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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
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It's funny how memories come back at unexpected moments. The feeling of bobbing in the warm waters of the Guadalupe, lifejacket and waterskis keeping me afloat, with the bright woven ski rope threading through my hands as the boat idled... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Tisha b'Av is almost upon us -- that painful day when we remember the fall of the first Temple in 586 BCE, and the fall of the second Temple in 70 CE. The anniversary, tradition teaches, of all kinds of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, the first day of the lunar month of Av. One month from now we'll enter Elul, the month immediately preceding the Days of Awe. Many of us strive to make Elul a month of introspection... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm taking a break from the internet for a week or so. May the Shabbat which begins tonight bring peace to our hearts and to our troubled earth. May the week which follows be one in which kindness and compassion... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for this comment, Beth. I am thinking about why I feel compelled to check in all the time. I do think there's something addictive about it. On a good day it can feel like a constant network of happy connections -- oh look, A had her baby! B is posting beautiful vacation photos! C is sharing a thoughtful essay she read somewhere! -- but lately it's been a lot of tragedy, and also a lot of people shouting at each other about how it's wrong to even show the other side's suffering, and I'm finding it deeply toxic. Your statement that "some people can drink and others just can't" really strikes me. That social media or news can be addictive is no surprise to me, but somehow I hadn't made the leap from there to the reality that I may be someone who is so emotionally and spiritually porous that these spaces aren't necessarily healthy for me. Certainly not when a large percentage of the people I know are consumed with a violent struggle. Your blog *is* a quiet, sane place of respite and rationality. I am grateful for it, and for you.
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Lately I've been talking with rabbinic colleagues about how best to minister to our congregants who are struggling with the news out of Israel/Palestine. We're hearing from people who are unable to fall asleep because they can't stop thinking about... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Amen v'amen.
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Thank you for this beautiful and resonant comment, Hayyim -- I have written about the breaking of the tablets in previous 17 Tamuz posts but didn't mention them here, and that was an omission. Yes: Torah is inscribed on our hearts, and our heartbreak mirrors that shattering. May our fasting accrue merit toward the healing of all of these broken places.
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I don't usually fast on the 17th of Tamuz. For that matter, I didn't even take on the practice of fasting for Tisha b'Av until a few years ago. (See This year's wrestle with Tisha b'Av, 2011.) I didn't grow... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Not long ago I posted a prayer co-written with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb in remembrance of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Sha'ar, Eyal Yifrah, and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. (It's here: A prayer in remembrance.) Rabbi Lila Veissid, who serves Kibbutz Ha-Ma'apil in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
I have been watching the news (and reading blog posts and tweets and Facebook updates) out of Israel and the Palestinian territories with a sense of unbearable heartbreak. It brings me to the brink of something like a panic attack:... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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When I announced the publication of Days of Awe: the Velveteen Rabbi's Machzor for the Yamim Nora'im, several people emailed to find out whether the prayerbook is available in a hardcover edition. It wasn't then, but it is now! That... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Yes, of course, you are most welcome to do so! Wishing you blessings.
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(From my flickr stream.) Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Shekhina, I need to recharge help me find a dock with the right number of pins. I'll send You every gratitude every blessing, spoken and unspoken every yearning. Install Your presence on my heart install comfort install forgiveness. I can't... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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On Tuesday, July 15, many Jews will observe Tzom Tamuz, "the fast of Tamuz" -- one of Judaism's minor fast days, commemorating the breach of Jerusalem's city walls which led (three weeks later) to the destruction of the Second Temple... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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How can I begin to write about Reb Zalman? So many others knew him longer than I did. And so many others have written, and will write, about how his extraordinary life and work have shaped Jewish life today. I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Ten years ago when I first heard Reb Zalman (zichrono livracha / may his memory be a blessing!) teach in person, he sighed that the Fourth of July had once been an important yontif (holiday), but seemed no longer to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
My beloved teacher, rebbe, and zaide ("grandfather") Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, z"l (may his memory be a blessing) died this morning in his sleep. He was 89. Here is a seven-minute video in which he explains and explores psalm 23 --... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb May the memories of our boys killed in senseless hatred be for a blessing. May their spirits be lifted up and comforted in the close embrace of God's motherly presence. May our... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
WAKING I will wake in the morning -- will my breath remember me, will my spirit be returned back from the rooms' shell, caverns echoing and empty? -- Seon Joon, "the quiet" Because You grant it I will emerge from... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at Velveteen Rabbi
Because you don't leave your email address when you comment, I have no way to communicate this to you but to post it as a comment in a few of the places where you have recently commented. Perhaps it will reach you. Jack, On this blog, on a recent post, you wrote: >>just go on doing damage to your people, blindly following manic self hating Jews who are posed with a sick moral narcissism As a comment on my recent essay in Zeek, you wrote: >>she's a rabbi like my Labrador is a rabbi In recent days you have accused me of doing damage to the people I have dedicated my life to serving; you have deeply insulted my teachers whom I love and respect; and you have compared me to your dog, intimating that your dog is more of a rabbi than I am. If that's your opinion, I don't understand why you're still reading my blog. You are, of course, welcome to continue reading -- it's posted publicly on the internet. But I'm not interested in further verbal abuse. This blog is like an extension of my home. I would never invite someone back to my home who said those things about me or my loved ones. You are not welcome to comment here again. Rabbi Barenblat
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2014 on Breathing, prayer, the planet at Velveteen Rabbi
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Because you do not give your email address when you comment, I'm posting this as a comment on two recent posts where you have left comments; I don't know how else to communicate this to you. Jack, On this blog, on a recent post, you wrote: >>just go on doing damage to your people, blindly following manic self hating Jews who are posed with a sick moral narcissism As a comment on my recent essay in Zeek, you wrote: >>she's a rabbi like my Labrador is a rabbi In recent days you have accused me of doing damage to the people I have dedicated my life to serving; you have deeply insulted my teachers whom I love and respect; and you have compared me to your dog, intimating that your dog is more of a rabbi than I am. If that's your opinion, I don't understand why you're still reading my blog. You are, of course, welcome to continue reading -- it's posted publicly on the internet. But I'm not interested in further verbal abuse. This blog is like an extension of my home. I would never invite someone back to my home who said those things about me or my loved ones. You are not welcome to comment here again. Rabbi Barenblat
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So glad this spoke to you, am! Thank you for reading, as ever.
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What a wonderful addendum! Thank you for sharing it. :-)
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