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.
Taylor Friedman was born in Southampton, England, and educated at Oxford. 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. Taylor Friedman continued her scribal studies in Jerusalem and New York City, where she now resides.
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). Since that time she has prepared six more megillot, including one for Congregation Ansche Chesed, a synagogue on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Friedman oversaw the work of scribes involved with the Women's Torah Project, completed in 2010. 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. In 2018 she completed the first full Torah written in Texas by a woman. Congregation Agudas Achim requested her to do it for them.
Taylor Friedman is also known for her Tefillin Barbie, which has been featured in a number of prominent Jewish publications.
- Jill Kassander (November 2006). "Torah Alive! is celebrated at United Hebrew". St. Louis Jewish Light. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
Those associated with the project said they are not aware of any other Torah completely written by one woman.
- Leslie Bunder (2006-11-03). "Women writing Torah". Something Jewish. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Jen Taylor Friedman. "FAQ, in detail". Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Randi Sherman (2007-02-23). "Barbie On The Bima?". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Jen Taylor Friedman (2007-02-27). "a purim story - my first megillah". Archived from the original on 2012-12-25. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- "Ansche Chesed March 2006 Bulletin". Archived from the original on 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Fishkoff, Sue (15 October 2010). "Female Scribes Finish Writing Torah Scroll". JTA. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "Female scribe to pen Reconstructionist shul’s new Torah", Canadian Jewish News, May 21, 2009.
- "Woman scribes history-making Torah", CTV Montreal website, May 16, 2010.
- Published: February 11, 2018, 6:05 pm. "Austin Jewish congregation celebrates new Torah, first in Texas written by a woman". KXAN.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
- TEGNA (2017-08-21). "Austin synagogue to dedicate first female-written Torah". KVUE.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
- "Female Torah scribes begin work in St. Louis". Columbia Daily Tribune. Associated Press. 2006-09-05. Archived from the original on 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Amy Spiro (2012-10-07). "Torah, she wrote". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- Elissa Strauss, "Women Who Write Torah: A New Generation of Female Scribes Makes History", The Forward, November 19, 2010.