. I am pondering how to fix that -- whether to shift it so that the whole poem is about the trees, or to remove the tree stanzas so the whole poem is about the hills. Hmm. :-) In any event I would love to read whatever poem you will write!
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Lesson at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm glad it works for you.
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Lesson at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thanks, Erik!
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Lesson at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you, honey!
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Lesson at Velveteen Rabbi
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This is the work: remembering reasons for gratitude before I even get out of bed. There is always something for which I could be saying thank You. This is the work: balancing brisk ("c'mon, we've got to get out of... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
If you ever want to dip back into New England, our guest room is open to you...
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on Lesson at Velveteen Rabbi
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After the party the trees reveal their elegant bones. When winds blow they flirt, naked branches touching. The hills unveiled show off their hips, put on new clothes. Now they're professors in faded purple corduroy with conifer elbow patches. They... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I always forget that once the leaves fall, the trees reveal their elegant bones. So do the mountains. With branches bare, the contours of every hillside come clear. I can see houses, hills, horizon through what used to be a... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Last week we read parashat Noach -- the Torah portion which tells the story of Noah, the flood, the ark, and the rainbow. One of my favorite teachings about this story turns it into something else entirely. It hinges on... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Tonight at sundown, when we enter into Shabbat, we will also enter into a new lunar month. On the Jewish calendar, we're about to begin the month of Cheshvan. Cheshvan is an empty month. A blank slate. An open expanse.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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When I traveled to San Antonio over the summer I brought back a bag of old photographs, which I am slowly digitizing, a few at a time. Many of the photos are undated, so I have to guess at when... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
SECRET NAME No one knows the name I was given by the one who taught me Torah in my mother's womb. The tap on my philtrum hid it from me along with the mysteries of splendor the secret of mixing... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
I am not a knitter and am not particularly good with my hands, but found this not-at-all difficult to do. Let me know if you experiment with it and where it takes you!
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2014 on String theory at Velveteen Rabbi
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It's a good thing my rabbinic smicha wasn't contingent on my sewing skills. That was the thought which kept going through my head as I struggled with carefully snipping seams (without snipping fabric), placing careful stitches to keep the seams... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
"This Shabbat is Shabbat Bereshit," I say, "the Shabbat when we begin the cycle of Torah readings again with 'In the beginning...' -- or 'With beginnings...' -- or perhaps 'As God was beginning...'" I'm speaking aloud to those who've come... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for reading, dear Kris, and for these kind words! I'm really glad that this speaks to you. I imagine that you encounter a lot of grief in your work -- parents and families who grieve in an anticipatory way, and grieve in realtime, and for that matter also medical staff and other child life specialists who are navigating grief -- so it means a lot to me that this feels wise to you.
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2014 on Good grief at Velveteen Rabbi
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Dear Janice - I am so glad that this resonates with you. I would love to talk more with you about this, maybe next time we're in the same place at the same time (Colorado in January?) Thank you for reading. May you be comforted along with all who mourn.
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2014 on Good grief at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for reading, Lorianne. Always.
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2014 on Good grief at Velveteen Rabbi
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Today is Shemini Atzeret, 'The Pause of the Eighth Day.' Sukkot is a seven-day holiday. Today is day eight. Shemini Atzeret has various customs, including reciting the memorial prayers of Yizkor. And the tradition offers beautiful supplicatory prayers to recite... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Grief is a funny thing. A peculiar thing, I mean, not an entertaining one. It creeps in unexpectedly when everything seems fine, silent as Carl Sandburg's fog which "comes / on little cat feet." It does not listen to reason.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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All the world feels redolent with apples and honey at this time of year. I've taken our son apple-picking twice since Rosh Hashanah. We go to a local orchard, only a few minutes away from our house. I love the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Start with two-by-fours and bolts. Fashion a rectangle. Add crossbeams. Then attach four posts sticking up like the frame of an old-fashioned bed. You'll need another pair of hands to invert it, a wobbly table higher than you are tall.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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My maternal grandmother; her two daughters; three of their daughters, including me. Sometimes I wonder: what stories will our son tell about his growing-up, in years to come? How will he remember his childhood? What memories will he seize onto... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi