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A melody before the seder's cups of wine

??????? ?????? ??????????? ???????? ??????? ????? ?????????? ?????????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ???? ????????????????. Hin'ni muchan u-m'zuman l'kayem mitzvat kos rishonah m'arbah cosot l'shem yichud kudsha brich hu u-schinteh. May my consumption of this first of four cups of...

Winter blessings to a medieval carol tune

Several years ago, Ethan and I saw Richard Thompson and his merry band (the acoustic version thereof) perform a 1000 Years of Popular Music show at the Iron Horse. One of my favorite tracks from that night was a medieval...

VR Podcast 5: Sukkot

VR Podcast Episode 5: Sukkot Happy Sukkot! In this episode of the VR Podcast -- live from our sukkah in our backyard -- I talk about the festival of Sukkot, interpretations of the sukkah, impermanence, integrating blessings, the Four Species,...

VR Podcast 4: Elul and Teshuvah

VR Podcast Episode 4: Elul and Teshuvah. Tomorrow we enter the new lunar month of Elul -- a perfect time for a new VR Podcast! In this episode of the VR Podcast I talk about the lunar month of Elul,...

VR Podcast Episode 3: A Shabbat Morning Service

VR Podcast Episode 3: Shabbat Morning Service. This is an experimental edition of the Velveteen Rabbi podcast. Instead of featuring me talking about some aspect of Jewish life and spiritual practice, this is a prayer service podcast -- a recording...

Ana b'Koach / Untie our Tangles (a melody for the Omer count)

The words of "Ana B'Koach" in Hebrew and transliteration. Back in 2010, I posted about a prayer called Ana B'Koach: My friend Reb David Seidenberg calls Ana B'Koach one of the 'masterpieces of mystical prayer.' (Here's the NeoHasid page on...

VR Podcast Episode 2: Bedtime Practices

I did warn y'all that the podcast was going to be "occasional," right? Though I'm not sure I realized, when I said that, that four months would go by between episodes... VR Podcast Episode 2: Bedtime Practices. The "angel song;"...

Three melodies for the Order of the Seder

In honor of Pesach being just around the corner, I wanted to share a few Pesach melodies. Specifically, here are three different melodies one can use for singing the order of the seder. You probably know already that the word...

VR Podcast Episode 1: Morning Practices

Several of y'all have asked, over the years, whether I have considered podcasting. This winter, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm not promising that these podcasts will come out on any specific timetable. (I'm a congregational rabbi and...

On That Day (a poem about moshiach for Big Tent Poetry)

Onthatday ON THAT DAY Soft snow will fall but no one's roof will leak. No one will wake hungry. The traumas inscribed in our muscles will melt like salted ice. Strangers will show their real smiles on the subway and...

Another mother poem: push

Push PUSH The nurses taught us to pin and tuck a thin blanket into a straitjacket each night when bedtime arrived your dad would kneel over you on the rug now you sleep limp like an old rag doll your...

Beautiful City

5 years agoReligion / Judaism : Jewschool

This is the fifth post in a series on Social Justice Showtunes. The series starts here with a post about the 1937 Broadway musical Pins and Needles and continues here with a post about the 1932 song “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” here with a post about South Pacific’s “Carefully Taught,” and here with [...]

No More

5 years agoReligion / Judaism : Jewschool

This is the fourth post in a series on Social Justice Showtunes. The series starts here with a post about the 1937 Broadway musical Pins and Needles and continues here with a post about the 1932 song “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and here with a post about South Pacific’s “Carefully Taught.” Many of the [...]

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

5 years agoReligion / Judaism : Jewschool

This is the second post in a series on Social Justice Showtunes. The series starts here with a post about the 1937 Broadway musical Pins and Needles. When I drew up my initial list of songs to include in this series, there was no question that “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” would be included. [...]

Haunting Eicha Recording

5 years agoReligion / Judaism : Jewschool

Every once in a while, someone finds a creative way to use an ancient text or practice to see something in the present more profoundly. When done well, this elevates the present through a thoughtful link to longstanding traditions. It’s rare, usually attempts are stilted or out-of-place. But occasionally it works and when it does, [...]

This week's portion: water from the rock

WATER FROM THE ROCK (CHUKKAT) When Miriam died there was no water the wadis dried up the springs didn't flow as though the desert were mourning her passing her living waters blocked by stone we thirsted for wisdom we drank...

This week's portion: fruit

FRUIT (KORACH) in God's hands the staff of my body blossoms and brings forth almonds not a sign that I am favored or especially fit for divine service just garden-variety transformation the blessing of whatever comes This week's portion, Korach,...

This week's portion: apart

APART (B'HA-ALOT'KHA) The people wailed every clan apart no one sought her sister's arms bundled in nostalgia's snug swaddling clothes until God rose up in our whining image and quail rained down we ate ourselves sick too busy gorging to...

This week's portion: nazir

NAZIR (NASO) I don't want to eschew fat grapes bursting on my tongue raisins sticky-dark sweet to lose the sensation of emerging from the funeral parlor blinking in the wet sunlight to set myself apart never raising my glass in...

Read write prompt #77: opposites attract

FAR AWAY SO CLOSE The clouds were cotton-candy pink. My first evening in the city of gold I hadn't thought to prepare a toast. I walked the unfamiliar streets. People brought roses. In the distance, dark cypress spikes. I admired...

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