The prayer for bread on Passover

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. Ori says:

    In Switzerland it is against the law to wash your car or hang laundry on Sunday. You get fined! But how come no one calls that ‘religious coercion” ?

    1. Maybe it’s a stereotype, but I think the Swiss are less argumentative than Israelis. If there were enough Israelis in Switzerland, they would call it religious coercion.

    2. Switzerland is an extremely traditionalist country. They didn’t let women vote until 1971. Israel is a relatively new country, with its customs and traditions still being negotiated.

  2. HILLEL says:

    Wow, this is a really fantastic article.

    The main point, I think, is that even secular Jews, in the final analysis, understand deep-down that we are all One People, who are here in this world for one purpose only–to serve HaShem.

  3. Mois Navon says:

    Thanks for the inspiring article – and all the pretinent links – I used them to prepare a source sheet on the subject for a pre-Pesah shiur:

    Tizki L’Mitzvot!

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