Monthly Archives: October 2010

Lines per column in a sefer Torah…

How many lines to a column? It varies. Torah scrolls tend not to have fewer than 42 lines per column. Some Megillot will have eleven lines per column, so as to have the Sons of Haman occupy a column to themselves but still have only one on each line. The Keset ha-Sofer: It is the […]


I may have spent the evening putting artwork onto mugs. Click mug images to buy at Zazzle. My cup runneth over: This one’s particularly fine, I think, for hot drinks on chilly Shabbat afternoons at seudah shelishit, when people are singing “kosi revaya” anyway. Also good for people like me who tend to overfill their […]

Fun with ketubot – 1830s Modena, part 5/5

So the last thing to do is fill in the text. First I learned the script, copying the original quite carefully. Then I used the techniques I talked about last summer, for fitting ketubah texts into given shapes, to fit the text into the available space. Exact text blurred for privacy reasons, but you get […]

Fun with ketubot – 1830s Modena, part 4/5

Faced with the task of copying an image from the internet and scaling it up to ketubah size, how does one go about it? Technique from primary school. Impose a grid onto your original, and copy each square into a scaled-up grid on your target medium. Printing the original picture gave me something on standard […]


This time last year, we had Quill Month – seventeen posts about quills. My new cohort of students is causing me to have more to say about quills, but first – here’s all the old posts. Of course, I suggest reading them all. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 […]

Fun with ketubot – 1830s Modena, part 3/5

The ketubah text itself is a pretty standard text, with a few interesting features (click image to see bigger version; text reproduced in full below). The date of the wedding was 7 Marhesvan 5592, or Friday October 14th, 1831. It was in Modena (which they would have pronounced Modona, hence the spelling מודונא ) – […]

Fun with ketubot – 1830s Modena, part 2/5

This design uses different sizes of letters to make a lovely rich lacy border. What are the texts it’s using? The first text around the outside is Isaiah 61:10-62:1. שוש אשיש בייﭏ תגל נפשי בﭏדי כי הלבשני בגדי ישע מעיל צדקה יעטני כחתן יכהן פאר וככלה תעדה כליה כי כארץ תוציא צמחה וכגנה זרועיה תצמיח […]

Fun with ketubot – 1830s Modena, part 1/5

“Can you copy this ketubah?” my client asked me. Since this is a Historical Ketubah, there aren’t copyright issues, as there would be if someone wanted me to copy a contemporary design. So I’m happy to copy it; it’s lovely! “Copy” can mean several different things, though. It might mean “make us a border that […]

Awww, how sweet.

The Women’s Torah Project peeps sent me a pretty pretty certificate honouring me as one of the Sisters of the Torah, “dedicated to the discovery of ancient roots and the creation of powerful futures.” Isn’t that sweet and generous of them? As I think I’ve said before, the project organisers really are rather a special […]

Adhesive creep

Adhesive creep on a sefer Torah. The seam reinforcements are glued on; over time, the glue Creeps out from where it was originally put. Being sticky, the creepy glue sticks to a) other things b) dirt. Here, the glue from the reinforcement on the right-hand side of the picture has stained the Torah’s margin, on […]