Money DOES Grow on Trees-Chocolate Chanuka Gelt

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. micha berger says:

    I would like to see a teshuvah deal with the issues of how chocolate is farmed. Are we prohibited from buying a product made by child slavery in hopes that a boycott would help change industry practices? And I mean literal slavery: human trafficking, work without pay, whippings, having to spray pesticides with no personal protection, young children with scars on their arms wielding machetes to open the cacao bean, etc…

    Is it like hunting for sport, an activity that even if technically permissible, is something Jews should not want to be involved in?

    (There is fair trade kosher chocolate [OU certified], but at $3.50 for a bag of ten chocolate coins… )

    Why does it seem that these questions are left for those who redefined Judaism to Liberal Democrat ideals under the rubric of “Tikkun Olam”? Why can’t we find actual halachic discussion in our community of this kind of issue?

  2. Mark Samuel Hurvitz says:

    Thank you for such an interesting article. I followed up on your links. They offer good information. So, here’s the link to Deborah Prinz’s book.

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