Ever change your mind?

Shira Schmidt

Shira Leibowitz Schmidt was raised in an assimilated Jewish home in New York, and became observant while studying at Stanford University in California. In June 1967 she told her engineering school professor she would miss the final exam because she was going to Israel to volunteer during the Six Day War. “That’s the most original excuse I have ever been offered,” he responded. She arrived during the war and stayed, receiving her BSc in absentia. She subsequently met and married the late Elhanan Leibowitz, and they raised their six children in Beersheba. Mrs. Leibowitz acquired a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from the Technion, and an MSc in Civil Engineering from University of Waterloo. Today she lives with her husband, Dr. Baruch Schmidt, in Netanya. She is on the board of the Charedi College of Jerusalem. She co-authored, with Nobel prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann, Old Wine New Flasks. She has co-translated from Hebrew to English (with Jessica Setbon) From the Depths (the autobiography of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau); The Forgotten Memoirs (memoirs of Rabbis who survved the Shoah, edited by Esther Farbstein); and Rest of the Dove (Parashat Hashavua by Rabbi Haim Sabato). She s available to lecture in Israel and in the US.

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4 Responses

  1. Baruch Pelta says:

    Oh man, I can’t resist:
    I wonder if others have ever changed their minds due to a specific teaching they studied.
    Dr. Lawrence Kaplan’s treatment on R’ Hutner, his treatment of DT, and his treatment of R’ Meiselman’s worldview all prompted me to look deeper into hashkafic issues. Since reading them and discussing them with people, my own worldview has gone through a large shift. Me aspiring to be a Jewish studies professor today can largely be attributed to Dr. Kaplan and these essays, which I understand are minor in comparison to his larger work.

  2. C says:

    Intriguing point. A suggestion:’You said,’Malbim maintains ….. somewhat similar to the tabula rasa of Locke and Rousseau.’ He might have come across these secular philosophers, but surely his source is Pirkei Avos. ‘Elisha ben Avuyah [Ch 4] used to say: He who learns as a child, what is he like? He is like ink written on new paper. He who learns as an old man, what is he like? He is like ink written on blotting paper.’

  3. soccer dad says:

    I started reading the booklet on Hakhel edited by Rabbi Rabbinowitz-Teomim son. I can see why the view of resurrecting Hakhel could be controversial and saw a certain amount of apologetics in Rabbi Herzog’s essay. Still I can’t comprehend the strong opposition to having the head of state attend. Not every king was tzaddik and the Torah doesn’t say anything about disqualifying the king on the basis of his level of observance.

    I attended the Hakhel in 1980. (Mr. Shragai didn’t mention it, but it did occur then too.) It was extremely inspiring.

  4. mycroft says:

    “Still I can’t comprehend the strong opposition to having the head of state attend. Not every king was tzaddik and the Torah doesn’t say anything about disqualifying the king on the basis of his level of observance.

    I attended the Hakhel in 1980. (Mr. Shragai didn’t mention it, but it did occur then too.) It was extremely inspiring”

    Essentially agree-I together with Mrs. Mycroft attended the hakhel in 1987 and found it inspiring-the last one before the intifada which started just after then.

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