Time magazine hails local Jewish blog
That's Web page hits, and it's certainly not a bad thing for a local woman who had her blog named by Time magazine as one of the top 25 in the blogosphere.
Rachel Barenblat, 35, has been authoring her blog, called Velveteen Rabbi, for about five years, comfortable in her seeming insignificance and apparently unaware that her blog was growing less insignificant all along.
Earlier this week, Time magazine listed her blog (www.velveteenrabbi.blogs.com) alongside such sites as The Huffington Post, The Daily Dish and Boing Boing in identifying, "From millions of blogs about nothing the 25 best about something."
"Evidently, someone at Time magazine read Velveteen Rabbi and thought it was worth promoting," Barenblat said yesterday, while in the midst of making matzo balls in her kitchen in preparation for a family Passover feast last night.
Barenblat, who is studying to become a rabbi, started her blog "largely because I wanted to be thinking and writing about Judaism. I do share these thoughts with my family and friends, but I can see that they're humoring me because they love me, and not because they have a deep and abiding interest in these things."
So the blog was born, about five years ago, "because of a need I had in my own life," Barenblat said.
According to the Time magazine Web site, "Barenblat is a poet at heart, and her musings on religion, Judaism and faith in a technological world alone are worth the price of admission (which is free, of course, but still.) There are also thoughtful meditations on prayer, Hebrew tradition, Torah commentary, and even recipes for religious feasts. The Velveteen Rabbi takes everything very seriously, except for itself, a sure sign of spiritual wisdom."
In her third year as a rabbinic student, Barenblat relishes her frequent exchanges across religious lines in "thoughtful, reasoned and insightful ways," she said. "It's easy to imagine that I'm having friends over for coffee around the kitchen table. But then this Time thing happens, and I'm reminded that I have an audience of thousands."
She said her blog was receiving about 500 hits a day before the "Time thing." And when the list came out, that number spiked. And that, she added, can only help the purpose of her bloginations in the first place.
"The aim is to be ecumenical and hold conversations across religious boundaries," Barenblat noted. "It makes me happy also to be able to be a progressive Jewish voice and have that perspective celebrated there are so many conversations today that are polarizing and obnoxious."
Barenblat was never contacted by Time she heard about her honor from some of her online Progressive Faith friends.
"It's a nice honor for me," Barenblat said. "I love to be included in their list it suggests there are readers out there interested in a quirky, small, unique voice, and that's encouraging."
To reach Scott Stafford: firstname.lastname@example.org, (413) 664-4995
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