Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yiddishkeit: Nechama Leibowitz

Nechama Leibowitz (1905 - April 1997‎) was a noted Israeli Bible scholar and commentator who rekindled interest in Bible study.
 Nechama Leibowitz was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Riga two years after her elder brother, the philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The family moved to Berlin in 1919. In 1930, Leibowitz received a doctorate from the University of Marburg for her thesis, Techniques in the Translations of German-Jewish Biblical Translations. That same year 1930, she immigrated to Mandate Palestine. 
She taught at a religious Zionist teachers' seminar for the next twenty-five years. In 1957 she began lecturing at Tel Aviv University, and became a full professor eleven years later. She also gave classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other educational institutions around the country. In addition to her writings, Leibowitz commented on the Torah readings regularly for the Voice of Israel radio station.
 When asked to describe her methods she replied, "I have no derech... I only teach what the commentaries say. Nothing is my own.” She was noted for her modest demeanor coupled with wry wit, and always preferred the title of "teacher" over the more prestigious "professor." In accordance with her request, "מורה" (morah, "teacher") is the only word inscribed on her tombstone. Of course, Ms Leibowitz always wore a beret.

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