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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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May the Shabbat that is coming bring comfort to all who grieve, sweetness to all who are in need, and balm for our wounded places. May it bring us rest and gentleness and light. May Shabbat enable us to shed... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Today is Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day. As a Jew and as a rabbi I feel that I "should" have something to say, but when I look inside to discern what my heart wants to articulate, I find only tears... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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In this week's Torah portion (at least according to the Reform lectionary), Aaron's sons Nadav and Avihu bring "strange fire" before God and are consumed by divine fire. In the haftarah assigned to this week's Torah portion, from II Samuel,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
Step into the water. You can't see the far shore. Is the foam rising, or receding? Take a deep breath and keep walking. You can't see the far shore. There's no knowing what's ahead. Take a deep breath and keep... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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On the eve of Pesach we search for hidden hametz by the light of a candle. On Thursday evening I hid ten pieces of bread. I called my son downstairs when they were all hidden, and I handed him a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I'm deeply honored that Steve Silbert has once again found inspiration in one of my posts and created a sketchnote arising out of my recent post On removing leaven (again): Find Steve's sketchnotes on his website. Thank you for doing... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
I'm so glad this reached you, Barbara. Thank you for reading and for this comment. Sending blessings -- may your Pesach be high and sweet.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2018 on On removing leaven (again) at Velveteen Rabbi
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You too, Jane!
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2018 on On removing leaven (again) at Velveteen Rabbi
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Thank you for caring, Gordon, and for reading. I smiled when I saw that you had commented. I'm glad you're there.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2018 on On removing leaven (again) at Velveteen Rabbi
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I didn't grow up "keeping Pesach." By which I mean, my family of origin didn't remove the חמץ / hametz (leaven) from our house for seven (or eight) days. My family ate matzah at seders on the first two nights... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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We talk a lot about freedom at this time of year. Freedom from bondage. Freedom from our narrow places. Freedom from constriction. But what do we do with this talk of freedom if we ourselves feel stuck, if liberation seems... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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...Reb Nachman teaches that when the time has come to leap, we have to leap. No dilly-dallying, no tarrying, no anxiously writing scripts about what might go wrong. But how can we tell when the time has come? What if... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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In 2015 I wrote poems for each day of the Omer -- the 49-day journey between Pesach and Shavuot, between liberation and revelation. In 2016 those poems were collected and published (sometimes in revised form) in the collection Toward Sinai:... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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It's Shabbat HaGadol: "The Great Shabbat," the Shabbat before Pesach. The Shibolei Haleket (R. Zedekiah b. Abraham Harof Anav, d. 1275) explains, "on the Shabbat before Passover the people stay late into the afternoon... in order to hear the sermon... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I am so excited to be able to share this news: I'm partnering with some of my dear colleagues-and-friends (and their communities -- Rabbi David Markus of Temple Beth El of City Island, Rabbi Brent Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
On Sunday, March 18, I had the opportunity to "launch" Texts to the Holy at a Ben Yehuda Press poetry reading at the JCC in Tarrytown, New York. The reading was organized by Maxine Silverman, a fellow Ben Yehuda Press... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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This is the time of year when I am most eager for the coming spring. This year has felt scrambled. We had unseasonable warmth in February, and now that it's March we've gotten socked by a few nor'easters in a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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"For one who truly loves, there is the commandment-like need to provide goodness for the beloved that turns the love from sentiment to substance." My Wednesday morning coffee shop hevruta group is reading Mesillat Yesharim ("The Path of the Upright"),... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Many people, upon turning sixty, might choose to celebrate by throwing a party... or taking a trip somewhere... or perhaps trying to pretend the milestone birthday away. Not my friend and Bayit co-founder Rabbi Evan Krame. What he wanted for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Pesach begins three weeks from tomorrow, and maybe some of you are considering "keeping the Pesach" this year. Maybe you have some anxiety about what exactly that means, or how to do it, or whether you're going to "do it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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When you hear the phrase "the Four Worlds," what comes to mind? Maybe you think of action, emotion, thought, and spirit. Maybe you associate the four worlds with the Tu BiShvat seder, which is often organized as a journey through... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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I shared poems from Texts to the Holy at a handful of readings and events while the volume was being written and revised and prepared for print. But the first reading from the new collection since it actually came out... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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The Israelite people shall keep Shabbat, observing Shabbat throughout the ages as a covenant for all time: it shall be a sign for all time between Me and the people of Israel. For in six days God made heaven and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
Source of Mercy, untie my tangled places. I'm a fine gold chain so knotted and snarled I've forgotten how it feels to fall straight, to let Your abundance cascade through. Protector of Israel, when someone wounds my beloveds I turn... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi
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My latest essay for The Wisdom Daily is a meditation on saying bedtime prayers with my son, and how that experience has changed. Here's a taste of what I wrote: ...In recent days he’s shifted the language of his prayers.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2018 at Velveteen Rabbi