As we celebrate Simchat Torah this Friday night, we’ll be joined by Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky, one of a growing number of women in the world of sofrut, the scribal art of writing Torah scrolls, along with megillot, tefillin, and mezuzah scrolls. Cantor Kobilinsky will speak at our service, telling us more about the process of writing a Torah and her journey to the world of the scribe. She will also join us at our Zoom Oneg Shabbat to answer questions.
Our Simchat Torah celebration will continue Saturday morning with our Shabbat for the Body, Mind, and Soul, including our Shabbat and Festival Yizkor service.
Becoming a soferet-STaM (a female scribe) is a fairly recent pursuit for Hayley, who was ordained a Cantor by Hebrew Union College’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music 15 years ago. It was in her first year of cantorial school that she visited the studio of a sofer-STaM in Jerusalem and fell in love with the art. She learned more researching the subject online, and in 2018 began to study with Soferet Julie Seltzer. Today she writes mezuzot, repairs Torah scrolls, and is about to embark upon writing her first Megillat Esther.
Cantor Kobilinsky serves as the Spiritual Leader of Chavurat Tikvah, a unique, small Reform congregation in Westchester County, NY. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University, while studying music at Juilliard, and her Master of Sacred Music degree from Hebrew Union College. She served congregations in New Jersey, Manhattan, and Westchester prior to her current pulpit. In addition to having taught as an adjunct professor at Hebrew Union College, on the topic of Shalosh Regalim (the Three Festivals- Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot), she served for 6 years as the President of Kol Hazzanim – Westchester’s Community of Cantors. Today she spends most of her “off-the-pulpit” time pursuing sofrut (the art of scribing), when she is not spending time with her husband Ben and 10-year-old son Samuel.