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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
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 16 hours ago 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 3 days ago 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 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for reading, Gordon. Wishing you blessings, now and always.
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One of the things I love about the Passover story is that every year the story is the same, and every year I hear it anew. (This is true of the whole Torah, too, but I knew and loved the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This week we're taking a break from the regular cycle of Torah readings. Our special Torah reading for Shabbat Chol Ha-Moed Pesach, the Shabbat that comes in the midst of this festival, returns us to the book of Exodus. In... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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On the first morning of Pesach I took my pocket siddur onto my mirpesset (balcony) and davened the psalms of Hallel. I sang them quietly enough not to disturb my neighbors, but loud enough to hear myself singing. I hadn't... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Pesach is almost upon us! Many of you may be scurrying around today making final preparations for seder -- but on the off-chance that you're looking for some thematic reading, here are some posts I've shared on Pesach themes over... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Deep thanks to the folks at Jewish Women International for the lovely write-up on the Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach! Here's a taste: “I know some people use my Haggadah whole cloth and some use excerpts with whatever Seder they... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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It's Shabbat HaGadol, "The Great Shabbat" -- the Shabbat that comes right before Pesach. Traditionally, this is the day when rabbis are supposed to give lengthy sermons on the importance of properly cleaning one's house for Pesach and getting rid... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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A few weeks ago, on a Friday morning, I walked with a dear friend in the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Where we live the world was covered with a winter coat of snow, but in Georgia the first stirrings of spring... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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There are so many things about my week in Alabama that I wish I could share with y'all. The preaching at 16th Street Church in Birmingham last Sunday. I had thought I would miss the service, but the Jewish student... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
...It’s easy to shy away from Leviticus. The middle book of the Torah, Leviticus is rife with the details of a sacrificial system we haven’t practiced in the better part of 2,000 years. (And most contemporary Jews have no interest... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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At the blessed crack of well-before-dawn on Sunday I'm heading south for what promises to be a truly extraordinary week. Each year, the chaplains at Williams College partner with the Center for Learning in Action on an interfaith service trip... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I have loved Pesach since I was a kid. All my life it has been the brightest star in my firmament, the holiday I look forward to the most. And many of the things that I loved about it when... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Beth, thank you for chiming in. I suspect there are differences between the experience of ending a marriage after 18 months and after 18 years... and, no one has a monopoly on the experience of unfinished / un-closed griefs, and the older I get, the more certain I am that they are a natural part of longevity. I don't want to forget. I don't want the grief to stop arising. But I do often ask for help (from God, or my highest self, or whoever might be listening) in remembering to cultivate gratitude for the connections that existed in order to allow the grief to arise in the first place... and, I'm grateful that one of the differences between this year and last year is that the balance of grief to gratitude has shifted. A year ago everything was coming apart at the seams. Now, at least, I can see that I am beginning to rebuild, and I can trust that good things lie ahead. On an unrelated note, how lovely to be having blog-conversation with you and Lorianne again! Feels like old times. :-)
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2017 on On divorce and ambiguous loss at Velveteen Rabbi
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Lorianne, thank you for this reflection.Thank you for reminding me that the moments of grief will continue, and also for normalizing that continuation. Divorced from that part of myself: yes. Yes. There are so many things I loved -- most especially music, though also films, and even locations -- that are unbearably bittersweet for me now. I trust that in time I will be able to reclaim some of them, but for now, I'm cut off from the me who immersed in those things, because that "me" was a "we," and the "we" doesn't exist anymore. And what you say at the end of this comment, about the wide sea between the you of now and the idealistic newlywed you -- yes to that too.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2017 on On divorce and ambiguous loss at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for sharing the podcast with me, my dear -- it has really shaped my week, and I know it will reverberate in weeks to come.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2017 on On divorce and ambiguous loss at Velveteen Rabbi
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"I think this might speak to you," said my friend Cate as she sent me a link to The Myth of Closure, a July 2016 episode of On Being featuring Dr. Pauline Boss. In interviewer Krista Tippett's words, the episode... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm delighted to be able to announce this happy news: Ben Yehuda Press will be publishing my next collection of poems, Texts to the Holy! Many of the poems from Texts to the Holy have appeared on this blog over... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm honored to be today's featured poet at The Rise Up Review. The poem of mine that they're featuring today is the first poem I wrote during 2017: Here's the page containing my poem and bio; here's the index page,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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"I'm deeply distressed at the desecration of Jewish cemeteries," said my colleague Sharif at the weekly chaplains' staff meeting at our small liberal arts college. "I'm deeply distressed by the mosques set afire," I said to him in return. We... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
I will keep company with you where you go I will go when bitter exile narrows your horizon your tight straits will be mine too let me lift you from the ashes, dress you in nothing but light like a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
A short d'var Torah. (Which may or may not about the parsha -- in this instance, my wee d'var was on the chag, rather than the parsha.)
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2017 on What costumes can reveal at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for reading it, and for the kind words, and for remembering those days with me!
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2017 on What costumes can reveal at Velveteen Rabbi
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