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] Friedman oversaw the work of scribes involved with the Women's Torah Project, completed in 2010.[7] 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.[8][9] In 2018 she completed the first full Torah written in Texas by a woman.[10] Austin's Congregation Agudas Achim requested her to do it for them.[10][11]

Taylor Friedman is one of a small, but growing, number of soferot (female scribes).[12][13]

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


  1. 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.
  2. Leslie Bunder (2006-11-03). "Women writing Torah". Something Jewish. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  3. Jen Taylor Friedman. "FAQ, in detail". Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  4. Randi Sherman (2007-02-23). "Barbie On The Bima?". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  5. Jen Taylor Friedman (2007-02-27). "a purim story - my first megillah". Archived from the original on 2012-12-25. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  6. "Ansche Chesed March 2006 Bulletin". Archived from the original on 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  7. Fishkoff, Sue (15 October 2010). "Female Scribes Finish Writing Torah Scroll". JTA. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  8. "Female scribe to pen Reconstructionist shul’s new Torah", Canadian Jewish News, May 21, 2009.
  9. "Woman scribes history-making Torah", CTV Montreal website, May 16, 2010.
  10. Published: February 11, 2018, 6:05 pm. "Austin Jewish congregation celebrates new Torah, first in Texas written by a woman". Retrieved 2018-02-12.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. TEGNA (2017-08-21). "Austin synagogue to dedicate first female-written Torah". Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  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.
  13. Amy Spiro (2012-10-07). "Torah, she wrote". Retrieved 2012-10-10.

Further reading

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