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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


19 Iyyar

I've taken in a lot of information over the past couple of days since I returned to Vancouver & have been processing this deeply disappointing turn of events. I understand that Reb Zalman has cut off all communication with Mordechai Gafni until further notice. Ad kan.

I'm not willing to publicly go into how my life has been negatively affected by Gafni, but my pashut is this: abuse of power is wrong.

Rabbis, gurus, priests, politicians, you name it. Charisma is a heady tool that should be used with caution. Remember with humility that we are all vessels of Torah, & it is the Torah we share that is so attractive. It speaks to people's souls. So it is shocking & sad that any liberties would be taken with another's soul.

"Rebbe-izing" people so that they give their power away is harmful. Rabbinic privilege does not extend to people's bodies. Assaulting your students, your employees, or anyone vulnerable to you is unethical.

Sacred physical intimacy can be achieved, IY"H, by equally empowered, lovingly covenanted partners.

I admire & thank the women who filed the sexual assault charges. I send blessings of chizzuk & support to them, their loved ones & to every single one of Gafni's students, followers, maggidim & to his entire readership. There is much healing to be done in our most tender places, where sex & spirit collide.

I comment further on Jewschool, Velveteen Rabbi & at Danya

[Addendum May 18: I owe an apology for the above phrase I wrote regarding Mordechai Gafni having negatively affected my life. Some people got the impression from these words that he abused me, so for that I am sorry. It wasn't my intention for anyone to think that, & while I'm not responsible for other people's reactions, I'm still responsible for how I communicate. Mordechai Gafni has never abused me. His being my estranged husband's "Rebbe" is what was harmful.]

[Addendum May 18: I owe another apology for my comment on this post which made it sound like Gafni is a Jewish Renewal rabbi. He is not. Although he was a very popular teacher in Renewal circles, his training & ordination comes exclusively from Orthodoxy.]

Picked up at Mystical Politics & JewishBlogging.

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Blogger Shir-Yaakov שיר–יעקב said...


Thanks for finally writing; I've been checking in on you, here. I'm about to send you a 'business' email, but I wanted to express public appreciation for your voice.


3:13 p.m.  
Blogger avrum68 said...

I can't help but wonder if there's abook about sexual misconduct, charisma and power. Yori Yanover has an interesting take on this:
And while his sentiments may make us squirm, perhaps there's a grain of truth there.

3:38 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Hey, S"Y, so glad to see you commenting. I miss you.
Yeah, I didn't express my shock & disgust about Gafni in a "timely" fashion, because I was on the Island visiting Mum last week up until Mother's Day & away from the internet. I was taken up with family & friends for many days & didn't get the news until Erev LaG b'Omer. Then I had a lot to process, what with Gafni being Joel's "Rebbe" & all.
How are you doing through all this?

Hi, Av.
Thanks for this link. I didn't squirm at anything he wrote. I think that what he had to say was part of a greater conversation about sane sexuality that we all must engage in.
& if there isn't a book like that already, maybe the uproar caused by Jewish Renewal's Magic Sky Wizard will inspire such a book.

10:54 p.m.  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Your reaction is completely understandable, Aviel.

5:17 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thanks, Peter :}
I welcome & hold dear your kind support.

11:05 p.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

I think everything you said was right on the money. We need to all think about our desire to have a rebbe. etc...

I hope you are doing well

Kaphtziel (Ben Newman)

8:20 p.m.  

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