The Hora, the Hassidic Tune, and the Memorial for Fallen Soldiers

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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6 Responses

  1. mb says:

    Wonderful article. Thank you.Cross-Currents should have more like this. And not just leave it to Rabbi Adlerstein

  2. Pesach Sommer says:

    There are few writers who manage to successfully be part of the charedi and RW Zionist world. Mrs. Schmidt is one of them. It is a pleasure to read her thoughtful words.

  3. L.Oberstein says:

    Ecept for the fact that listening to music during sefira if not permitted, as my wife told me when I clicken on to the link, this is an interesting tidbit. It makes sense that the halutzim hummed tunes that t hey learned as children and gave them new words. What amazes me is th atthe Klausenberger Rebbe’s followers have rebuilt after the destruction and are growing in numbers while the socialists are passe. Who would have predicted that a few generations back.

  4. NF says:

    Great article. Is this video available on the internet?

  5. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    A.J. Heschel once said about Kol Nidre: “It’s not the words that matter, but rather the melody.”

  6. Ada Jacobowitz says:

    Beautiful and moving article.

    Thanks to Cross currents for printing it and to Shira L. Schmidt for taking the time to research and write this.

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