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.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

JEWISH GRAPHIC NOVELS

BS"D


I have noticed that "comic books" have gradually, over the past twenty years, become more of an acceptable mainstream interest for adults. Okay, let me rephrase that: they used to be pathetically geeky & now they're COOL, even SOPHISTICATED. I am reminded of this each time I waltz into a Chapters or other mass-consumption bookstore & spy a wall of Manga in the "Art" section. Long gone are the days when I would spend a Sunday browsing through the misunderstood world of illustrated stories at Island Fantasy in Victoria. You don't have to hide your dirty little secret any longer - you can purchase comics in public now & skip the plain brown wrapper, as they are considered high art.

I have many fave graphic novels (that's what they call comics for grown-ups...if you don't believe me then read this) gracing my bookshelves interspersed with Rav Adin Steinsaltz et al, including Chester Brown's Louis Riel, Berni Wrightson's Frankenstein & Jon J Muth's Dracula: A Symphony in Moonlight and Nightmares (for which there are no images available on the web, if you can believe it, but you could look here).

But I have two Jewish favorites: the first is Greenberg the Vampire by DeMatteis & Badger, a rollicking ride through the world of secular-Jewish-fiction-author-by-day-guiltridden-vampire-by-night Oscar Greenberg. In his story we meet such characters as Lilith, who has been stalking him since birth; his Bubbe, who has been casting ancient Jewish protection spells to shield him; his funky live-in non-Jewish girlfriend (who accidentally transformed him into a vampire) & his shlumpy nephew. The rabbi in the story is totally disempowered.
The second is Fagin the Jew by comic legend Will Eisner. In this work he examines the (probable socially acceptable at the time) veiled anti-Semitism in Dickens' Oliver Twist!. One of the things I appreciate about his thoughtful portrayal of Moses Fagin à la Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard), is that he researches the struggle for acceptance/assimilation Jews were faced with in a country obssessed with class distinction & yet which made a better home for them than anywhere else in Europe. Eisner also looks into his own past of less-than-shining portrayals of African-American superhero sidekicks & honestly admits that even a politically & socially sensitive Jew like himself can be blinded by his country to trends in racial stereotype.

They're all good reads - even the Rav Steinsaltz volumes ;+>

7 Comments:

Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

What? Jewish comics and no mention of Megillat Esther? Oy! Now, if only our library would invest in a copy so i can read it (the comic, i mean...).

3:39 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

BS"D
There's a graphic novel on the story of Esther? Who's it by?!?

7:44 AM  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Go to: http://www.hadassah.org/news/content/per_hadassah/archive/2003/03_JUN/art.htm
Be patient: this is a lengthy article on Jewish comics and Judaism in comics. The MEgillat Esther is in one of the text boxes. There was also, at one point, a teaser of some six or seven pages of the comic you could donwload and view from the publisher, but I don't know if these are still around.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Go to: http://www.hadassah.org/news/content/
per_hadassah/archive/2003/03_JUN/
art.htm
Sorry--the blogger clipped some of the info off, so I'm reposting.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

BS"D
Oh, wow, this is great, Peter. Thanks for the link! I'm going to pass this around to other like-minded artistic & hilarious Jews...

9:39 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'm a longtime fan of graphic novels, but I've never heard of "Greenberg the Vampire." Thanks for the tip -- I'll look for that one!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

BS"D
My pleasure, Rachel :)
"GtV"'s ISBN is 0-87135-090-4

11:22 AM  

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