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.

Thursday, February 24, 2005




I did a presentation at the Westcoast Calligraphy Society last night, & it was such fun!

Kasandra picked me up & we went to Sabra's for their to-die-for chicken shwarma. Then off to Kitsilano for the meeting. They were a very friendly bunch & I enjoyed meeting them all. They wrapped up their business part of the meeting within half an hour & then we had some goodies during the break (mine came from Sabra's) & I did a mini-demo of some Hebrew letters, their stroke order & some of the midrash connected to them with the overhead projector.

They were all quite silent. I wasn't sure at first whether I was putting them all to sleep, as sharing even the basics about Hebrew & how to write it can be overwhelming. But the nice thing about giving a talk to a non-Jewish group who are artists & calligraphers is that I can nerd out with them about nib-widths, proportion, kerning, pitch & yaw. I was in heaven!

So I taught them to write the word "shalom". I explained that although this word meant "hello" & "goodbye" & "peace", that "peace" in Hebrew was different than "peace" in English.
In English, what does the word "peace" mean? It means "quiet", "calm", "an absence of war", in other words it indicates a lack of disorder. There is no conflict. "Peace" features nothingness.
In Hebrew, what does the word "shalom" mean? The shoresh/root of "shalom" is Shin-Lamed-Mem Sofit and this combination of letters gives us words like "rest", "reward", "completion", "accomplishment", "wholeness", "perfection", "renewal"...there is an entirety in "shalom", an infinite totality.
I think they appreciated that.

After the initial speaks about the letters & sharing a bit about my journey to become a soferet, I showed them my tools & brought the Megilah so I could write in it in front of them. They were full of questions & I really had a good time chatting with them all, fellow calligraphers.

I felt like one of the group, so I think I'll join :)

I belonged to the Fairbank Calligraphy Society years ago when I lived in Victoria, so it's been a long time since I felt I had a peer group. I certainly don't have many colleagues in sofrut. Outside of the two sofrim who taught me, there are only, I think 4 non-Orthodox Jewish scribes (all men) who will even talk to me. They're great, tho' - we share about technique & the joys & perils of writing The Holy Names, but they're all so far away...3 in the eastern USA & one in London.

Anyway, last night was terrific & I hope to make the next metting in a month where Barbara Hodgson, a local artist/author, will be presenting her latest book.

'Til then!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! You're doing wonderful work! "Kol HaKavod!"

10:40 a.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

I think G@d wants us to be in community. What's more, for artists (soferim (sp?)included), our art is where we meet G@d together.

4:45 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thanks so much, mirty. I really enjoyed your blog, by the way, & look forward to more posts from you!

6:20 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thanks for that, Peter...& I couldn't have said it better myself!
(ps - you spelled that right :D)

6:21 p.m.  

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