To Ignore or Confront Controversy?

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 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 survived the Shoah, edited by Esther Farbstein); and Rest of the Dove (Parashat Hashavua by Rabbi Haim Sabato). She and her husband appear in the documentary film about the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, “Hidden Face.” She is available to lecture in Israel and in the US and can be contacted via

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3 Responses

  1. shira X says:

    “in apologetics (a respected branch of rhetoric that defends and justifies theological positions).”

    this here appears to be your mistake. do you think your apologetics were defensible – that is, do you really believe ROYs statement was acceptable if properly understood? If so, you are engaging in explanation, a legitimate defense of a misunderstood position.
    If you are apologizing defensively, the article was a mistake and you’d have been better off being quiet.
    The article reads like (b); you “Explain” or translate ROY and then basically chastise him for not following Bruria’s and his own advice.
    So why did you expect to win converts?
    You basically think he was wrong.

  2. Menachem Petrushka says:

    Living Gedolim are not “ArtScroll” Gedolim. They are saintly human beings not demi-gods.
    Rashi in Parshas Shoftim addresses the issue by telling us that the Torah demands we adhere to the judges(Gedolim) in our time even if they are not “ArtScroll” Gedolim.

  3. Michoel says:

    One of us needs to re-read that Rashi.

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