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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
In preparation for Getting It... Together, the coming weekend's gathering celebrating the 25th anniversary of that historic trip taken by a group of rabbis and a poet to Dharamsala to meet with the Dalai Lama, I finally watched Laurel Chiten's... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
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In the verses we just read, Miriam has just died and the people have no water. God tells Moshe to speak to a rock so that it will yield water for the children of Israel. Moshe, instead, responds with snark:... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Why do we break a glass at the end of every Jewish wedding? There are many answers, but one of the interpretations which resonates for me is this: we break a glass to remind ourselves that even in our moments... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've been trying to figure out how to write about Magda Kapa's All the Words (Phoenicia Publishing, 2015). This is not an ordinary volume of poems. These are brief aphorisms, glancing definitions, collected in groupings by month. They are periodically... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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In the summer of 1989, I spent five weeks traveling the American West with a group called Man and His Land. The trip offered opportunities to taste a variety of different wilderness experiences: backpacking and canoeing in Yellowstone, a river-rafting... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
On the eve of this year's first meeting with Randall, the student hazzan who will co-lead our high holiday services with me, I found myself humming the weekday evening liturgy...in the nusach, the melodic mode, of the Days of Awe.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I remember, many years ago at the first retreat I ever attended with Reb Zalman z"l, hearing him talk about prayer* -- specifically about the sense one might have, at a certain point, that the words have all already been... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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ALEPH's Getting It... Together weekend is coming up soon. The Shabbaton (Shabbat retreat) is now sold out, but it's still possible to join us just for Friday night or just for Sunday's event: Living the Legacy Tracing Reb Zalman's vision,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Summer twilight, Williamstown, close to 9pm. I love breathing the air here during the summer. The fresh green scent of cut grass, whether newly-mown lawns or newly-shorn hayfields. From lilac blooms in late May to wisteria blooms in August. Right... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
Once again, horrific violence. A white gunman named Dylann Roof entered a Black church in Charleston, SC, and killed nine, including a pastor who was also a state senator. (New York Times: Charleston Church Shooting Leaves 9 Dead; New Yorker,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In 2004 I wrote an article for Bitch Magazine about women in what some of us were then calling the godblogosphere. It ran in their fall 2004 issue. I titled it "Women Who Blog Faithfully." They titled it "Blog is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you so much for this comment, Reb Jeff. It's neat to know that Reb Rodger's book moved you too, even though you had already been a student of Reb Zalman's! Thank you, also, for reading -- your presence here means a lot to me.
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25 years is a long time. Some of the things I loved 25 years ago -- the books, the ideas, the certainties -- don't necessarily speak to me now. Then again, some of the things which were formative for me... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This is the third post in a series of short meditations on morning prayers. (See Part 1: Gratitude and Part 2: Soul.) I always say that my favorite prayer is modah ani, the blessing for gratitude. And it is. But... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
What a wonderful yoga workshop - I wish I could take part in it!
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Oy; I'm so sorry to hear that in the email you received the words were in reverse order! I don't know what I can do about that -- different email modalities and providers may or may not be able to parse the bilingual material -- but hopefully the material always appears in correct format here on the blog.
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This is the second post in a series of short meditations on morning prayers.(See Part 1: Gratitude.) When I asked colleagues for their suggestions of morning prayers which start the day on the right foot, several of them mentioned Elohai... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
I've been known to sing morning prayers in the car on the way to work, too. :-) I'm so glad this resonates for you; thank you for saying so!
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I am so glad that this reached you when you needed it. Thank you for telling me!
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2015 on Beautiful at Velveteen Rabbi
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After I posted about afternoon prayer recently, my mom wrote back to tell me that she liked the post and the prayer, and to ask whether I could share a brief morning prayer, too. It seemed likely to me that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Has anyone told you today that you are beautiful? Not because of what you're wearing. Not because they like your jewelry or your tie, though maybe they do. But your clothes aren't the point. Not now. Not because they want... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
I've trained myself to begin and end each day with what my ALEPH teachers would call prayerful consciousness. I begin the day with modah ani, sung silently in my head if not aloud; I end the day with the shema... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In the verses we just read from Beha’alot’kha, God takes the spirit which was upon Moses and places it on seventy elders, and all of them begin to prophesy. Then two other men, Eldad and Medad, also begin to prophesy.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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At this time of year, one of the things I most love about where we live is watching the shifting shades of green. This year the trees leafed out while we were in Texas visiting family. When we left the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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There are so many moments which stand out from me from this weekend in New York city, the first stop on the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal listening tour. Moments from our davenen at Romemu. Moments from our meals together. Moments... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi