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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
Immerse, my body bare as birth. Emerge with my skin tingling. Ascend the fifteen stairs to you singing love songs on every step. At the door to the holy of holies I vibrate like a struck bell. My fears rise... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
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My seven year old is a huge fan of the Japanese cartoon series Pokémon. If you have never shared your life with a Pokémon fan, you might not know that Pokémon are animated creatures (many of them adorable) with varying... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Episode 22 of the Judaism Unbound podcast featured Rabbis Rachel Barenblat and David Evan Markus, co-chairs of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. In this live talkback at 8:30pm EST on Monday December 12, join the co-chairs and the hosts of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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"I would be more spiritual if my circumstances were more perfect." That's the "first illusion" cited by Ward Bauman in "Letting God be God," an article in Presence about lessons learned from Meister Eckhart. (And wow, is it a familiar... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Reading this week's Torah portion Toldot, this year, my heart goes out to Esau. His father Isaac senses that death is near, so he sends Esau out hunting so he can prepare some game and receive his father's innermost blessing.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you, Seth. I am pleased. :-)
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Thank you, dear Sue. I feel incredibly fortunate to get to do this!
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Thank you, Kaya -- and thank you for the bracha to breathe; I think I am going to need the reminder!
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Muchas gracias, Karen.
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Thank you, dear Beth. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve.
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Exciting news: this spring, in addition to serving my congregation as their rabbi, I'll have the opportunity of another way to serve -- I'm going to be the interim Jewish chaplain to the College at Williams College, my alma mater!... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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How much of your life do you spend sleepwalking? How much of your life do you spend going through the motions, carried forward by force of habit rather than any particular consciousness or will? Most of us do this, much... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I was walking with my son at MASS MoCA on a recent rainy day. He was collecting Pokémon on my phone, and I was letting my mind wander with our footsteps. The asphalt of the pavement beneath my feet was... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for reading, Lorianne, and for celebrating with me!
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Until I became a parent, I didn't think much about how every person's birthday can (or at least might) also mark a day of transition for the woman who brought that person into the world. I didn't think about how... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Ever thought about attending a National Havurah Committee retreat? Next month they'll be holding their annual winter retreat in Palmer, MA from December 16-18. This year’s retreat will feature a wide variety of ALEPH folks, including me and my co-chair... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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When I was younger, I believed the mystical teachings could erase sorrow. The mystical teachings do not erase sorrow. They say, here is your life. What will you do with it? — Yehoshua November, “Two Worlds Exist” These lines are... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
What a gift it is to get to spend a Shabbes (and then some) the way I just did! On Friday night, Rabbi David and I went to Shir Tikvah in Troy, MI, to serve as the official ALEPH representatives... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm heading to Michigan today with my ALEPH co-chair Rabbi David Evan Markus. We have a few special things on our schedule for the weekend. Tonight we'll be at Shir Tikvah in Troy, MI, to serve as the official ALEPH... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
I am proud and humbled to serve, with Rabbi David Evan Markus, as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal which just put out this statement and petition. If the President-Elect were to require Muslims to register with the government,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for reading, my dear, and for your compassionate presence.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2016 on Building the world we want to see at Velveteen Rabbi
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Hope, said Frances Moore Lappé, “is a stance, not an assessment.” But applied hope is not mere glandular optimism. The optimist treats the future as fate, not choice, and thus fails to take responsibility for making the world we want.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Today mourning and celebration commingle. Jubilation and heartache are juxtaposed In neighborhoods where lawns proclaimed Support for different candidates, on Facebook walls And Twitter streams where clashing viewpoints meet. Grant us awareness of each others’ hopes and fears Even across... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
This morning I presided over a funeral for a beloved member of my congregation. It was hard to shake the sense that many of us were mourning not only that loss, but also the loss of a vision of our... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've shared these resources before, but they bear repeating, I think: A Prayer For Voting by Rabbi David Seidenberg A Prayer For Voting by Rabbi Sami Barth First Step: Lech Lecha -- a Torah poem written eight years ago on... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi