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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
I like your approach. I too find beauty in getting together with family and friends for an autumnal feast of gratitude. And I too want our son to learn the real story of how European colonization took place. Happy thanksgiving to you too, my dear.
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Thanks for the link to Margaret Watson's blog. My intention with the still from the Peanuts cartoon had been to illustrate the narrative I learned as a child (in the form in which I learned it -- e.g. that very cartoon), which I hoped to then call into question with the blog post's text. My hope was that the post would gently call into question both of these rosy-hued and biased narratives, even as it acknowledged why (I think) the narratives still contain power for us. I may have failed in accurately communicating that intention. In any event, I apologize for the misstep and for causing offense or hurt.
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Image removed: a still from "This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers," 1973. (Removed because a reader observed that it perpetuates the very negative stereotypes which I had intended for this post to call into question. My apologies for... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
I'm mostly offline this week, but I just saw the news that officer Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9, will not face trial. (See Ferguson police officer won’t be charged in fatal shooting and Ferguson... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm deeply delighted that the folks at The Wisdom Daily, a publication which I greatly admire, wanted to reprint a version of a blog post which first appeared here. They reposted my piece about Toni Bernhard's book How to Be... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Earlier this fall I was honored by the invitation to offer some words of Torah as part of the Peace Parsha series at Americans for Peace Now. You can read my commentary on parashat Toldot at APN: If this is... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
We hesitate at the unlit stairwell but two men sitting in the dark nod and point us upwards. Four flights up we reach al-Sendebad: open on all sides, Abraham’s tent in concrete. We sit on plastic chairs overlooking streets, square,... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
You, standing in line at the coffee shop or shivering at the gas pump -- what phone call do you dread in the back of your mind from the moment you wake up? I don't know what grief lurks in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Today's news out of Jerusalem rends my heart. The mere fact of being alive being means that each of us will experience suffering: sickness, pain, grief. These come with being human. Being human means we experience love and joy and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I was writing an email to a dear friend recently and acknowledged, somewhat ruefully, that my mind has been spinning in circles lately. By way of illustration, I typed out the several things at the top of my mind. When... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Chanukah begins in mid-December, and perhaps you are looking for Chanukah gifts for someone in your life who loves poetry. (Hey, I can hope, right?) I hope you'll consider clicking through to Phoenicia Publishing, the wonderful independent press in Montreal... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Here's the d'var Torah I offered yesterday at my shul. (Cross-posted to my From the Rabbi blog.) For me the most striking feature of this parsha -- which contains Sarah's death, Avraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, Eliezer his... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Several years ago, composer Michael Veloso set two of the poems from the manuscript which would become Waiting to Unfold to music. I had the extraordinary experience of being able to hear them in concert, performed by the Boston-based ensemble... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Two years ago this week Ethan and I went to Spain, where I had never been before. He had been engaged to speak at a conference in Barcelona, and we took advantage of that fact to snatch a tiny little... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you so much for sharing it -- in all of these places.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2014 on Handwritten at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for this -- what a beautiful Rilke reference!
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2014 on Handwritten at Velveteen Rabbi
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This handwritten copy of one of my poems was shared at morning davenen at the Reconstructionist Rabbinic College yesterday: (The image was sent to me by a friend and colleague who was there.) I am so gratified and humbled that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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There is something satisfying about the tangibility of the beads. I like the way they feel in my hands, the smoothness of them beneath my fingers. I like the feel of one clicking against the next. They sit in a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This book is written for people who are ill and aren't going to get better, and also for their caregivers, people who love them and suffer along with them in wishing that things were different. It speaks most specifically about... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Looking for a printable shiva minyan liturgy? There's one at the end of this post. I almost always begin a shiva minyan by telling a story about what we're doing and why we're doing it. (Shiva means seven and minyan... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Many thanks to Kate Abbott of Berkshires Week, the weekly magazine which is part of The Berkshire Eagle, for the lovely article about Jewish Book Month happenings in Berkshire County. The article begins with a quote from one of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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No one knows who these men are or why their photograph has been handed down in our family. If I had to guess, I would say that this photo is probably from Belarus, childhood home to my grandfather Isaac, a.k.a.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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It's lovely to be the Jewish Renewal voice quoted in this Moment magazine article about cultured meat and its putative kashrut. (Science fiction future, here we come?) Here's how it begins: In Genesis, God granted humans dominion over animals. In... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
I posted yesterday about a poetry reading I was scheduled to give this Thursday. That reading has been canceled because I will be doing a funeral at that time. Please join me in holding the bereaved family in our hearts... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
This post talks about violence against women. If that is likely to be triggering for you, please guard your own boundaries and read with care. What can I say in response to the many awful things wrong in the world?... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi