web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Shira Leibowitz Schmidt: Multifaceted Scholar


LBJ-110113-Schmidt

“There is a war going on and I can’t sit here in California, even if I have to miss graduation,” said Cheryl Osher to her engineering professor at Stanford University.

It was June 1967, the Six Day War had broken out, and Cheryl, now Shira, arrived in Israel on the fourth day of the war planning to help out in whatever way she could. Eventually she volunteered doing agricultural work on a religious kibbutz from where she sent her professor a postcard proving she really had gone to Israel. As a result she was granted her B.Sc. degree at Stanford in absentia.

Shira was a latecomer to Orthodoxy, having grown up in Lawrence, Long Island, where her family and most of the other members of the Orthodox Beth Sholem Congregation were not shomer Shabbos.

After the war Shira Osher decided stay in Israel. She continued her studies at the Technion where she met the brilliant Torah scholar and scientist, Elhanan Leibowitz, who was to become her husband in 1968.

The couple settled in Beer Sheva and soon Shira was a mother to six children. The first was a boy who is now a lawyer in Silver Springs; then came twins, a girl, now a lawyer in New York, and a boy, now an educator in Tel Aviv. Five years later another boy followed who is now an anesthesiologist in Beer Sheva. The two youngest are a girl, a medical student and a boy, a scholar of Tanach.

Among the greatest influences in Shira’s life was her husband’s aunt, the late Nehama Leibowitz, a first-class Bible scholar and teacher. Nehama helped Shira navigate her way amid questions and issues about women’s role in halacha. Shira wrote an essay about her encounters with Nehama entitled, “Thank you, Nehama Leibowitz!” published in Bread and Fire. While in Beer Sheva, Shira, the mother of six, scientist and Bible scholar, co-authored a fascinating study entitled, Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition with Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann.

Shira became a widow in 1990, after twenty-two years of marriage. Several years later she married Dr. Baruch Schmidt, a surgeon in Laniado Hospital, Sanz Medical Center, and moved to Kiryat Sanz, Netanya. The kirya and hospital were built by the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, who lost his wife and 11 children in the Shoah. This unique Chassidic group awakened Shira’s intellectual curiosity, and she began studying and eventually writing extensively about it, and documenting and recording the experiences of the Holocaust survivors in whose midst she lived. Simultaneously she specialized in translating Holocaust memoirs from Hebrew to English, among them that of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Out of the Depths: The Story of a Child of Buchenwald Who Returned Home at Last.

Shira Leibowitz Schmidt, multifaceted researcher, scholar, scientist, translator and devoted grandmother, will be on a lecture tour during the month of Kislev (November) on the East Coast of the United States. She will speak about life in the Chassidic enclave of Kiryat Sanz, her experience in translating several masterpieces, the uniqueness of rabbinic Holocaust memoirs, and the shiurim of Nehama Leibowitz. With titles like East Meets West: Rav Ovadia Yosef and the Klausenberger-Sanz Rebbe, The Boy in the Sack: From Buchenwald to Chief Rabbi, The Case of Coca-Cola and the Rabbi’s Daughter: How Cola Became Kosher, Is He a Rabbi or a Novelist? Meet Rav Haim Sabato, I would not want to miss any of her lectures. For more information on lecture dates and cities e-mail shiras@netvision.net.il.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Shira Leibowitz Schmidt: Multifaceted Scholar”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna.
Iran Deal to Miss Fifth Deadline
Latest Sections Stories
Grieff-070315

In the face of evil, we can do acts of kindness. We can do good deeds.

Teens-Twenties-logo

I realized that I am an integral part of that man who wished to win – I am also a part of a nation; I felt like I was standing there and shouting, “I won.”

Teens-Twenties-logo

As I powerfully belted out the song, Ani Maamin B’emunah Sheleima – which means “I believe in God with full faith” – a thought suddenly crossed my mind.

Ganz-View-From-Window-logo

I do not suggest abandoning civilization for a pristine desert island or a hilltop in Judea or Samaria.

After diamonds were discovered in South Africa in the mid-1800s, Antwerp regained its prominence as the diamond capital of the world.

Search the Internet for innovative barbeque items and you might just be surprised at what you come across.

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

You’re not seeking perfection. You’re seeking a life that an average person can manage and feel good about. Don’t feel pressure to change everything at once.

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

In Culture Shock, readers will also come to identify with a culture from the other end of Orthodox Jewry’s spectrum.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Executive Function Disorder (EFD) have trouble keeping themselves organized and on-task.

Our Sages have told us exactly how we should act – and how our children should act – in Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers.

A second supposed difficulty actually becomes a reason to corroborate that Amestris is Esther.

I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
Juta Hartman

Her grandsons were eager to reveal their grandmother’s earlier frustration with the unfair, inaccurate narrative of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Belda Kaufman Lindenbaum

The visionary champion of women’s rights in Judaism was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother.

This belief was coupled with the spirit of “Am Yisrael HaShalem” (One United People), in the Ben Yehuda household: to love and help all Jews without distinction.

It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

This led to a shouting match between the judges and what could have been the end of the show.

In 1939, Chuchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration to Palestine uprooted Arabs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/shira-leibowitz-schmidt-multifaceted-scholar/2013/11/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: