A Tale of Two Trajectories

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 www.cross-currents.com.

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2 Responses

  1. mirty says:

    I think there is a middle-ground between a completely secular lifestyle and an Orthodox shul with a mechitza. One can partake of Jewish values and beliefs in more than one way. (I believe so, anyway.) My husband, kids and I attended a very nice Reform service in Baka (in Jerusalem) when I visited there.

  2. mirty says:

    Shira writes: ” Returning to the scene of the girl soldiers versus the girl demonstrators, we can see this as a micro-example of macro-phenomena, symbolized chromatically by the “blue” ribbons, representing secular left-of-center Jewish Israelis, as opposed to the “orange” ribbons of the religious right-of-center. The difference is more than color deep and the future is with the religious “orange” group.

    This is because those in the secular left have adherents. Those in the religious right have babies.”

    I disagree that this event was an example of a wide-spread phenomena. If Jews were indeed that pitted against each other, and in a constant state of nearly war-like opposition, there would be no Jewish community or Jewish State. I humbly suggest that the future lies in Jews working together and trying to understand each other’s views, not in choosing separate sides.

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