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Student Testimonials and Professional References April 25, 2006

Posted by soferet in Copyright, Courses, Hebrew Calligraphy, Jewish, Judaism, Kabbalah of the Letters, Religion, Safrut, Sefer Torah, Soferet, Sofrut Practice, Sofrut Theory & Philosophy, Students, Women.


Please find below a growing number of comments made by my students and colleagues. I thank them sincerely for their generosity and kindness, and am deeply humbled by their words. Used with permission by the authors, where their identity is known.

“Hi Avielah, I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful weekend that you gave us all. It was educational, enlightening and enjoyable. Your presentation was light and easy to follow. Your sincerity, integrity and enthusiasm shone through and it was an honor to be present. Lorna and I say ‘Thank you’.”

— Julian Levi, member of Congregation Kol Ami

“Must thank you for coming to talk to us! The feedback I received from everyone was overwhelmingly positive (without exception).”

— Daniel Guetta, Education Officer – Cambridge University Jewish Society

“I really enjoyed your session during the last Limmud about the meaning of the special letters in the Thora. I was also very impressed with your personality and knowledge.”

Limmud student

“Avielah did a beautiful Torah repair on P’nai Or’s Torah in time for this year’s Rosh Hashanah. We loved having her in our community.”

— Mateh Esther Brownstein, P’nai Or Portland

“Avielah Barclay is a talented teacher with passion for yiddishkeit as well as great talent. I was a student in her class for a week. It was just what I hoped it would be.”
Arthur Kurzweil, author, Jewish educator and genealogist

“Avielah Barclay’s craft with quill and parchment is impeccable, but her greatest tools are her deep ahavah and yir’ah for Torah, its Source and its many expressions.  Avielah’s warmth and passion for both the craft of sofrut and for her students make her a consummate teacher.”

— Rabbi David Mivasair, Ahavat Olam Community

“I have been studying safrut and am in the process of writing a megilat Ester for my synagogue (which, God willing, will be completed this coming Purim).

In the course of my scribal studies, I have come in contact with Avielah Barclay, who is the first woman (ever, in Jewish history, as far as I know!) to receive certification as a soferet from an Orthodox classically trained scribe.

I recently brought Avielah as a guest speaker to Skidmore College and she was marvelous. She spoke in a variety of settings – to a Women’s Studies class in “Women, Religion and Spirituality”, to an informal group of faculty and staff in a Chaplain’s noontime discussion, and at an evening lecture open to the community. She also did two presentations for Temple Sinai’s Confirmation classes (8th-10th grade students). In all of these settings, she was an engaging speaker and was warmly received.

Avielah lives in Vancouver but she will be in Jerusalem this summer doing some teaching at Pardes. While she is there, she is interested in finding additional teaching or speaking opportunities. I think it would be marvelous for the HUC-JIR community to have the opportunity to meet and learn from Avielah, so I’ve taken it upon myself to write to you about her.

If you want to know more about her, her web-site is soferet.com, and it contains her biographical information, as well as samples of her beautiful work, links to her blog and even some photographs from her recent trip to Saratoga.”

— Rabbi Linda Motzkin, Temple Sinai & Jewish Chaplain Skidmore College

These are some excerpts of the lovely things my students at the 2005 ALEPH Kallah had to say in their anonymous Teacher Evaluation forms:

“Avielah is an enthusiastic, energetic teacher. She loves what she does and is talented in showing people how to feel competent about engaging in calligraphy.”

“She did a beautiful job of teachng students of widely varied backgrounds, and of combining technical information with stories illuminating why pieces of Torah are written a certain way, and of sharing insights into sofer work. WONDERFUL!”

“Avielah is an amazing calligrapher & scribe. She also knows an enormous amount about Judaism, Torah, philosophy, reality, life & our relationship to Talmud.”

“Focused a lot more on calligraphy and glanced over mystical significance – she did do a good job of explaining the large/small letters written in the Torah.”

“A lovely intro. Look forward to continuing on my own.”

“I wish this was a “double” class: morning 2 hrs. plus afternoon 2 hrs. Since we have only 4 days of class.”

“Have this again! Wonderful. A little chaotic first day – too much chatter from students but improved every day. Lovely starting script & handouts for more difficult script. Great midrash on large, small, backwards letters in Torah. Sending out e-mail b4 was great – gave us time to collect supplies and (re)read books. Excellent encouragement to “play” with letters & materials.”

“טוב מאד”

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