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Rachel Barenblat

Rachel Barenblat

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (a/k/a Velveteen Rabbi) serves Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is author of five volumes of poetry, among them 70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia, 2011) and Texts to the Holy (Ben Yehuda, 2018). A leader in Jewish Renewal (former co-chair of ALEPH, now a senior builder at Bayit: Your Jewish Home) she resides in western Massachusetts. She has blogged as the Velveteen Rabbi since 2003.

http://velveteenrabbi.blogs.com/blog/

From Darkness to Light: Purim 2021, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat & Rabbi David Evan Markus (Bayit: Building Jewish, 2021)

Contributed on: י׳ באדר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-02-22) by Rachel Barenblat | David Evan Markus |

Tropified texts for Purim 2021 juxtaposing the text of Queen Esther with the words of Vice President Kamalla Harris and poet laureate Amanda Gorman. . . .


כְּגַוְנָא | A paraliturgical interpretive translation of k’Gavna (Just As) from the Zohar parashat Terumah §163-166, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Contributed on: כ״ו בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-06-17) by Rachel Barenblat |

A paraliturgical translation of “k’Gavna” — a portion of the Zohar on parashat Terumah read before Ma’ariv in the ḥassidic-sefardic nusaḥ. . . .


הבדלה | Distinctions (Havdalah) for the end of Shabbat, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Contributed on: י״ד בתמוז ה׳תשע״ג (2013-06-21) by Rachel Barenblat |

Wax drips from the braided candle.
Cinnamon tingles the nose
to keep us from fainting
as the extra soul departs.
Stop now. Notice this hinge
between Shabbat
and what’s next. . . .


The Breath of All Life, a paraliturgical Nishmat Kol Ḥai for Shabbat morning by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Contributed on: י״ד בתמוז ה׳תשע״ג (2013-06-21) by Rachel Barenblat |

…if we could discard differences: human,
animal, fire, stone, seed, snow

even that cry of togetherness
would not be enough to thank You. . . .


תפילת טל | A Prayer for Dew, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Contributed on: כ״ו באייר ה׳תש״ע (2010-05-09) by Rachel Barenblat |

Geshem and tal: rain and dew. We pray for each in its season, geshem all winter and tal as summer approaches…not everywhere, necessarily, but in the land of Israel where our prayers have their roots. In a desert climate, water is clearly a gift from God. It’s easy for us to forget that, here with all of this rain and snow. But our liturgy reminds us. Through the winter months, during our daily amidah we’ve prayed “mashiv ha-ruach u-morid ha-gashem” — You cause the winds to blow and the rains to fall! We only pray for rain during the rainy season, because it is frustrating both to us and to God when we pray for impossibilities. . . .


Saturday Afternoon Request by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Contributed on: י״ד בתמוז ה׳תשע״ג (2013-06-21) by Rachel Barenblat |

Help me to silence
my mind’s aggravation alarm,
to quiet the voice which says
the to-do list matters,
to temporarily eschew
continuous partial attention. . . .


תפילה לבאסטאן | Prayer After the Bombing in Boston, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (2013)

Contributed on: י׳ באייר ה׳תשע״ג (2013-04-19) by Rachel Barenblat |

I wrote this a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing. It arose out of a meditation service which I led at my synagogue. The doors to our sanctuary were open, so we had the sounds of the nearby wetland in our ears, and I invited the meditators to join me in cultivating compassion and sending it toward Boston. The line “My heart is in the east and I am in the west” is adapted from the medieval Spanish poet Judah haLevi. . . .


סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in presentation format, by rabbis Rachel Barenblat and David Evan Markus (Bayit: Your Jewish Home 5778)

Contributed on: ט׳ בשבט ה׳תשע״ח (2018-01-25) by Rachel Barenblat | David Evan Markus | Bayit: Your Jewish Home |

The Bayit’s Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in PowerPoint presentation format was designed to be projected on a screen to save paper; accompanied by instructions for how to celebrate Tu BiShvat. . . .



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