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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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A while back I was solicited to contribute an essay to a volume on modeh / modah ani, the morning prayer of gratitude, edited by David Birnbaum and Martin S. Cohen, to be published by Mesorah Matrix. Longtime readers of... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
Earlier this year I was delighted to contribute a d'var Torah to My Jewish Learning for the first Torah portion in the book of Leviticus: Vayikra - What Silence Conceals and Reveals. They've asked me to write a few more... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
I'm glad those words reached you. Thank you for reading, honey.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on My latest for The Wisdom Daily at Velveteen Rabbi
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My latest essay has been published at The Wisdom Daily. It's about divorce, and life changes, and the difference between rebuilding and starting something entirely new. Here's a taste: ...From the matrix of community relationships into which I remain woven,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
My breasts are full and tender: I ache to give to you. Say yes and I will bathe you in flowing milk and honey. Taste and see that I am good. How I yearn for you to know me! I... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
You think I'm not listening. You can't feel my hand on your shoulderblade, my lips pressed to your forehead my heart, ground down with yours into the dust of the earth. Sweet one, I feel your grief like a black... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Oh, Reb David, thank you so much for this comment. We know that we stand on the shoulders of giants (you're one of them).
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Thank you for following our journey from afar, Dave, and for your appreciation for Jewish Renewal and the Torah we are blessed to be able to share.
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You are most welcome, dear Jan. Thank you for all that you do! I hope to make it to HaMaqom one of these days... the trouble with being a pulpit rabbi is, it's hard to visit my friends' shuls! :-)
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Thank you so much, dear Julie. Don't worry, we're not going anywhere -- we will always be part of ALEPH and Jewish Renewal. Love and appreciation to you too, my dear!
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In early 2015 it was announced that we would serve as the next co-chairs of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Today we announce that we are stepping down. Our term will end in July. When we began, we saw four... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
I want with all my might to give you milk and honey aspire only to feed you (look: you're skin and bones, the Jewish mother in me aches to fill your plate) but not just nutrients: like manna that took... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
In the United States today is Mother's Day. We're reminded of that in a million little ways: from television commercials for Hallmark cards, to ads for Mother's Day brunch deals, to countless social media postings about mothers and motherhood. I'm... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In this week's Torah portion, Emor, we read that no one who has a defect may draw near to God through offering sacrifices on the altar. And then Torah goes into exquisite detail about all of the different kinds of... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Dear one, I left love notes for you everywhere today -- tucked into the petals of the tulip magnolia encoded in the braille of black willow bark, hidden in the patterns of rain on your windshield -- but you didn't... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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A d'var Torah offered at Congregation Bet Ha'Am in Portland, Maine. Offered aloud by me; jointly written by me and Rabbi David. Welcome home. Why am I welcoming you home when you live here and I'm the visitor? I don't... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
For those who are interested... here's the welcome video we made to introduce ourselves to the community at Bet Ha'Am, where we'll be Bernstein scholars-in-residence this weekend. Over the course of three minutes, we talk a little bit about Jewish... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
...When I accept that I can’t wholly know what my future will hold, I open myself to possibility. There are things I hope will happen. There are things I hope won’t happen. But I affirm that I don’t actually know... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
ואהבת לרעך כמוך: אני הוי׳׳ה Love your other as yourself: I am God. - Lev. 19:18 Because I am God I ache to give sweetness my cup spills over every time you need or hurt Because I carry your heart... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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A few days ago we entered into the new month of Iyar. Here's my favorite teaching about the month of Iyar: its name is an acronym for something beautiful. Torah teaches that after the children of Israel crossed through the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The month of May is almost upon us, and with it comes a weekend I've been looking forward to for some time: an opportunity to visit Congregation Bet Ha'Am in Portland, Maine with Rabbi David Evan Markus! We're honored to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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When a friend told me that she was reading a series of dialogues between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on joy, my first thought was "I need to read that too." Their dialogues are published in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
When I say I love you I mean always: when you greet the day with exultation and when you wake with tears when you shine like the skies and when you're clenched in despair's grip, every drop of joy wrung... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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If you are in the middle of your life, maybe some of your dreams of God have died hard under the weight of your experience. You have knocked on doors that have not opened. You have asked for bread and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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"Is there something like havdalah for the end of Pesach?" That question was brought to me a few days ago by my friend and colleague Reverend Rick Spalding. Reverend Rick has, in the past, expressed to me his "holy envy"... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi