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.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


15 Adar - Purim!

This year my fast went pretty well, thank G@d, & I headed to synagogue dressed in my uniform from the private school I went to for 7 years in Victoria. Not bad that it fits, considering my 20th high school reunion is coming up in to follow!

Originally I was going to go as The Witch of Endor (her real Hebrew name is "Ba'alat Ov" - a medium - from "Eyn Dor" - which means "fountain of generation" Freudian!) - I got this idea from IMing with Alisha - but then I caved & put on my kilt, tie & knee-socks. The shortest skirt I've worn in years, but it still conforms to the minimum length standards from modest religious dress.

We had another simultaneous women's & men's reading, & this year the rabbi automatically handed the scroll that I wrote over to us. We drew the accordion wall & chanted our mitzvah away...

Then we got into the food, but mostly we drank ourselves silly, finishing off all the Frangelico, Baileys (both hekashered), Finlandia, Etrog liqueur & most of the Crown Royal. We sat in a circle 'til the wee hours, handed out out mishlo'ah manot & laughed our heads off.

Thank G@d for this holiday!

Purim 2005...
On Ta'anit Esther I davened at shul, did tachanun (which I love - the long one) then sat to starve, correcting letters in the last Megilah I wrote (smudgey black male fingerprints from last year) distracted from hunger by my anal-retentiveness. On the way home from shul I picked up some extra break-fast goodies from Pini's, the kosher Pizzeria down the block. I bought special groggers full of candy for Kya & Joel as a prezzie. I also did some Shabat prep as I listened to NPR, as she's staying for the weekend.

For the Megilah reading & party, Joel & I donned each others' wedding clothes. He got laughs - he looks pretty in a dress & veil, but just can't fill one like I can :)
I got laughs too, but dirty looks as well, due to the pants & the tzitzit. One of my good friends, Morey, said, "I didn't recognise you because you were wearing pants!"

Mincha was at shul followed by the Megilah reading, which was cool because the men & women fought over who got to use the Megilat Esther that I wrote. I leyned pereq Yud (chapter 10) as usual, & the blessing. After that came Ma'ariv & FOOD!
Oh, yeah, & we got shikkered ;)

The next day there were just as many costumes, children & noisemakers - & we found out just how good a bartender our new rabbi is! Holy moly those drinks were strong - but very very good :D

Memories of Purim 2004
The Shabbes before Purim I gave a lecture at Shaarey Tefilah, speaking about the Megilah & the laws allowing women to write them; sofrut in general; Shulchan Arukh on diney/laws of writing Megilah in specific. Alissa had all my tools mounted on a board hanging on the wall behind where I stood. This was prepared before Shabbes so I could gesture to them & answer questions without having to handle any muktzeh.

I showed up at shul the night of the Megilah reading dressed as a modest version of Janice from the Muppet Show. All it took was a floppy hat, hugely long fake eyelashes & a little lipstick :D
Joel went as The Gay Agenda. Basically a grim reaper with a rainbow scythe. It was tongue in cheek...
You could totally tell what age group people were from, depending on whether they recognised who I was supposed to be.

This Purim was quite magical, as I sat completing the last pasuq in front of everybody in the synagogue as R' Ross spoke about the long journey involved in my becoming a certified soferet & the satisfaction he felt from having done so much work to help me there. & not just me, but eventually other women.

I sewed the last yer'iah to the rest of the scroll, then stood up & made a short (because we were all starving & even tho' this was my first Megilat Esther, the evening wasn't about me!) speech of gratitude to R' Ross, Singer, our president, Dr. Cliff Ungar, & our board. I also profusely thanked Naomi Voss & Alissa Altman for all the work they did promoting & researching & writing for this Project - they had even staffed a table at the the JOFA conference to spread the word about the groundbreaking work we were doing with women's roles & Halakhah at Shaarey Tefilah.

Then, well, the men took turns reading it & we all stuffed ourselves & got drunk.
The next day the men read from the old Megilah while the women read from mine simultaneously. I chanted chapter 10 & the blessing aftr the reading. Then we went to R' Ross & Emily's for the seudah...R' Ross made us all "machines", his specialty shooter from college, which involves 2 different kinds of liquor & a t-shirt. Delicious! Don't ask.

R' Ross' original article about women writing Megilah is posted in the Edah Journal.

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Anonymous alissa said...

Oooh, The Witch of Endor would have been cool! But I say it was good to go with the more impressive, "look, I can fit into my high school clothes!" uniform ;)

And just in case anyone might think Bailey's has a hechsher: we were drinking (too much of) Briscoe's, the kosher version.

I love the reminiscing about Purim 2004. That was a great Purim! I'm mad that we didn't think to bring the machines recipe Tuesday. And I drank WAY too much this year. Apparently, since I saw my neighbour's tv on when we got home, I thought it was totally appropriate to go into his house at 1:30am to tell him how much we all loved the Elvis costume. I'm not so sure I knocked. :D

T'was a great time!

7:00 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

BWA-Ha-ha! Are you serious? I want to be your neighbour! :D
"...Alissa is a person in your neighbourhood - she's a person that you meet, when you're home watchin' tv..."
Thanks for the correction on the Bailey's - I couldn't tell it was Briscoe's. Not a bad imitation (yes, 15 years ago I used to eat treyf. There, I said it).
& yeah, truthfully I'm a little heavier than I was in high school, but it fit, so why not?
You have the recipe for "machines"? Oh, you so have to have me over sometime so you canmake them for me...& I'll return the favour, 'cause I don't make cocktails. I make ROCKtails!

1:27 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Oh, & I forgot to say that I found a $5 bill in the breast pocket of my school blazer :D

4:58 p.m.  
Anonymous alissa said...

lol! That's awesome - a $5 bonus :)

And yes, sadly, totally serious - I'll sing the song to my neighbour, I'm sure he'll love it! And don't you remember me knocking around the kitchen in the dark trying to find Em's cookbook? I was trying looking up the machines recipe!

And yes, I know all about your ROCKtails :)

5:19 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

You were knocking around? No, I don't remember that at all - was I just too drunk, or was that while I had run back to my place to grab the candles, matches & emergency light during the joy-induced 16th Avenue blackout?

BTW, I still have some Drambuie, scotch & vodka left over if you & Morey want to drop by after dinner tomorrow night at Naomi & Michael's...
...oh, & some raspberry lambic beer...
...after all, it's still Adar...

12:31 a.m.  

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