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.

Friday, October 20, 2006



There has been a photo going around on the internet which, altho' very popular & rather funny (in a good way), I find counter-productive to Feminist Judaism. As someone who is committed to Orthodox Feminist Judaism, I spoke out against in on Jewschool:

I'm going to have to agree with Cole, Jabotinsky & RM.

I welcome any opportunity for discussion about women in non-trad roles.
Although this took a great deal of time & skill to make, I find it offensive.

My concern is Jen's deliberate choice of Barbie iconography, given the associations. Most women of our generation (the over-30s) find Barbie to denote "trivial". Barbie is a cultural shorthand for plastic, superficial, brainless, and demeaning. It's the ultimate non-feminist icon.

This image says to me that basically feminist Jx women are bimbos just "playing" real Jews & that feminist Jx women who CHALLENGE tradition for the love of Torah, are really playthings. Either the women or the traditions.

So since I'm sure that Jen's intention here was NOT to trivialize feminist women in Judaism, perhaps it could have been better thought out.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Blogger MiriyaB (Becca) said...

This over-30 woman doesn't find Barbie to universally denote "trivial," and is anything but offended by the playful--even, to me, empowering--image of Davening Barbie (as Mike & I call her: she's got a tallis as well as tefillin, so she's more than just Tefillin Barbie by me! Weekday Davening Barbie, to be precise...).

Not all feminists are anti-Barbie, nor is Barbie or her history necessarily anti-feminist. Barbie was created by a Jewish businesswoman, Ruth Handler, who named Barbie and Ken after her daughter and son; after undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer, Handler developed a better type of breast prosthesis (along with post-mastectomy swimwear) as the "Nearly Me" line. (See her entry on the PBS "They Made America" site, where she's honored among the Innovators:

Barbie need not be a bimbo, and the woman who created her certainly wasn't one. I'd definitely allow (even encourage!) any daughter (or son) of mine to play with Davening Barbie as well as the proposed Egal Minyan Ken. :)

11:49 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Hey, Becca!
Great to have you commenting on my blog again :)

As I said, most women of our generation/GenX-ers/however we categorize ourselves share my opinions & reactions to Barbie. You're not one of those women :)

I knew this history of the Barbie Doll you cite, & have zero problem with ther inventor & the process she went through. What I take exception to is the end product & how that has ultimately taught girls to hate our bodies, sent non-white women the message that we are not beautiful & generally been used as a tool to undermine women's self-value. It's Women's Studies 101. The superficiality/publicity ploy can be separated from its inventor, but not from the doll, IMHO.

ps - I really miss hanging out with you & Mike! Hope you guys are doing super!

12:24 a.m.  

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