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.

Monday, January 17, 2005



A few months ago, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, gave a posthumous award for "constructive dissent" to Hiram (or Harry) Bingham,IV. For over fifty years, the State Department resisted any attempt to honour Bingham.

For them he was an insubordinate member of the US diplomatic service, a dangerous maverick who was eventually demoted. Now, after his death, he has been officially recognized as a hero.

Bingham came from an illustrious family. His father (on whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based) was the archeologist who unearthed the Inca City of Machu Picchu, Peru in 1911. Harry entered the US diplomatic service and, in 1939, was posted to Marseilles, France as American Vice-consul.

The USA was then neutral and, not wishing to annoy Marshal Petain's puppet Vichy regime, President Roosevelt's government ordered its representatives in Marseilles not to grant visas to any Jews. Bingham found this policy immoral and, risking his career, did all in his power to undermine it.

In defiance of his bosses in Washington, he granted over 2,500 USA visas to Jewish and other refugees, including the artists Marc Chagall and Max Ernst and the family of the writer Thomas Mann. He also sheltered Jews in his Marseilles home, and obtained forged identity papers to help Jews in their dangerous journeys across Europe. He worked with the French underground to smuggle Jews out of France into Franco's Spain or across the Mediterranean and even contributed to their expenses out of his own pocket.

In 1941, Washington lost patience with him. He was sent to Argentina, where later, he continued to annoy his superiors by reporting on the movements of Nazi war criminals.

Eventually, he was forced out of the American diplomatic service completely. Bingham died almost penniless in 1988. Little was known of his extraordinary activities until his son found some letters in his belongings after his death.

He has now been honoured by many groups and organizations including the United Nations and the State of Israel.

Our individual duty is to honour the memory of this brave, righteous and honorable man who, during his lifetime, was never recognized for the moral and courageous man he was.


Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

An example to us all, for sure. Thanks for this, Aviel. I'd like to think there was a Canadian equivalent to Mr Bingham in William Lyon MacKenzie-King's government before and during the Second World War, but such a person has yet to surface.

4:17 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Actually, Peter, there was a female Member of Parliament (I don't think she was a Cabinet Minister, not in chauvinist McKenzie-King's government) who worked tirelessly to turn over the racist policies of Canadian immigration at that time. Everybody knew what was going on in Europe, McKenzie-King & Blair included, & yet their deep-seated fear of Jews & how they would change the face of Canada kept them acting irrationally. McKenzie King even bought up all the land around his home so that he wouldn't end up with Jewish neighbours (because refugees are all so wealthy). If I had more time on my hands, I'd start a movement to take him off our $50 bill. Why a racist who governed our country according to what his dead parents advised during seances & insisted on painting all his homes yellow inside & out deserves such an honour escapes me.
Anyway, our disturbed former P.M. aside, I learned about this woman in our government last I watched "Canada: a People's History". I can't remember her name & I've searched the internet for her to no avail. I want to write a piece about her as well.
If anyone out there knows who I'm referring to, please help!

8:34 a.m.  

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