“Velveteen Rabbi” Holds Shabbaton as Scholar in Residence

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Nationally recognized rabbi, poet and blogger Rachel Barenblat, the Velveteen Rabbi, held a special shabbaton weekend as TBE’s Scholar in Residence, May 30 – June 1, 2014. This amazing weekend included music-filled services, special teachings, and public readings/symposia of Rabbi Rachel’s works. Especially known for spiritual writing and re-imagining the lives of families and especially women for the 21st century, Rabbi Rachel is an accomplished author of numerous books of spiritual poetry, and has been named by Time Magazine as among the 25 top bloggers on the Internet.

Fri. May 30
7:30 pm Musical Shabbat with Your Band by the Sea

Sat. May 31
10:00 am Shabbat Morning Services
12:00 pm Public Teaching: The Power of Blessing

Sun. June 1
10:30 am Master Class: Writing in Spiritual Life
12:00 pm Public Reading and Author Q&A
** Sunday sessions at Samuel Pell House, 586 City Island Ave.
** $20 for non-members **

Rachel Barenblat’s Torah poems open the doorway into sacred text so that we can walk in and make it our home.  She invites us to bring all of our passion, doubt, humor, humility and chutzpah as we encounter these ancient words and bring them to Life.  Through Rachel’s skillful, joyful, playful and profound poetry, the Torah opens her secrets to us and invites us into an intimate conversation with Truth. —Rabbi Shefa Gold, Torah Journeys 

These poems are so out there, so radical, and at the same time so gentle and inviting. Barenblat manages to do work that has passion and truth behind it, without ranting. I love the final poem in this collection – gliding right past heartbreak into renewal, which is what her poems all do. —Alicia Ostriker, The Book of Seventy

These rich poems will carry you into the great timeless miracle and mystery of unfolding littleness, nonstop maternal alertness, beauty and exhaustion and amazing, exquisite tenderness, oh yes. —Naomi Shihab Nye, The Words Under the Words

The intense observation of the poet and intense observation of the mother unite in a celebration of what is new and newborn, what is intensely felt and cherished and what is lost and mourned. Barenblat’s poems are easy to enter into, and they carry both the uniqueness of her persona as poet and serious Jew and the universality of love that made us all. The holy is in the everyday, as our best American poets have taught us, and as Barenblat teaches us in a new way. —Rodger Kamenetz, The Jew in the Lotus

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