Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another soferet

TORAH DOCTOR: Maintaining an ancient tradition, female scribe repairs Jewish academy Torah (Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel).
The Torah used at the Jewish Academy of Orlando is marked with water spots, smudges, discolorations and rips.

"It's not just a book. It's a sacred text," said Alan Rusonik, head of the academy in Maitland. "To have a Torah in disrepair just doesn't seem right."

That's why Rusonik summoned Rachel Salston, a 24-year-old rabbinical student from Los Angeles.

Salston is one of an estimated 50 female Jewish scribes in the world. Her teacher, Jen Taylor Friedman, was the first woman to write a complete Torah scroll in 2007.

Females scribes, or soferets, are a rare breed because they must be conservative Jews who follow the strict laws of Judaism but also belong to an egalitarian congregation that believes in the equality of women and men. And they must have the interest, patience and talent for painstaking, meticulous work.

There's video too. For much more on female scribes from antiquity to the present, see here and links. Jen Taylor Friedman has also been mentioned here. Unfortunately, the main link has rotted, but there is still some information there about her, including a photo of her creation, Tefillin Barbie.