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 Soferet.com; 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.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

SOFRUT & SUICIDE BOMBINGS

B"H


Tuesday, August 19th

Note to self: "gevinah t'nuvah" is *not* yoghurt!
Let me tell you a bit about my neighbourhood, here: there are pet shops, pizza & pilates! I'm in heaven!! Funky Hippie New Agey shops with flowy clothes, crystals & books, too. YAY! I'm home! :)
I hit my local art & stationary supply store this morning to pick up blades & various other nifty tools for my first official session with my sofer in over 5 years: Quill Cutting for Dummies :)
Quill cutting with him was quite an experience. 1.5 hours of organic carving. The feathers I'd brought with me from Vancouver had been given to me by a supportive friend who'd visited a shochet while in Montréal. They were goose. My sofer wasn't so impressed with them. The ones I'd bought in Me'ah She'arim were turkey. They were much fatter in circumference & the actual thickness of the shaft was better. They could be carved & shaped more effectively as they're just hardier. Don't have to be sharpened or re-shaped so often & therefore last much longer. They're stiffer as well, so heavy-handed calligraphers like he & I can press as hard as we normally would & get the effect we want out of the finished nib & without it bending. I'll still use all of them, just to get a feel of what's best for my particular hand & style, but so far in all the years I've known him, all the advice he's given me based on his own requirements has suited me just fine.
He went over the basics of the several cutting steps & awling out procedure in order & watched me do my own. "Oh, so you've done this before..?" he said. I hadn't actually, never carved quills, anyway. Just lots of different kinds of wood & metal & stone - & feathers are of course a *really* different material to work with, so my cuts didn't look much like his. Still, it was encouraging to get that feedback from him.
I returned home with a couple of brand new quills :)
Called my favorite bookbinder friend at his studio & it was SO AMAZING to hear his voice! WOWEE! I've missed him & his wife & kids SO SO much! I practically cried on the phone, I was so excited! I'm going to visit him in his new bookbinding studio soon...
After we hung up it rang again, like, THIRTY SECONDS later & I picked up the phone. "Shabbat lunch..?"
"SURE! Yes please!" So Shabbes is taken care of now :) I'm *so* excited to see them again!
I headed to Arta, near Ben Yehudah, & picked up more supplies. Browsed & salivated over the art things I was *not* going to buy as well...
I walked home through Liberty Bell Park - a great alternative to busy Qeren HaYesod. The park, with it's arching green vines & random PoMo sculptures was full of black hat ultra-orthodox families & Arab families playing. The children weren't actually playing *with* each other, but *near* each other, so that's good (I thought). They were also taking turns lining up for pony & camel rides! Haven't seen a camel in years! This one was cream-coloured & wasn't as ornery as they usually. Tolerating the children quite well, actually. It was so heart-filling to see them play & ride & all their smiles & hear their happy shrieks & giggles.
I took a nap. This heat is oppressive.
Sat down to eat my favorite Mediterranean meal of pita, choumous, feta & olives.
Homework time - soaked my quills in water for several hours as permy sofer's instructions...as they're organic material, not unlike fingernails, the softer they get then more they stink. It's not a heavy smell, but very distinct, & presses my primordial brain buttons so that I always feel as though I'm in the presence of something dead.
As I was working, I heard a number of different sirens all racing past me. I thought they were heading south, so I was concerned that perhaps something had happened in Gilo or another one of the Jerusalem suburbs only a half kilometre from Beit Jala or Beit Lechem. Then I heard all the helicopters & felt sick. I knew something terrible had happened, or was happening, & I had no idea.
I answered the phone. It was Joel. "Thank G@d you're alive."
"Oh," I said, my voice dropping & the pit of my stomach imploding, "Something *has* happened, then." All he knew was that there had been a bus bombing & that there were at least 15 dead & 80 injured. He didn't know where, but it had just come up on his computer. He said he was relieved that I was safe at home, doing my holy work. But is my work any holier than anyone else's? There are no guarantees. I acknowledged & thanked him warmly for his love & presence. Then I called Mum just to let her know I was OK. I didn't want her hearing about the pigu'ah & feeling anxious about my safety. She hadn't heard the news yet & was grateful that I'd called to let her know ahead of time.
I watched CNN til 3 a.m., the only news channel I could follow as the Hebrew news reports were just too fast for me to follow, hoping to catch the details. It happened in Me'ah She'arim. There were so many families & children because they had just came from celebrating a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel. They'd all taken the bus home. There were 20 dead & over 100 injured, & children among them.
I was just there at that intersection yesterday at 6 p.m., only 27 hours earlier. some of those children I saw playing in the street may be dead now. So might Chanie & Malka - G@d forbid!
Straightened up & took a shower to try to wash this awful day away. Then set Alarm Clock Pro for 8:45 am.
Went to sleep at 5:30 am.

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