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Scribe

The original function of the scribe within Judaism was a religious one, since he wrote out religious texts.
There are rules which specify precisely the material (parchment), the type of writing instrument, and the text layout to be used for Torah scrolls and phylacteries.
Scribes were often given the familyname "Schreiber" (scribe) or "Sofer" (the Hebrew word for "scribe") by virtue of their profession.

The profession was highly respected, and was often pursued in conjunction with another activity, such as kosher slaughterman, or rabbinical judge (also called "dayan").

Scribes were expected to observe religious laws particularly strictly.
The scribe Wolf Hanau died in 1748 and was given a felon's burial because he had sold defective prayerbooks.
Herts Fulda died in 1770 and was subjected to the great Ban.
He too received a felon's burial for manufacturing defective phylacteries (tephilin).
Other scribes functioned as chancery clerks, or bookkeepers as they would be called today, performing clerical work on behalf of the Jewish community.
"Poor Simon", his wife, and four children lived in the Goldener Adler from 1700 onwards.
He passed down the profession of scribe to his son.
A butcher's scribe with the job of recording meat sales and purchases lived for a while in the Rindskopf near the meat market.
Important merchants and wealthy private individuals also employed scribes to keep their business records.


© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources