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Jen Taylor Friedman

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Title: Jen Taylor Friedman  
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Subject: Jewish feminism, Women in Judaism, Tefillin Barbie, American Jews
Collection: American Calligraphers, American Jews, Jewish Scribes (Soferim), Living People
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Jen Taylor Friedman

Jen Taylor Friedman is a soferet (Jewish ritual scribe). On September 9, 2007, she became the first woman known to have completed a Torah scroll. Taylor Friedman's sefer Torah was commissioned by United Hebrew Congregation, a Reform temple in St. Louis, Missouri.[1]

Taylor Friedman was born in Southampton, England, and educated at Oxford.[2] While studying at Oxford, she became interested in halakha (Jewish law) and calligraphy, and by a "chance combination of happy circumstances" she met a sofer (a male scribe) who helped her realize that becoming a soferet would allow her to pursue both interests.[3] Taylor Friedman continued her scribal studies in Jerusalem and New York City, where she now resides.[2][4]

Taylor Friedman's first project as a soferet was Megillat Esther, a scroll of the Biblical Book of Esther that is traditionally read in synagogue on the holiday of Purim. She completed the project on Purim 2004 (March 6).[5] Since that time she has prepared six more megillot,[5] including one for Congregation Ansche Chesed, a synagogue on Manhattan's Upper West Side.[6] In May 2010 she completed her third Torah scroll for Congregation Dorshei Emet, the first synagogue in Canada and the third in the world to receive a Torah handwritten by a woman.[7][8]

Taylor Friedman is one of a small but growing number of soferot (female scribes).[9][10]

Taylor Friedman is also known for her Tefillin Barbie, which has been featured in a number of prominent Jewish publications.


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  2. ^ a b
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  5. ^ a b
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  7. ^ "Female scribe to pen Reconstructionist shul’s new Torah", Canadian Jewish News, May 21, 2009.
  8. ^ "Woman scribes history-making Torah", CTV Montreal website, May 16, 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^

Further reading

  • Elissa Strauss, "Women Who Write Torah: A New Generation of Female Scribes Makes History", The Forward, November 19, 2010.

External links

  • Taylor Friedman's website
  • Taylor Friedman's blog
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