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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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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

JEWISH ORTHODOX FEMINIST

בס"ד


26 Elul

Yesterday I sat on our futon & made my first talit qatan - thanks to Danya - while watching "Half the Kingdom". Is that totally clich�d?

The following quote is from a speech Dr Norma Baumel Joseph presented at the world's first Jewish feminist conference (which planted the seeds for JOFA, Edah, International Coalition for Agunah Rights & Women of the Wall). I have made several attempts to write a statement of my own regarding my religio-political position within traditional Judaism, but Dr Joseph took the words right out of my mouth, 20 years ago:


I AM A JEW.

I am a believing & practicing Jew. & I choose to be an Orthodox Jew. I find challenge & conflict in my existence as a female Jew. Frequently I feel divided, as though parts of myself are in opposition: antithetical, contradictory, antagonistic, clashing, hostile. I wish to live as part of a community. I am often alone. The road has been difficult in ways I never expected. I knew the yeshivah world would not like me. I even knew I would be too feminist for the Jewish world. But when the feminist world finds me too Jewish, & when this Jewish feminist world finds me too religious...I find it too difficult.

Always an outsider, women have tried to re-direct me, or disempower me as frequently as men. & I reject it. & I reject their patronizing concept me as an Orthodox Jew. You don't know me because you can label me. You don't know my politics, nor my radical feminism, & you can not tell me that I'm not there yet.



Food for thought.
Shabbat Shalom.

5 Comments:

Anonymous evgenya said...

Hi Aviel,

I appreciate this statement very much and i'm glad you shared it. I can write the exact same thing while replacing every occurance of "feminist" with "scientist" even though both would work. Even though I am not truly Orthodox YET, I have begun to feel the conflict. I'll ask you this: Is there a feminist/orthodox conflict within you? or is it an external conflict?

12:23 AM  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

I don't get the cliche, Avielthough i'm sure it's obvious...{grin})

5:44 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
Hey there, Ev!
I feel both an internal & an external feminist/orthodox conflict within me. It's hard work, but I have faith that this process - sometimes a battle - is part of my path & will be worth the struggle in the long run.
Where are you at with your conflict?

Hi, Peter!
The cliche is that I was watching such a classic Jewish feminist film - possibly the first one (& your copy of it to boot) - while making myself what some would say a man's garb to perform a man's mitzvah & others would say is my acceptance of equality in being commanded to perform this mitzvah.

Did that make sense? I'm really tired :}

10:19 AM  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Yes, it does, Aviel.

5:54 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
Good :D
I'd better mail it back to you & Joyce, now that we've watched it...thank a lot for loaning it to us!

8:11 PM  

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