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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
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 yesterday 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 4 days ago 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 6 days ago 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 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thanks to the Vancouver Jewish Independent for the lovely article about our recent visit to Vancouver as part of the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour! (Though they magically transformed me from a Barenblat into a Rosenblatt.) Here's a taste:... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've been sitting with this Anaïs Nin quote for a while. "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom." It feels especially resonant to me as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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How can I begin to write about the sum total of ten days of ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour travel? This is our twelfth of thirteen trips over the course of a year. The others were weekends or conferences:... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
(A Listening Tour d'var Torah for Shabbat HaGadol and Shabbat Metzora at Kehilla Community Synagogue) Shabbat Shalom. I come bearing perhaps surprising news: Pesach is almost upon us. This is Shabbat haGadol, the "Great Shabbat" immediately before Passover. Traditionally, as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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One of my dreams, for this week in California, was to manage to daven one morning on the beach. As it turns out, it's only about a block from the friend's house where I've been staying to the edge of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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וַיְדַבֵּר יי אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר אָדָם, כִּי-יִהְיֶה בְעוֹר-בְּשָׂרוֹ... "The Eternal spoke to Moses and Aaron saying: If a person has in the skin of the flesh a sore ..." (Leviticus 13:1-2). Tazria is not my favorite Torah portion. There are... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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When we were in Montréal last month on the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour, Rabbi David and I -- along with Rabbi Jan Salzman, visiting from Burlington, and Rabbi Shalom Schachter, visiting from Toronto -- were interviewed by Leslie... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
We're looking so forward to being with you in a few days!
1 reply
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We're setting off today for the next stops on the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour! Rabbi David and I are heading in different directions for a few days: I'm going to do a Shabbaton in Las Vegas, he's off... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I could not be more delighted to announce this news: Open My Lips, my new collection of Jewish liturgical prayer, has just been published by Ben Yehuda Press! Here's how the publisher describes the book: This volume of contemporary liturgical... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The verse which leapt out at me this year when I sat down to study this week's parsha is this one (Leviticus 9:6): ויאמר משה זה הדבר אשר צוה הויה תעשו וירא אליכם כבוד הויה The JPS translation renders that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
I hear you. I have heard from others that grief sometimes flows strong at the end of the 11 months -- I think what you're saying here about the kaddish having been a way to not-yet-let-go makes a lot of sense. I wish I had wisdom to offer you which might make this transition easier. I bless you that you should find comfort even in these narrow places of the heart.
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2016 on After every funeral at Velveteen Rabbi
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Every time I am called to do a funeral for someone who had grown children, I notice my own emotions arising in response to what I witness in the emotional landscape of the mourners. I'm blessed that my parents are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
You're most welcome to use it! All of my liturgical work online is available for general use as long as there's attribution (e.g. as long as it says somewhere on there that it's by me.)
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2016 on Listen up, y'all at Velveteen Rabbi
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Every stop on the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour is different, and every one has been amazing in its own way. But I suspect that our weekend in Vancouver may stand out in memory as one of the most... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
(A Listening Tour d'var Torah for Shabbat morning at Or Shalom) This week's Torah portion includes a description of the smicha (ordination) of Aaron and his sons -- the first ancient Israelite priests. The word smicha comes from a root... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The first seder is four weeks from tonight, which means that four weeks from tomorrow night we'll begin counting the Omer -- mindfully marking the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot, between liberation and revelation. The Omer is one of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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We're on the road again! The next stop on the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour is the one for which we'll be traveling the furthest: Vancouver, British Columbia. Our weekend in Vancouver will be hosted by Or Shalom, Canada's... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
Earlier this year, ALEPH released a new digital haggadah for Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees. As a manifestation of our commitment to caring for our planet, we released it as a slideshow, designed to be projected on... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've just registered for this summer's ALEPH Kallah in Fort Collins, Colorado! Kallah is ALEPH's (usually) biennial week-long gathering. (Last year we held the Getting It... Together retreat instead, so it has now been three years since the last Kallah.)... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi
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If you pay attention to the emails you receive from the synagogue office, you may have noticed that this month some of us are engaging in an experiment with the mitzvah of blessing our food. We're making an extra effort,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2016 at Velveteen Rabbi