The ideology behind halakhic ideology

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

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    I wonder if they invited any active poskim (which they may have) would they attend and contribute?

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Shira Schmidt said, “I wonder whether the minimal visibility of haredim at such venues is due to the organizers not making an effort to invite people to the “right” of themselves, or to the reluctance of haredim to participate. I have compiled a list of a few dozen haredim in academia and in public discourse who could be presenters…”

    Shira might get answers by sending the advance program of this conference to the haredim on her list with a letter/questionnaire to get their reactions to the subject matter and other details, and their indications as to what, if any, changes in focus, subject matter, balance of viewpoints, etc., could increase their level of interest.

    I suspect that most or all would rather avoid any meeting of this type that is not organized by the haredi sector.

  3. HILLEL says:

    I suggest you join the list of speakers. Your topic can be “Halacha for Halacha’s sake.”

  4. shmuel says:

    Its sort of like the old chicken and the egg question. Which came first the halachah or the hashkafa?

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    WADR, this is an academic conference. It is not radical to state that it is very doubtful that a Birkas HaTorah can be recited over such proceedings as if the same was a cheftza shel Torah.

Pin It on Pinterest