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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
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The ALEPH Kallah -- July 11-17 in Fort Collins, CO -- is coming up soon. Register by 11:59pm eastern time on June 3; starting at midnight on that night, a 10% late registration fee will be added. (Also, the longer... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
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The ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour began in May of 2015 with a weekend in New York, co-hosted by Romemu and by Yeshivat Maharat. (I wrote about that right after it happened -- Sidewalk havdalah.) As it turned out,... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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On our first morning in Colorado, Rabbi David and I are still on east coast time, so we're both awake by five-ish. Around six we tiptoe out of the house where we are staying, get into our rental car, and... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Today I'm heading off, with Rabbi David and with our executive director Shoshanna Schechter-Shaffin, on the final trip of our yearlong international ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour. The idea for the Listening Tour came to David and me on... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Because I could say your names tasting them on my tongue for hours and not grow tired. Because when you're with me I sparkle like water in the sun. Because I turn toward your light. Because when I remember you... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
You will not be surprised to hear that I think it is absolutely worth keeping a blog like this going! :-) Your blog is an oasis for me. I think the writing and painting and drawing -- the creating, and sharing of that creating -- are worth doing even if readership seems lower than it used to be and even if comment counts are lower than they used to be. I don't do as much longform writing as I used to, but I think that's more a function of changed life circumstance (having a little kid, having two jobs) than of the internet's shifts away from longform work. I'm hoping to do more longform writing as life permits, and I hope there will still be people out there who want to be reading Velveteen Rabbi when that day comes.
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I always enjoy the Forward's list of Most Inspiring Rabbis. I like that the focus is not on fame, but on inspiring others. In-spiring: infusing people with spirit, connecting people with God. That's a metric I admire. Each year when... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I just learned about an artistic enterprise that I think is incredibly neat. An artist and graphic designer named Hillel Smith is creating parsha posters each week. Each Thursday he releases a poster inspired by that week's Torah portion, featuring... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I have a new piece in The Wisdom Daily. Here's a taste: I’m happiest when I have made a choice and can act on it. The in-between phase, when I’m poised on the fulcrum of a decision and could fall... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you so much, Laura.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for reading, dear Beth -- for coming along on this journey with me, as you have accompanied me on so many others.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for reading, dear Lorianne, and for bringing your whole heart with you. You are among my role models for joy after the end of a marriage.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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It is such a holy place! They have really done everything right there.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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What a wonderful Isak Dinesen quote. Thank you for this kind comment.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm sorry that you weren't able to access a resource like this in Albuquerque, Alice. I am so grateful to Mayyim Hayyim for being such an open and welcoming place.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you, AKMA. We are doing our best to navigate these waters with kindness and grace.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you, dear Shaya and Bahira. Your support means a great deal to me.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you, dear Judith.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Immersion at Velveteen Rabbi
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On the day that would become the first night of Pesach, I went to Mayyim Hayyim to immerse. Some people immerse before Shabbat; some people immerse before Pesach. This day was pre- both of those, but those weren't the reasons... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In 2010, I was blessed to be able to spend Shavuot at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. (I wrote a little bit about the retreat: The Torah of Our Mothers, Reb Zalman Shavuot 5770, 4am, and Morning prayer, on retreat... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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What happens when one visits a rose garden on Shabbat afternoon with a group of rabbis, having already taken part in Shabbat morning services; when one takes menucha (rest / rejuvenation) time to enjoy nature, to enjoy friends, and to... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Coming through the sea was only the beginning. The giddiness of walking through walls of living water... But the story doesn't end there. Now it's desert, without a map. What if the next forty years are bone-dry and desolate? Maybe... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Hey, want to spend a week writing contemporary midrash with me in beautiful Colorado this summer? There are just a few spots left in the class I'm teaching at the ALEPH Kallah this year. For those who are interested, here's... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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It was on the seventh day after the Exodus that our forebears made it to the shore of the Sea of Reeds. Behind them, the Egyptian army. Ahead of them, the sea. (At least, so teaches our tradition.) Midrash teaches... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I was interviewed recently by Michael A. Burstein for the Jewish Advocate, for an article about Doctor Who, role-playing, and summer camp. Speaking about the study, Rabbi Barenblat noted, “I love the idea of using Doctor Who to help kids... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi