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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
Hi Cecelia, Sorry the link is broken; that's an outdated version of the haggadah. You can always find the most up-to-date version by going to velveteenrabbi.com and clicking on the haggadah link. (Or by going here: http://velveteenrabbi.com/2015/02/03/velveteen-rabbis-haggadah-for-pesach/) Hope this helps!
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I'm honored to be the subject of the Faculty Spotlight in the latest issue of Beyond Walls, the online journal dedicated to the program of the same name in which I'm teaching this summer. Here's a taste: I think of... Continue reading
Posted 13 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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At the center of the seder experience is the step in the seder known as Maggid -- "telling the story." (The word maggid shares a root with haggadah; the Haggadah is the book which tells the tale.) We are helped,... Continue reading
Posted 16 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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At Purim, God hides. The Name of God appears nowhere in the Megillah -- though divine presence is woven through the story for those with eyes to see. At Pesach, God is everywhere in the story. "And the Holy One... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
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These are hostia shoots, photographed outside our house one year in early May. I look forward to their return -- though I know it will be several weeks before I see any such thing. The snows fell high and thick... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I am thoroughly delighted that Zeek just published my Q and A with Shulem Deen, the man who used to blog as Hasidic Rebel -- now author of All Who Go Do Not Return, new this week from Greywolf Press.... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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A few weeks ago Ethan misplaced his wedding ring. We realized on a Monday morning, and searched all week with increasing urgency. We hunted everywhere in the kitchen, even moving the stove to make sure it hadn't fallen behind. We... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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The seder unfolds over the course of fifteen steps. The Hebrew word סדר / seder means "order," and this is a ritual with a distinct order. In our house, we sing the fifteen steps in the order of the seder... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Here's the d'var Torah I offered yesterday at my shul for parashat Vayikra. In cheder, the Hebrew elementary school of late 19th and early 20th-century eastern Europe, boys began learning Torah at the age of five. They began with Vayikra,... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Today I will have the inestimable joy of leading davenen at my shul alongside my friend (and ALEPH partner) Rabbi David Markus. I can't think of a sweeter way to begin my 40th birthday. Perhaps this is a good day... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
At 1pm on Thursday, March 26, I'll be sharing some poetry at Knesset Israel synagogue (16 Colt Road) in Pittsfield. (Some of you may remember that I was supposed to give this reading back in the fall; it was postponed... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I had a lovely time teaching psalm-writing a few days ago. Eight people participated in the class, including some of my former students from the Inkberry days! Now I'm gearing up for the other Berkshire Festival of Women Writers event... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The Passover Haggadah -- with which I have spent a fair amount of time, in its variety of forms -- teaches us that the Exodus from Egypt is not something which happened "once upon a time" to "them" back "then,"... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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For the sunrise at seven this morning for our son bounding into the bedroom for Mommy look at the sunrise come see the beautiful sunrise for the sleep I rubbed from my eyes and the slumber from my eyelids for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In some ways I first encountered Jewish Renewal in 1994, when I read Rodger Kamenetz's The Jew in the Lotus. In other ways, my first encounter with Jewish Renewal came in 2002 when I gathered up my courage and went... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Here's the short d'var Torah I offered at my shul yesterday for parashat Ki Tisa. In the verses we just read, Torah tells us God has filled the craftsman Bezalel son of Uri with ruach elohim, "spirit of God" or... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
My short meditation for the Shalom Center's Purim to Pesach project is now on their website. It's called Shmita and interconnection. (Shmita is the Hebrew word usually rendered in English as "Sabbatical" -- it means the year of rest which... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Today is Purim -- the full moon of the lunar month of Adar. Pesach (Passover) begins in one month, at the full moon of Nissan. There's a traditional teaching (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 429:1) which holds that "One must begin... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I had the opportunity to do something really neat last night -- to participate in a livestreamed Torah discussion with two colleagues, organized as part of 9 Adar: the Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict. What's 9 Adar? Glad you asked:... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Purim begins tonight at sundown. I used to not really get the appeal of this holiday, but over the years I've grown fonder of Purim. Yes, for kids it's a fun opportunity to dress up and to make noise in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This Thursday evening I'll be participating in a panel discussion featuring female religious leaders, moderated by my friend Reverend Rick Spalding (the head of chaplaincy at Williams College, my alma mater.) The discussion will be at 7pm on March 5... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers begins today. It's a pretty extraordinary month-long festival; there will be an event every day this month showcasing the voices and words of women here in Berkshire county. (In fact there will be 53... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
I hope this haggadah meets your family's needs; thank you so much for the kind words! Have a wonderful holiday.
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Thank you so much for the kind words; I hope it's helpful to you!
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I snapped this photograph out of our bedroom window yesterday morning. The giant mass of ice at the right of the frame is a series of icicles -- some of which are far taller than I am! -- which have... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi