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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
DAY 20: WINDOWS ON THE WORLD Imagine a house where every window shows a different world. This one reveals the root system of an ancient tree. This one, a mother rocking her infant back down to sleep. A young man... Continue reading
Posted 19 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Last summer it occurred to some of us in the Jewish Renewal world that this year, 2015, would mark the 25th anniversary of the trip to Dharamsala chronicled in Rodger Kamenetz's The Jew in the Lotus. Wouldn't it be neat,... Continue reading
Posted 19 hours ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 19: SEASIDE In a town by the sea, where the air is sweet with dune-growing roses and licked lips taste like salt, where the wind whips your prayer shawl into the air like wings with a mind of their... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
This coming Shabbat I'll be the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Westchester Reform Temple women's retreat. The theme for the retreat is "Celebrating Ourselves: Bringing Wellness and Wisdom into Everyday Life," and I'll be offering a talk titled Revealing... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
One of the neat things about Ethan running the Center for Civic Media at MIT is that sometimes I get the opportunity to play with cool new technology before it's released to the public. Today's the official launch day for... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 18: SECRET PRAYERS Eighteen days now we've broken in our walking shoes. The world is scribed with secret prayers. Tucked in today's pockets: slips of paper which read to life! This eighteenth day is a shiny pewter spigot, waiting.... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 17: TASTE AND SEE Remember the first slice of bread after seven days of matzah -- how the sawtoothed knife cut through the airy crumb against the drag of crust, steam rising from the newly-baked loaf: manna after a... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 16 - SHOE SEEKER How much of your life will you spend seeking shoes? Hunting the keys you're certain you left in a pocket, sunglasses resting unnoticed on top of your head? Meanwhile the Holy One hides in plain... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 15: FIFTEEN A hidden name of God. Steps ascending to the Temple, each with its own psalm. Words in the blessing which places God's Name on the people, opening channels. Morning thank-yous, each hinting at the Exodus: once, a... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Here's the d'var Torah I offered at my shul yesterday morning. Every year I struggle with the story of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron who brought forth "strange fire" and who were immediately consumed by a fire which... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 14: FORTNIGHT Two weeks out of Egypt, were our ancestors footsore? First, the jubilation of skipping town without even a sourdough starter -- then sandal-blisters, manna, and fear. We don't know where this invisible God will take us. We... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 13: GENERATION Of all the outbuildings the loneliest is the workshop. The round stone barn remains sweet with hay, the meetinghouse patiently awaits the next meeting but the woodworking tools miss the touch of weathered hands. They're still bound... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 12: MEDITATE ON THEM Run your fingers along red leather spines embossed in gold. Read their titles like Braille. Cradle the mantled scroll in your arms like a sleeping child, more precious than gold. Weigh the silver breastplate in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
Heeee! :-)
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2015 on Day 11 of the Omer at Velveteen Rabbi
1 reply
DAY 11: TREE POSE The way to hold tree pose: focus on a still point and let your eyes go soft. Slow your breathing. Grow roots from heel and toe. The redwoods endure. Imagine the cross-section: here's the fall of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 9: SONG AT THE SEA a psalm of transformation. Can you still hear the song at the sea? Remember the melody, soaring. We all walked together, my hand on your shoulder. You gained a new name in the journey.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 8: WHAT IT MEANS TO PRAY The judge sees through you like an X-ray. Let your heart give up its secrets. This is what it means to pray: to discern the subtle workings of —let's call it soul, although... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 7 - BLESSING When I say that we're blessed -- I mean we're loved the way we are, but what do those words mean to you? (How do you feel when I say Adonai?) Do the prayers actually describe... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
The seventh day of Pesach is considered to be the day when our ancestors passed through the Sea of Reeds. Each of us is called to experience the Exodus from Egypt in our own lives, and this is the day... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 6 - ROOTS Plant your feet and burrow rootlets down through the carpet. Find reservoirs, water permeating the bed of an ancient sea. Plant your flag in this moment, claiming here and now: they are yours to clutch in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 5 - MEASURE 1. עמר (omer), noun, masc.: ancient Israelite unit of dry measure A harvested sheaf large enough to bundle with rope. The amount of manna a person could eat in a day. What an Israelite man owed... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 4 - WHERE AND WHEN Where are we going now? To Sinai: not a place but a moment. Yank the lever and whoop as we take off. You'll know we've arrived when you see a symphony splashed across desert... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 3 - THIRD GENERATION I. Abraham was a softie: tent open on all sides, offering kisses on both cheeks. Always handing out thimbles of cardamom-scented coffee. He listened to everyone including his wife who said get that woman's son... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 2 - IN THE BEGINNING Let Me be known! God said, and amino acids bloomed in the amniotic sea. A semi-permeable membrane divided waters outside from waters inside. The ribosomes received their names and tasks and it was good.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 1: ONE STEP The Egyptian sky was a goddess doing a backbend. Once we crossed the watery barrier she gave way and the heavens became sapphire floor beneath the throne. And we stood by the sea and sang praises... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi