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, March 08, 2006


8 Adar & International Women's Day

OMG, they've come out with Reese's cookies! I'm in Heaven...if they're kosher...
(sorry - consumerist brain freeze)

This is my latest painting. It's a gift for a new baby named No'ach Daveed & the text is from the Sefardi shiron:


Copyright A. Barclay. Lightfast watercolour & ink on Arches 400lb rough acid-free watercolour paper.

R' Schachar told me about the plan to chant the Megilah outside of the Iranian Embassy in Montreal this Purim & inviting other Jewish groups to do that across the country! Why? 'Cause it's cool! & because the whole story of Esther happened in Iran. & besides, who knows? Maybe this could improve Jewish/Muslim or Canadian/Iranian relations, this reaching out & recognizing our common experience. Even today, Queen Esther - wife of Xerxes I a.k.a Achashverosh - is regarded as a heroine in Persian culture, even though she was a Jew.

So speaking of heroes, R' Ross Singer is coming for a visit this weekend! That's right, the rabbi who did the most for my career & the bulk of Jewish Legal research enabling me to step into sofrut knowing my work & that of future Jewish women would be supported by a minority Halakhic opinion will be back in Vancouver as scholar-in-residence for our Shabbaton. YAY!

I am going to be ALL over that shul come Friday...

For a sample of R' Ross' writings, check here & here.

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Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>Maybe this could improve Jewish/Muslim or Canadian/Iranian relations, this reaching out & recognizing our common experience.

Somehow I doubt that, what with the Yahouddim killing 25,000 of their enemies and all.

8:03 a.m.  
Blogger Jen Taylor Friedman said...

R' Landes ought to be on the honour list, he passed my megillah at the same time R' Singer passed yours :)

9:24 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Mississippi Fred - Uh, yeah, well...all we can do is behave the way G@d calls us to & leave what is out of our control to G@d...

Blackherring - I'd never seen anything by R' Landes on women & Megilah, only R' Singer & all his lengthly work. All the reserch he did he checked with several widely respected, scholarly rabbis whose opinion would be accepted & they all told him his process was true to Halakhic exegesis, his arguments were air-tight & that he knew more about the subject than they did. He's a real trailblazer :D
& was it the same time? We've never traded stories on when each of us wrote our first Megilot...
Hey, did you see my continuation of the "knives" discussion in my earlier post we were discussing?

10:38 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blackherring is competititve

11:44 a.m.  
Blogger Jen Taylor Friedman said...

R' Landes didn't publish, but all the same, he's still a good mush. (I asked him what his reasoning was, and he mentioned something about the back of the Shulhan Arukh and that it was quite easy, which was sort of a surprise given how much work R' Singer put into his article, but it was psak, anyway.) Your first megillah was Purim 2004, wasn't it? Mine was.

Didn't see the knives post, I have a bad habit of not checking earlier posts. Livejournal rules! :-P I shall go there now.

12:19 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can one be considered a seriously G@d fearing person (as a sofer should be) if one's idea of heaven is Reese's cookies? (See original post.)

3:18 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

anon #1 - now, now; let's play nice here :)

Blackherring - I think R' Ross' intention was to open the writing of Megilot Esther to all observant Jewish women, rather than just for me. Since there are multiple opinions & most people just assumed that women weren't allowed, the broad research & publishing of Halakhic sources was in order :)

I learned Diney Megilot in '98 with my sofer, but nobody would hire me to write one for them, since through ignorance they thought it would be pasul. So my first Megilat Esther was Purim of 2004.

Yesh, this post where we were talking about blades & different practices :) Check it out.

anon #2 - How? Because it's a figure of speech, my friend.

10:23 p.m.  
Blogger Jen Taylor Friedman said...

Haza"l never say anywhere that heaven DOESN'T involve Reese's cookies. For all we know the angels sit around on their clouds all day stuffing cookies.*

Anyway, yeah, '98, that's a pretty long time, in '98 I was almost completely ignorant of all of Judaism. I knew aleph, though, it's in maths. And beit. But it stopped there :) I had a lot of catching up to do.

* (on the idea of competition, wouldn't that be weird - international sofrut olympics, see who can write the fastest mezuzah...feather flinging...swimming events in baths of ink (very tznius)...)

5:30 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

LOL - yeah! Reese's peanut butter cups & cookies & snack bars & dare I mention *gasp* Easter eggs? They have a hekasher...

Well, I'm "a woman of a certain age", so I've had more time. I love Cantorism - I only discovered it a few years ago & thought it was awesome that a secular Jewish math genius would develop his own theory of infinity & use the letter Alef to represent that undefined quantity :D

I'll give you the speed trophy, hands down ;)
With my disabled writing hand I'm forced to focus on form rather than speed. But I'll take you in darts any day. Sounds like a visit to the pub is in order...

1:40 p.m.  
Blogger Jen Taylor Friedman said...

hah! You don't want to be around me playing darts. The chance of me even hitting the board is minimal. I'm more likely to miscalculate, dive-bomb them to the floor, and bend the points. Honest. Hopeless, entirely hopeless.

Anyway, I wouldn't be able to do the fastest mezuzah, if I go for speed I almost always run letters into each other. The ink-dive, maybe

6:54 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Have you tried thinning your d'yo?

4:04 p.m.  
Blogger Jen Taylor Friedman said...

Yes - it's not a dyo thing, just a motor control thing. I get sloppy if I go too fast.

12:27 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Yeah, me too. However, I also find that when the ink is too thick &/or the parchment is a bit more velvety than usual, it can "travel". The way it hangs under the quill when it's thickened is a different shape & density than when there's the right amount of water in it, so that can get in the way...

4:01 p.m.  

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