Category Archives: proofreading

La vie soferet – proofreading with accomplices

Well, that was fun. An afternoon at Hadar working with one of my accomplices apprentices on Elementary Proofreading. No, I don’t really have apprentices. Just the occasional afternoon teaching here and there; the sort of thing that I would do more of if I had apprentices. Anyway, we were doing some sheets of a sefer […]

Proofreading, part 30

The very observant will note that this series has talked a lot about letters, but really not about layout at all. The reason for this is that while letter forms are relatively inflexible and easy to get wrong, layout is relatively very flexible and (these days) pretty hard to screw up, so it’s not part […]

Proofreading, part 29

I summarised my attitude towards women writing Torahs by saying that the full citizen, the adult male in good standing, may participate in the transmission of the community’s symbolic centre, and the adjunct classes of women, children, and slaves, may not; today, it is a matter of principle that women not be an adjunct class […]

Proofreading, part 28

Most readers here, I imagine, live in countries where rights and responsibilities in the social plane are officially not apportioned with reference to gender. Broadly, this is because it is a matter of principle that women and men function as equal members of society. How well this actually plays out in practice is another matter, […]

Proofreading, part 27

Of course, people say “um, no actually” to me, being female. It wasn’t the handless guy’s fault he had no hands, it’s not my fault I’m female. He just didn’t have the physical makeup to write a valid Torah and that was too bad; I don’t have the physical makeup to write a valid Torah […]

Proofreading, part 26

Backtracking a bit to the experience of writing. I talked about producing letters as not necessarily being writing. Specifically, embossing (the process of creating a shape by pressing up from the other side) isn’t really writing. We might say: ah, but Braille is created by embossing, and today there are lots of people for whom […]

Proofreading, part 25

I also have to deal with a certain amount of, let’s say, cognitive dissonance. In my travels, I’ve given scrolls (usually megillot) I’ve written to various traditional-Orthodox types, and the response is, quite often, “Goodness me, this is very nice, very nice indeed…” until they discover that I wrote it. Then their opinion abruptly changes; […]

Proofreading, part 24

Talking of inaccessible. This part of the proofreading process is hard for me to access. I don’t own the fancy software, not many people do since it’s so expensive (multiple thousands of dollars, I understand). Most people send their scrolls away to have someone else do the scanning part. Well, that’s hard for me, because […]

Proofreading, part 23

The misplaced expectation that a computer can infallibly check a Torah also touches on a deeper concept, that of the experience of writing. What does it mean to write? is a question that has always been part of the Torah-writing rules. Could you, for instance, embroider the Torah? Is that writing? What about carving letters […]

Proofreading, part 22

Proofreading a Torah is a tremendous task, requiring much memory and data processing and demanding infallible accuracy. Computers, of course, have much memory and data processing ability, and are notoriously accurate. Having established that computer checking can be part of proofreading, one frequently hears the question “Why can’t the computer do it all?” I think […]