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Nechama Leibowitz (Hebrew: נחמה ליבוביץ׳‎) (19051997) was a noted Israeli Bible scholar and commentator who rekindled interest in Bible study.

Biography

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.

Study sheets

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.[2] 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 into five books, one for each book of the Torah.

Teaching style

When asked to describe her methods she replied, "I have no derech... I only teach what the commentaries say. Nothing is my own. [3] 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.

Awards

* In 1956, Leibowitz was awarded the Israel Prize in education , for her work in furthering understanding and appreciation of the Bible.
* In 1983, she was a co-recipient (jointly with Ephraim Elimelech Urbach) of the Bialik Prize for Jewish thought.

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