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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
What a wonderful thing for you to say. Thank you, Reb Jeff!
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Intensive care at Velveteen Rabbi
1 reply
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A few weeks ago I received a couple of photo albums in the mail from my parents. One of them contained photographs from the first months of my life, beginning with the weeks I spent at what they then called... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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In this week's Torah portion, the children of Israel tell Moses, כל אשר דבר ה׳ נעשה / "All that God has spoken, we will do." After that, they receive the Ten Commandments. Wait. Doesn't that seem backwards? How could we... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for this post, Beth. So much.
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2017 on On non-retirement at the cassandra pages
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Many years ago when I was in rabbinic school I used to daven one morning a week with a telephone minyan of rabbinic school friends. We were all in the eastern time zone, in states scattered across the country. We... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
It's Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees! A few people have asked for copies of the digital haggadah we used at our Tu BiShvat lunch seder. Here it is: Tu BiShvat Haggadah 5777 / 2017 from Rachel Barenblat... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This morning we sang excerpts from the Song at the Sea. We sang my favorite line from that song: עָזִי וְזִמרָת יָה וַיְהִי–לִי לִישֻעָה. That line is often translated as "God is my strength and my might, and will be... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Tonight is the full moon of the month of Shvat, which means that it's Tu BiShvat -- the new year of the trees. (I realize that here at WCJA you'll be celebrating Tu BiShvat next weekend. You get a week-long... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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"This is where I like to explore," my son tells me. To an adult eye, this is the smallish band of trees and underbrush between our condo development and the condo development down the road, but to him these are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've been a fan of Dave Bonta's poetry for a long time. (I reviewed his chapbook Odes to Tools at the Best American Poetry blog some years ago.) So when I learned that his new collection was coming out from... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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One of the pieces of my work at Congregation Beth Israel for which I am most grateful is our Friday morning meditation minyan. We call it a "minyan" in recognition of the fact that the term can mean both the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Right now in our cycle of Torah readings (parashat Bo) we're reading about the plagues and the start of the Exodus. Looking for inspiration on this week's parsha, I turned to the Hasidic master known as the Me'or Eynayim, "The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Rabbi David Ingber's Friday night sermon from Romemu last night is some of the most powerful preaching I've ever seen. It's about doorways. I don't want to say any more, because I don't want to spoil it for you. Take... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In this week's Torah portion, Moses argues with Pharaoh about letting the people go. It's framed as "let the people go so they may worship Adonai." Torah doesn't speak in terms of freedom for its own sake. Moshe seeks his... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've been thinking this week about the Torah of new beginnings. It's a new semester, a new beginning for all of you and all of your professors. And tonight marks a new beginning for me, too, the beginning of a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm not sure when I first went to Friday night services and dinner at the JRC -- the Jewish Religious Center -- at Williams. But I'm pretty sure it was the first Friday of my freshman year, fall of 1992,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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A congregant asked me recently how I am managing. She meant both the circumstances of my life -- single parent, working one job and about to start a second -- and our national circumstances, as the new administration makes decisions... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I entered Shabbat and emerged from Shabbat heartsick at news of Trump's ban on Muslims and refugees entering this country. That he would issue such a ban at all is horrifying. That he did so on a day of remembrance... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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At the end of Shabbat, my son and I walked into the sanctuary of one of the synagogues in the bigger town south of here for a county-wide havdalah. He immediately noticed the ner tamid -- the eternal light --... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
This is beautiful. Thank you for these photographs and for bearing witness. I wasn't able to march today; instead I led services, and gave a sermon that I hope spoke the truths I needed to say, and have spent the afternoon with my son being mom and cooking and doing laundry and refreshing all of my social media pages endlessly, cheered and heartened to see so many people around the world standing up. I know that the work ahead of us is vast -- but today I just needed a droplet of hope, and posts like this one are balm for my soul.
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Did you ever watch "Mission Impossible"? At the start of each episode, a recorded voice would announce "Your mission, should you choose to accept it..." And then after explaining the mission, the voice would conclude "this tape will self-destruct in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Likewise, Reb Jeff -- it is always good to see you, and I'm grateful for your presence as a fellow traveler on this journey we are blessed to share.
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Every year I struggle to figure out how to describe my week with this particular subset of my ALEPH / Jewish Renewal community, and every year my words come up short. This is even more true than it used to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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These are the names of the daughters of Israel Who came into the womb of narrow unknowing Each with her household, to be rebirthed anew, Called by name at the moment of becoming No less than the stars that shine... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Eleven years ago at this season I made my way to Colorado for my first ALEPH Ordination Programs student Shabbaton and OHALAH conference. I experienced the ritual that welcomes incoming students and blesses outgoing students, on the Sunday morning of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi