Rabbi Ilana Schachter (she/her) serves as Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai of Roslyn in New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Judaic Studies from Brown University, and a MAHL as well as rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Ilana resides in Roslyn with her husband and their two children.
I first inquired about becoming a soferet in my first year of rabbinical school in Jerusalem. I had come into rabbinical school with the technical expertise of a printmaker and a bookmaker, and I was eager to immerse myself in all things Torah, including its physical creation. Unfortunately, even in 2008, I could not find a sofer in Jerusalem who would train a woman.
In Numbers 9:7 some people who cannot offer the Passover sacrifice at its set time approach Moses saying what amounts to, “We want to bring a sanctified offering to God. It isn’t fair that we are not allowed to do it.” God's answer is that they can still participate, but a month later on a day called Pesach Sheini – the Second Passover.