Leibowitz (Hebrew: נחמה ליבוביץ׳)
(1905–1997) 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 Berlin 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.
Nechama Leibowitz Books
She married her uncle, Yedidya Lipman Leibowitz. They had no children.
In 1942, Leibowitz began mailing out stencils of questions on the
weekly Torah reading to anyone who requested them. These worksheets,
which she called gilyonot (pages) would be sent back to her, and
she would personally review them and return them with corrections
and comments. They became very popular and in demand by people
from all sectors of Israeli society. In 1954, Leibowitz began publishing
her "Studies", which included many of the questions that
appeared on her study sheets, along with selected traditional commentaries
and her own notes on them. Over time, these studies were collected
five books, one for each book of the Torah.
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.
* In 1956, Leibowitz was awarded the Israel Prize in education ,
for her work in furthering understanding and appreciation of the
* In 1983, she was a co-recipient (jointly with Ephraim Elimelech
Urbach) of the Bialik Prize for Jewish thought.
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