Monthly Archives: July 2011

Rabad of Posquieres – Isidore Twersky – notes

6 sections: Life; Works; Works II: Criticism of the Mishneh Torah; Sources; Disciples and Followers; Relation to Philosophy and Kabbalah Life: Twelfth-century Provence becomes a relatively exciting Jewish scholarly scene – context of a) Christian intellectual activity b) influence from Spanish Jewry. Most of what we know about his Life comes from clues in his […]


Fun with ketubot – Kells-inspired micrography

(Click to see bigger) Bride and groom, When we started this process, you said “I don’t think it could possibly work out, but I just had to give it a try.” You asked for something you thought was impossible, and it turned into something quite lovely. May your marriage have many similar shots at seemingly-impossible […]


from the Torah repair mines – scribal archaeology

You’re merrily checking through a sefer Torah, one in which the scribe tends to underestimate his lines, and has to stretch at the ends to compensate (lines 1, 2, 6, 7). And you see a chunk (lines 3, 4, 5) of squishied-up writing. Why? This usually happens when you accidentally leave words out. Calligraphers have […]


Appoint a rabbi – exercise in communal calligraphy

I like a bit of a challenge now and again. Here’s a community that wants to honour its rabbi by giving him a piece of artwork. Since the rabbi is well-beloved by the families with children, the Surprise Committee wanted to have the children participate in creating the artwork. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually result in […]


Jews of Aragon – Assis notes

I’ve been reading Yom Tov Assis’ books about the Jews of Aragon (for Gabriel’s orals: The Golden Age of Aragonese Jewry and Jewish Economy in the Medieval Crown of Aragon). On the one hand, he describes the period 1210-1327 as a Golden Age for the Jews. On the other hand, he presents it as a […]


student love

I love RG. RG has been coming to Apprentice with a Sofer on Tuesday nights. She doesn’t count herself as valid to work on a sefer Torah (because she holds that men and women have different halakhic capabilities) so every time we do a new thing, she asks me “Can I do this? Can I […]


from the Torah repair mines

When re-inking letters, do not forget and plonk your stupid elbow down on them.