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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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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 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for reading, dear Beth, and for these kind words.
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Thank you for your note, R' Goldie! The image came from a post on Kol ALEPH (there is a link at the bottom of the post); it was designed by Hazzan Shoshanna Brown and implemented by graphic designer Les Schachter.
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When I hear news of a death, I feel as though I'm clicking into a higher gear. Life gets faster, details sharper. Everything extraneous falls away. On a practical level (in the world of assiyah) there are so many things... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you so much for the kind words, Larry! And oh, what a beautiful story about your time in the nursing home in Trenton. Thank you for sharing that.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Praying in the nursing home at Velveteen Rabbi
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You are so very welcome. It is an honor and a privilege to serve your family and to know your brother.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Praying in the nursing home at Velveteen Rabbi
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It was my honor and my privilege, Paulette. I'm so glad I was able to be there.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Praying in the nursing home at Velveteen Rabbi
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"Dancing with the scriptures" -- that's a lovely phrase. I love this kind of interpretation. Sometimes it feels like (to use a phrase borrowed from one of my teachers) "hermeneutics gone wild," but often it opens up new facets of scripture which I would never otherwise have seen.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Terumah: the Torah of 40 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you so much for the kind words, Tim!
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Terumah: the Torah of 40 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I have been thinking along exactly these lines! For reasons which are probably obvious. *grin*
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Terumah: the Torah of 40 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Here's the d'var Torah I had intended to offer yesterday at my shul. As it turned out, I touched on a few of these ideas and then went in a different direction, as we were davening at the local nursing... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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When I arrived at the nursing home with my guitar and a pile of prayerbooks, they kindly gave me a bellhop's cart. Better yet, they provided a staff person who could lead me through the labyrinth to the right elevator... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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The world is full of terrible news, including news about inter-religious mistrust, hatred, and violence. And since it's Adar and we're supposed to be joyful, I thought I'd signal-boost a few hopeful things which have come across my transom recently.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
Chodesh tov -- happy new month of Adar! This is the month of which our sages said, "When Adar enters, joy increases." In light of that, here's a setting of the c. 11th century hymn "Adon Olam," which is part... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I wonder sometimes how it came to pass that so many cultures have celebrations / carnivals / festivals around this time of year. Christians have Mardi Gras, the "Fat Tuesday" carnival which precedes the Lenten season; Hindus have Holi, the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
The Christian season of Lent is almost here. I know that many of the Christians I know online choose to use this season as a time to "fast" from particular qualities or forms of internet use -- fasting from Facebook... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I awoke recently in the night and saw the enormous icicles hanging down from our bedroom windows limned by moonlight. All I could think in my sleep-muddled state was that we were surrounded by an icicle forest! But the moonlight... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Here's the brief d'var Torah I offered at my shul yesterday morning. (Cross-posted to my From the Rabbi blog.) In this week's Torah portion we receive a wealth of ethical commandments. For instance: When an ox gores someone to death,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This has been a week with more than its share of heartache. And I know that every week fits that bill for someone, somewhere. Shabbat is supposed to offer us a taste of the world to come. A drink from... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The most heartfelt -- and heartbreaking -- piece I've read about the Chapel Hill shootings is this one: My best friend was killed and I don't know why. I commend it to you, along with this NPR piece -- 'We're... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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One of the things I frequently love about science fiction and fantasy is that it opens up the possibilities of worlds other than our own. In that sense it's a very redemptive genre, because it holds out hope that the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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"Its energy surrounds us and binds us," says Yoda to Luke Skywalker, describing the Force. "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter!" We've had a lot of snow days recently in New England. Snow days mean playing outside, sledding,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This morning I sat in our sanctuary, put on my tallit and tefillin, and quietly played guitar for a while. This was one of those days when no one showed up for Friday morning meditation -- which was not a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I've come to love celebrating Tu BiShvat in the snow. I know that in the Mediterranean, where this festival originates, this time of year means blooming fruit trees. In south Texas, which has a very Mediterranean-like climate, things are beginning... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The full moon of the month of Shvat was last night. (Happy Tu BiShvat!) A month from now, at the next full moon, we'll celebrate Purim. And a month after that, at the next full moon, we'll celebrate Pesach! Okay,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi