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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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2 Responses

  1. Shmuel says:

    Ms. Schmidt–

    I was wondering why you titled your translation “It’s Just a Story?” It seemed to me from reading your translation (the only version of the original that I have access to is the short piece on the picture of the front page of Ma’ariv that illustrates your posting) that the point isn’t that it’s “just a story.” Rather, it seems that the main idea is the sometimes blurred line between fiction and reality, whether what was written was fiction or non-fiction. The who approached Rav Sabato about the burning tank incident was ignoring the fact that “Tiyum Kavanot” was a non-fiction memoir and the author wasn’t ‘omniscient’ like the author of fiction. And the main who approached Rav Sabato in the beit midrash was ignoring the fact that “K’Afapei Shachar” was a novel and the character Ezra Siman Tov was fictitious. In any case thank you for translating and posting this –I have never met Rav Sabato but I am a big fan based on his writings.

  2. ada jacobowitz says:

    Amazing how some people get so caught up that they can’t distinguish reality from non reality.
    I wonder if the TV ‘realkity’ shows contribute ot this or has it always been this wy.

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