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 16, 2006


17 Tevet

I voted today. The federal election isn't until next Monday, but I'm going to be teaching in Florida, so I went to the advance polling this afternoon. I feel kind of ripped off because we only just had an election last year, but there's been another scandal & one thing led to another.

The first thing I noticed was that my local voting place was the Ukranian Catholic Centre. There was a huge gold crucifix in there. It's a meeting hall, not a church, but still. I believe Canadians are entitled to vote in religiously neutral spaces, or at least spaces devoid of religious symbols. Well, I didn't have to pray in there (against Jewish Law), just vote, so whatever...

As I opened my ballot to search for the party & rep I was going to vote for, I noticed the the top person listed was running for the Marijuana Party. & that his middle name was Dionysius.

Welcome to Canada.


Blogger Talmida said...


I went to the advance polls too, on Friday. I was surprised to see a Green candidate on my ballot, and wish he'd done some campaigning. I wonder how many people vote for someone whose name they've seen for the first time on the ballot?

7:47 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Really? You have a Green Party candidate in your part of the country? I'm surprised. I figured you'd have Conservative, Liberal & NDP, but Green?

We also had representatives of the Communist Party & the Natural Law or Transendental Meditation Party or whatever they're calling themselves these days...

11:12 p.m.  
Blogger Talmida said...

Well the Greens never get elected, but they are here. It's a start.


6:11 a.m.  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

On reflection, Aviel, and with greatest respect, I'm not sure that every voting site needs be religiously neutral, as you put it.

It occurs to me that this church or whatever, is doing a public service by offering its site free for the purposes of voting.

Since that particular symbol is part of its identity (and I might add that my worship place has one front and centre as well, even though I don't care for the symbol, nor do I rest my faith on it), it's perhaps a better idea to accept its presence, while not accepting the faith stance that goes with it.

Just a thought. There are mosques that are election sites as well, I understand, and the crescent/star logo is present there.

1:36 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

No problem, Peter. I could be wrong about our being entitled to cast our votes in rooms with no religious symbolism. We certainly don't have the same church-&-state issues here in Canada as they do in the USA.

There is a standard Jewish practice to not enter a room containing any human form that is meant to be worshipped or otherwise representative of a/the deity. There are very strict rules against avodah zara ("strange work", ie idol worship) in Judaism to the point that we have very wide fences around it, prohibiting us from entering churches & Hindu temples, etc, but *not* mosques, as Islam has similarly strict rules as we do.

1:55 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not clear to me that the problem with A"Z (and hence entering places of worship defined under that category) is the presence of human figures representing a deity. Witness the fact that much of the contemporary discussion of Christianity focuses on the beliefs (particularly Jesus & Trinity) and that the reason that Islam is generally seen as OK is b/c they have a similarly rigid concept of the monotheistic deity.

As an aside, I think if you look at the literary structure of the mishna/tosefta/Bavli/Yerushalmi and values being articulated by the halakha, it basically boils down to A"Z is the name we attach to Stuff We Really Really Don't Like and/or Stuff That's So Prevalent It Threatens Our Group's Identity. Clearly that needs nuance and definition, but I'm pretty sure as a kelal (general rule) it works.

(Tana"kh is a different beast, but at least Deuteronomy seems to be all about riling up the troops who are about to go into the land of Israel to commit genocide, and so it was useful to portray the practices of the contemporary inhabitants in the harshest possible terms.)

Anyway, it's important to me that halakha be read correctly, i.e., that the legal terminology be taken as a symbolic representation of a value discussion and not be miscontrued in and of itself. (Hey, maybe I ought to call _that_ A"Z! ;-) )

9:24 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Rabbi Marc-Alain Ouaknin points out that "there are no idols, only idolaters." More than the fear of immutable idols, is the Torah's fear of immutable people.

2:29 a.m.  

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