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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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GIVE (ELUL 28) Another chance. Is that so much to ask? Give me a do-over. Let me erase these wild formulae from the blackboard and write love letters instead. Hand me that screwdriver; I want to fix the things I... Continue reading
Posted 15 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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INTEND (ELUL 27) And what did I intend, after all? To uncover beauty everywhere. To travel even into the heart of an enemy and unlock the rusted gate. To walk beside someone for a time; to share a simple sunrise... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
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My congregation, like many communities, has a custom of holding a short memorial service in our cemetery on the Sunday afternoon just before Rosh Hashanah. It is usually an intimate affair. Those who attend tend to be our oldest members,... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
I am so, so glad that these poems are speaking to you! Writing them has been one of the great joys of my month.
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on A poem for #blogElul 26: Hope at Velveteen Rabbi
1 reply
Here's the brief d'var Torah I offered at yesterday morning's Shabbat service at my shul. (Cross-posted to my From the Rabbi blog.) If you only take one thing away from this morning's Torah reading, let it be this: that teshuvah... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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HOPE (ELUL 26) For the heat-cracked soil of our hearts to receive gentle rain. For the winds which fan our blazes to still themselves. For the stains on the cobblestones to be only pomegranate juice. For every parent to wake... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've received some lovely feedback on Days of Awe: the Velveteen Rabbi's Machzor for the Yamim Nora'im. One of the most generous responses has come from reviewer Susan Katz Miller, who writes: Meanwhile, many of the most progressive Jewish communities... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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BEGIN (ELUL 25) Of course it isn't easy. You'll wobble on your feet like an unsteady calf. Colors will taste different. Old comforts will be strange. Everyone you thought you knew will look unfamiliar through your remade eyes. Dreaming, you'll... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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We're approaching the doorway between the old year and the new. Just as Jewish tradition teaches us to put a mezuzah on our doorposts, to make us mindful as we transition from one place to the next, the holidays act... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
END (ELUL 24) And every ending is a beginning. Rolling back light before darkness and darkness before light. Making one year pass away and bringing on the next. And when my life ends you'll go on to a chapter without... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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LOVE (ELUL 23) Four tiny books in a printed cardboard box. A handprint, undated—maybe he was two? An autograph-keeper with faded pages inscribed in spidery curlicues of Czech. The onesie and pants and booties we chose for the cautious drive... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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DEAR GOD Spiritual life unfolds in staccato bursts of prayer: @God thanks, help, please. Do You miss the measured curves of pen and ink on cardstock, our prescribed correspondence each morning, picture postcard every afternoon, night's letter brief but complete?... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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DARE (ELUL 22) To cross the threshold between familiar and unknown. To stop hiding. To dance even if you feel like an ungainly giraffe. To let the tears come. To throw your arms out and pour light on the world.... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Those who subscribe to Velveteen Rabbi via email or RSS may have received an early / partial draft of this post; sorry about that, that wasn't supposed to happen! Here's the post in full. I love Selichot. The word "selichot"... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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CHANGE (ELUL 21) The only constant except for your loneliness. You've always needed someone to talk with, to show you your own reflection. (It is not good for God to be alone.) But you're mercurial. You've changed masks: from stern... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm delighted to be able to announce that a new essay of mine has been published in the Symposium section of Transformative Works and Cultures, the fan studies journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works. The essay is called... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
JUDGE (ELUL 20) My name is four-dimensional. You couldn't say it if you tried. Call me the true judge, the one who sees through your obfuscations. Further out than Pluto, deeper than Earth's core the one who enwombs the world... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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ASK (ELUL 19) And what if no one's listening, if I'm truly alone? Do I really get to start over? What if I can't forgive myself? When did I stop believing in impossible stories? Can you hear me now, will... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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PRAY (ELUL 18) What does the deepest mirror show? Thank you for this moment; I'm alive. --who I'm speaking to I'll never know. What does the deepest mirror show? My soul the ocean where I daily dive. Yield into the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Dear Sara - Thank you so much for reading so faithfully and especially for sharing your poems here! Reading them every day has been a real joy for me. I'm delighted that these posts are helping you feel connected. Thank you for saying so; that's a real gift for me. Shabbat shalom to you and yours!
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2014 on A poem for #blogElul 17: Awaken at Velveteen Rabbi
1 reply
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AWAKEN (ELUL 17) Suddenly everything is new. And these eyes can't widen far enough to take in the universe contained in your heart spanned with your hands. There is no word which means red and green at the same time... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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UNDERSTAND (ELUL 16) Why sickness, why children cringing from a blow or broken by bombs, these will never make sense. Why cruelty. Why bar anyone from the common table. The sages say the world was broken from the get-go, too... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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LEARN (ELUL 15) Sun, can you teach me to gild everything I see? Leaves, how to flutter with awe? Ground beneath my feet don't let me go yet I want to learn gravity. Lenses in frames, I want to learn... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you, dear Dale!
1 reply
*beaming at you*
1 reply