Our newest Soferet - Hanna Klebansky
Hanna Klebansky was born in the former Soviet Union in the city of Tblisi, to a traditional Jewish family. She studied piano at the National Academy of Music, and in 1995, completed her studies and received an academic degree. Parallel to her studies, she was active in the local Jewish community. A graduate of the Machon Gold teaching certificate program, which operates in the diaspora, she taught in Jewish schools and Sunday schools. In 1996, Hanna immigrated to Israel. Her spiritual search brought her to the Masorti movement and, since 2000, she has been a rabbinical student at the Schechter Institute. She was ordained in 2006.
In 2002 Hanna Klebansky founded the Creative Beit Midrash "Zimrat You" to offer immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Israel cultural and Jewish pluralistic opportunities for learning and creative expression.
Hanna lives with Yigal and their five children in Jerusalem.
Approximately four years ago, I had the opportunity to teach a very brief and focused course on the scribal arts. At the time, I was a student at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem. I thought it was very important for a rabbi to have basic knowledge about the laws pertaining to scribes, kashrut, and the like.
During the course, I realized that I wanted to delve further into the topic and acquire scribal skills. I asked myself why it attracted me so strongly. Every year, I revisit this question.
One appealing aspect to me was the idea of practicing a sacred art to produce an object used by people for sacred affairs. Scribal arts also connected to my identity as a musician (my previous profession) and my deep, internal need to create. Over time, as I practiced scribal skills and attended private lessons, I understood that the matter was not so simple.
I was intrigued by the fact that Jewish law says that each and every letter requires concentration (kavana), and that if even part of one of the letters is written without intention, the letter is invalid. I tried to understand why? What does our intention do to the letter, even when the letter appears to be "kosher" according to all halakhic criteria. We often speak in the new age of energies. Every animate and inanimate element of creation has an energetic field, which is influenced by external forces, and which in turn can influence others. Even our thoughts have energetic strength. It seems, then, that letters absorb the energy of thought, our intention, and can also radiate this energy onward. If we write a letter, word, or book with a scared and pure intention, they will also radiate this sacredness and purity. In practice, it is very difficult to maintain such intentionality for a protracted period. It requires a very deep meditative process in which we are required to cast away intrusive thoughts that cross our minds, thoughts over which we usually have no control. Over time, I have developed this ability. Only after two years of ongoing practice and study am I able to reach the state of consciousness, of intentionality that is sufficient, in my estimation, for writing.
Today, scribal arts are an inseparable part of my life. I feel that writing is a necessity, a process that sustains me by enabling me to generate positive energy in the world, and through which, according to my abilities, I am able to contribute to 'tikkun olam,' the repair of the world.