A Sofer is a Jewish scribe, charged with writing out the various pieces of Jewish "equipment" that need to be hand-written. The word comes from "Sefer" which means book. These include...

  • Sefer Torah - the most complex of the documents a Sofer writes. Writing a full Sefer Torah can take around a year.
  • Tefillin
  • Mezuzah

Many Soferim are Rabbis, although this isn't a pre-qualification.

Apart from writing the various artifacts, Soferim can also check and repair them. The letters on Sefer Torahs in particular, being read from regularly, and rolled and re-rolled, can fade, or the stitching that holds together the separate parchment pieces can tear. Many minor faults can be fixed, but certain ones (eg if the error is in G-D's name) require the entire document (or in the case of a Sefer Torah, the particular piece of parchment) to be replaced.

The Old Testament Prophet Ezra was often known as "Ezra HaSofer" - Ezra the Scribe - because he was so skilled in this job.

If you need to find a Sofer to check or repair your Tefillin or Mezuzot, speak to your local Rabbi. I don't know if the non-Orthodox branches of Judaism have their own Soferim - this may vary from country to country.

OK... who softlinked Settee, Sofa, Couch and Setee to this!