Are haredim sometimes paranoid?

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. Steve Brizel says:

    Charedim are really no different than any other distinct minority that
    suffer from a lack of understanding and even bigotry from the surrounding
    culture, If you read Making Of A Gadol, you will see that the Maskilim
    were not exactly kind to the yeshiva world and that the yeshiva world and
    the Chasidic communities were not fond of each other in many documented
    cases. Obviously, all of these factors are magnified by the current media.

  2. mycroft says:

    Very good post. Frankly, exchamges like this give your blog a certain credibility.
    Every group is frankly paranoid at times. To the extent that Chareidim are more paranoid it
    is probably due to the influence of the Holocaust.
    Another issue to the extent one believes that one is following Gods will and doing his work
    -any criticism can be interpreted not merely as one against onself but against God.
    Foir better or worse_Haaretz is probably the most accurate Israeli newspaper.
    The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and Washington Post are probably the most accurate US papers.

  3. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    I do not really understand Shira’s point. Yaakov was commenting on the English title — the English Ha’aretz has a life of its own — and Shira does not question his conclusions regarding the English title. So where’s the paranoia?

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