Netivat Sofrut: diary of a Soferet

Adventures of a female sofer learning to heal the world by doing Holy Work...writing a Sefer Torah

נחזיר את השכינה למקומה בצייון ובתבל כלה

"Let us restore the Divine In-Dwelling to Her Place in Zion & infuse Her spirit throughout the whole inhabited world."

So wherever we are, let us bring the Peace of G@d's Presence.

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Location: Vancouver/London, British Columbia/UK, Canada

SCRIBAL EVANGELIST As the only living certified Soferet (סופרת - female Jewish ritual scribe) & the first woman to practice sofrut (creation of sacred Hebrew texts) in over 200 years, I feel an obligation to blog about my experiences of The Work. I am also currently researching the foundation of a lost tradtion of women practicing this holy craft. For more on the services I provide, please see; Sofrut Nation. I am now available to engage with students, male or female, wishing to enter into the preliminary stage of learning sofrut. You are welcome to join me on this path. "Tzedeq, tzedeq tir'dof - Justice, justice you shall pursue." Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:20.

Friday, September 12, 2003



Wednesday, August 27th

I made some lunch & got ready for my class with my sofer. I arrived at 1 p.m. & his wife let me in: "Mi zeh?" she called down the stairs, "Aviel" I responded, suddenly thinking that I might be early because my brain is so unreliable when I'm tired...oh well, I thought, we're friends anyway, so no biggie, I'm sure.
"Come say hello to the birthday boy", she beckoned me inside. "Aw, jeez - I can't believe I forgot..." I said. So he was was still eating lunch & she got me some water & their eldest child brought me birthday cake. We chatted for a bit about her trip to Tel Aviv with the kids, how her work is going, etc. - she is *very* cool. I really like her a lot.
I happily reminded her that *she* had a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks & she sort of waved it off with a smile.
So I headed down to meet my sofer in his studio & his wife invited me for Shabbes - YAY!
I gasped when I saw the ketubah he was working on on his drawing board - elaborate scenes of crashing waves at dawn, of stags & eagles & *vultures* all surrounded by "papercut" panels on klaf. He mumbled something about a monstrosity. I was speechless with horror.
He showed me the facsimile of a Haggadah thathe'd done & had just dropped off. It was quite amazing - very naive gouache illustrations & his calligraphy. He'd obviously had a little fun with it. The reproduction was so good, you could practically scratch the gouache off the paper :) Then we talked about Woody Allen & he did an impression for me of the Pocket Watch Joke.
We got to work. He panicked today about how much time we have left. I felt pretty unnerved by that, but this is my sofer. "You're leaving too soon," he mumbled. "You said 20 sessions", I countered. He proposed we make a schedule & I agreed - & I'm going to hold him to it for Friday. Once that's set up, I'll call Dov (another sofer who teached women some things, but not everything) & try to get sewing learned...
I was quite critical of my homework & of the work I was doing in front of him. He reassured me that it was just that my quills weren't sharp enough & that the particular klaf I was working on was exceptionally furry & that not to worry - I'd "get" it. That's how you get supportive statements out of him - you criticize yourself before he has a chance to :) He gave me more klaf & I left.
I was home by a quarter to 3, having spent a little over an hour with my sofer on Hey, Yud & Khaf, & crashed out until 6:30. Blah. SO tired...
It was only a 15-minute stroll to the closest mall & when I got to the front door security the two Ethiopian men there tried to pick me up, so I said, "S'licha, medabeyr anglit?" ("Sorry, do you speak English?") They stared & I shrugged. I slipped by them :)
On my way out I ran into Yuri, the security guard from Strudel ("Mike's Place"). We chatted & I headed on.
On my way into my front gate I saw the lizards for the first time up close - they're *so* CUTE! Little & rubbery looking skin & big eyes & pale bands of bare colour...& SUCTION CUP TOES!!! It occurred to me that these wee beasties couldn't possibly be the banging, clawing creatures I hear & feel every night against my walls & roof, so...what sort of animals could be responsible?!?!? I shudder to think!
The stuff of nightmares...


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