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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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With every ending, something new begins. The end of one chapter starts the next until the tale itself comes to a close. We write the book of life with our own hands. The end of one chapter starts the next... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Ending a chapter is hard, especially not knowing what the next will hold. I write the book of my life with my deeds, it reads from itself and my signature is there plain as day, but I don't get to... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
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Everything I write is a love letter to you. Some days I'm afraid you don't read them: that insidious voice whispers in my ear that even you couldn't possibly want my graphomanic tendencies. That in writing day after day I... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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When it comes to you, dearest one, I am profligate with promises: I will remember you everywhere I will open my eyes to you always the channel between your heart and mine will always be open, even when I ache... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Your Honor, I don't need to tell you where I've fallen short: you've seen the times when I chose silence because I couldn't bear to stand up for myself... No one would blame you if you told me I'm not... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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...No matter what I do, I can’t truly be ready to stand before God on Rosh Hashanah and face my own autobiography. I can’t truly be ready to stand before God on Yom Kippur and make complete teshuvah, re/turn myself... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Did you know all along that this is where I would be: sitting on a secondhand couch in a half-darkened room with laptop and glass of a crisp Oregon Pinot Gris writing poems after singing the kid's bedtime songs and... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Every day you open my eyes to my choices and my flaws. You wake me to my strength, to the earth beneath my feet. You wake me to the places where I've failed to remember you not to shame but... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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You are the first thought I want to have. Are you there this morning? Can I sense you? Have I thanked you yet today for the melody that twined through my dreaming, the one that sounded the way tzitzit feel... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
When a Jewish marriage has ended, there is an act that brings closure to the marriage -- the granting of a גט / a "get," a legal document of release. (Here's some basic information about how that usually works.) What... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In this week's Torah portion there is an intriguing passage (Deuteronomy 24: 1-4) about divorce. Torah says: when a man takes a wife and possesses her, and then finds something about her displeasing, he is to write her a bill... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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When the ground beneath my feet shifts like sand when I wake to unfamiliar views out foreign windows when the stories I once told about how my life would be unravel like a sweater whose loose thread is pulled when... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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How to feel you with me hand on my shoulderblade song in my ear how to share with you the surprise of wild mint, the blue of September sky how to let summer slip through my fingers without grieving its... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I know there was a moment when everything changed. When I opened a door and became aware of you. Since then you hover at the edge of my awareness like sunlight warming my face, like cinnamon or etrog peel spicing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The most difficult, of course, is myself. No one else sees my failings half so clearly. Every word I should have said and didn't, or should have known better than to speak. And my heart that flows in ways not... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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With my life. I place myself in your hands without fear. I know that to you I am precious cargo. With my fragility. You see my vulnerable places, my most wrenching tears. You would never shame me. With my strength.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Things that have no limit in this world or any other: how often I can think of you and feel my sadness lessen the comfort that I find in you from eve to night to morning how many times I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The exterior's a little shabby, could use a coat of paint. A bit worn after a hard year: not a lot of curb appeal. Most people walk right by. Not you: you see the mezuzah in the doorway, the light... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I want to hear your voice every day of my life. Murmur in my ear a reminder: you knock on the door of my heart. Every day of my life you bring light to my eyes. You knock on the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Have you ever been asked the question "if you knew you were going to be marooned on a desert island, what five books would you take with you?" One of mine would be Rabbi Alan Lew's This Is Real And... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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To think of you when I wake and as I close my eyes. To orient myself toward you like a flower toward the sun. To steer by your promises steadfast as the stars. To trust that I bring you joy,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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That you love me. I could stop there: that one short clause fuels me day after day. That you don't want me to hide my heart. That grief will end and joy will flower. That you are with me even... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This week's Torah portion contains one of the most famous justice-related verses in Torah: "צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף, / tzedek tzedek tirdof" -- "Justice, justice shall you pursue!" Although the parsha begins with the injunction to establish judges, this instruction --... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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You remind me I don't have to turn myself inside-out to be loved. I don't have to force my feet into shoes that don't fit or walk a path that isn't mine. You don't want me to hide any of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Not why suffering, why grief why manipulation or unkindness -- but that you are with me that I am never truly alone: this I understand, this creates a filligreed cage of protection around my heart. I'm participating again this year... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi