Monthly Archives: November 2010

Messianic sofrot… Oy… A messianic soferet (who thinks the plural of “soferet” is “soferetim”). Okay, people. This is a good example of why you need to know who your scribe was. This person’s work will probably look exactly the same as a Jew’s work. Looking at the site, you might think it was completely okay – […]

Paper for calligraphy

For what it’s worth, this is the paper I’m presently recommending to my students. Scribes write on parchment, but parchment is mad expensive, and it’s foolish to take your first tottery strokes with a quill on the most expensive medium available. Much better to get started on paper. But what sort of paper? You don’t […]

Poetical interlude

I went to a talk at the Jewish Theological Seminary a while back, on the poetry of Yehuda haLevi. Specifically, two translators were talking about their approaches to translating haLevi’s poetry. Those of us who work with Bible translations frequently have occasion to remark that translations are necessarily also commentaries, and this talk emphasised the […]

Essay questions

I get these by email every so often. 1. What is your favorite part of your job? If you’re very lucky, in your life you’ll find an activity – maybe something physical, or intellectual, or creative, or none of those – that is just *right* for you. When you start doing it, everything feels good […]

Field trip – Holocaust Torah-scroll

The Czech Memorial Scrolls were originally collected up by the Jews of Prague, in the wake of Nazi devastation. As the Jews of Bohemia disappeared, the Prague Jews collected up their scrolls to keep them safe, hoping to give them back to their owners after the war. But their owners were all murdered – and […]

A1 Soferim – Good Reports

I get emails like this on average twice a month: If you have advice about what I should do with my ancient tefillin, that would be great. They were my great-grandfather’s and I would love to use them, but they are tiny, and the man I talked to at [Big Judaica Store] told me that […]

Fun with ketubot – Fruit of the Spirit

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… And the bride and groom took that and turned it into wishes for their marriage. Isn’t that nice? My black-letter script isn’t all it could be, but I’m very happy with how the illumination turned out. As well as […]