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 it was likely the parchment would no longer be kosher and that there would be no way to replace it.

Memento of relative – check. Tiny tefillin – check. Female owner – check. Discouraging story from Big Judaica Store – check. General despondency – check.

So I say, go to A1 Soferim – Aharon Lichter, 212-254-1400, 473 FDR Drive on Grand St, New York, New York.

Last week’s email:

Mr Lichter is a total mensch! Not only did he check the tefilin, but he showed me everything he was doing on them and all sorts of other stuff he had around. It was fascinating. Even I could see that the writing was beautiful and not faded, & he said they were easy to check and kosher for another 50 years. I’ve had them for over a decade, but I never really thought about the sofer who wrote the words, or who selected this particular set (my great-great grandfather? Mr Lichter was nice to say that though the batim are not the best quality, the writing is so good that they must not have been cheap), or who wore them, or their trip over from Europe. It was pretty awe-inducing.

This week’s email:

I wanted to send you back a glowing report about Aharon Lichter. He was incredibly polite and kind to me, and I was so appreciative of it. While I was waiting as he checked the tefillin he was telling me all kinds of great stories and anecdotes about being a sofer. He really was wonderful. Thank you so, so much for the recommendation!

So – Aharon Lichter. Earning a reputation as a Man Ladies can Take Their Tefillin To. Glad to hear it.


  1. Beth B
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 23:13 | Permalink

    So glad to hear about this. We’ll be taking our tiny tefillin on our next NY trip.

    I haven’t had them checked because some people (and web sites)warned me that most sofrim will say that they are too old, can’t possibly be kosher anymore, and (sometimes) bad things can happen if yr tefillin are not kosher, and that the best thing is to buy some new, bigger shinier tefillin (if you’ve got a Y chromosome) from them, of course.

    I have been wondering how it’s possible that the parchment in tefillin could deteriorate to the point of not being kosher when they are protected from the elements inside the batim. Especially when we have Torahs that are hundreds of years old, have been exposed to heat, cold, humidity, light, oils from readers’ hands, Post-its, and who know what else.

    Okay, the Post-its are only the last few decades, but you get the idea

  2. jen
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 13:01 | Permalink

    In brief, because you can repair letters on Torahs where you can’t on tefillin. Changes in temperature and humidity will affect klaf inside a tefillin box just as much as they will affect klaf inside a Torah roll; Torahs more than a few decades old will have seen repairs that aren’t possible on tefillin.

  3. Amanda
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 20:47 | Permalink

    This is the author of emails #1 & #2: I just wanted to say for full disclosure that I didn’t bring up the issue of who might be wearing the tefillin with Mr. Lichter. (I was not that brave– see above about general despondency– I really just wanted then checked!) But he asked no questions, and the whole thing was a great experience, and I love wearing my tefillin. I only wish I had brought a camera to take pictures of the guts & scrolls to show my brother and cousins what we inherited!

  4. jen
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 21:02 | Permalink

    Hi Amanda! :)

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