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.

Monday, October 17, 2005

WOMEN AND SIFREI TORAH

בס"ד

14 Tishrei

LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE IN MEDIEVAL EGYPT: CHILDREN'S EXERCISE BOOKS FROM THE CAIRO GENIZA is an academic paper published by Oxford University Press. In it, the author J Olszowy-Schlanger, writes the following:

"...The famous female scribe from Yemen, Myriam daughter of Benaya (MS lost), Paula, daughter of Abraham of Rome (MS Warsaw, Jewish Historical Institute no 6) and other copyists have been described by C. Sirat, ‘Les femmes juives et l’écriture au moyen age’..."

Journal of Semitic Studies, XLVIII/1 Spring 2003 © The University of Manchester, pp. 47-69(23) - oup.co.uk


Miriam, whose pentateuch/Sefer Torah was discovered by Jacob Saphir is also featured here, as well as in the Encyclopedia Judaica.

& speaking of Paula bat Avraham of Rome, this site has the following to say about her:

"Among Hebrew scribes we also find women and children, however exceptionally. At the end of the 13th century Paula, daughter of Abraham, made her living as scribe in Rome. She was descendant of a family of scribes and scholars, among them the famous Rabbi Nathan ben Jehiel."

As I was doing further research yesterday, thinking that all I had to do was track down a copy of Colette Sirat's book (as I read French), I happened upon yet another female scribe who I had never heard of before! How delightful!! Please read this short, but very enlightening excerpt on Hannah bat Menahem Zion.

What a lovely, lovely way to enter Chag Sukot (the holiday of Tabernacles)! What a joyful discovery of yet another soferet in our history! Barukh HaShem :D

3 Comments:

Anonymous jen said...

Shkoiyach :) Good going. Are you also collecting anything there is about how their communities viewed them?

5:02 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
Thanks, Jen :)
My list of historical sofrot now boasts 8 - 10 women. I say "8 - 10" because I'm still researching anecdotal information on a couple of them which may or may not confirm they were scribes.
As far as their communities viewed them - I have some info on that. It seems as though their work was easily accepted (excluding the Megillat Esther written by Sara Oppenheim), because they were either descended from and/or had married into local rabbinic families.
It doesn't hurt to be a part of your community's power base ;+>

10:07 AM  
Anonymous jen said...

Hah, why do you think I married a rabbinical student ;)

1:47 PM  

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