“He didn’t get to say the Shma”

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. Netanel Livni says:

    I don’t see how a religious person can mourn Rabin. A man whose policies have led to over 1000 Jews murdered in just the past few years (not to mention all the victims of Oslo before this intifada). And lets not forget the cold-blooded murder of the Jews on the Altalena, Ravin was the commander of the force that opened fire on that ship.

  2. Shira Schmidt says:

    12 b Heshvan
    I gave a reference to an article in Haaretz that quotes Rabin’s diatribes against religious Jews and settlers. There were definitely problematic aspects to him.
    One of them is his role in firing the “holy cannon” that killed Jews when the Hagana sunk the the Altelana ship in 1948 (and shot Jews in the water). I had a conversation with a high school student in Kiryat Sanz immediately after the murder of Rabin. She said one teacher had discussed the shooting of Rabin in terms of Mishna 7 in Pirkey Avos Chapter 2.

    “He (Hillel) saw a skull floating on the surface of the water.
    He said to it: Because you drowned [another] you were drowned.
    And the those who drowned you will, in the end, be drowned themselves.”

    With respect to what the daughter of the Klausenberger said about Rabin’s murder, I assume she felt it sad that a Jew did not have a chance say the Shema and take other steps (including doing teshuva) before leaving this world.

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