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To Study and to Teach

The Methodology of Nechama Leibowitz

By Shmuel Peerless

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Nechama Leibowitz has become widely recognized as one of the most influential Torah scholars of the 20th century. For approximately thirty years, Nechama published gilyonot (study sheets) on the weekly Torah portion, which she distributed to students throughout the world. In these gilyonot, Nechama presented selections from the Torah text and accompanying commentaries along with probing questions designed to guide the readers through a textual analysis that would deepen their understanding of the passage.

Over the years, literally thousands of individuals studied in Nechama's enlightening classes and used her gilyonot to guide their Torah study. Among these devoted students were a large number of teachers of Torah in both Israel and the Diaspora. Nechama was the teachers' teacher, and her insights on methodology have been utilized by educators throughout the world.

In this work, Shmuel Peerless, one of Nechama's students, systematically presents Nechama's unique approach to Torah instruction, organizing some of her methodological teachings and pedagogical techniques in a manner that makes them easily accessible to teachers and students of textual study alike. The information provided in this work is collected and extrapolated from Nechama's lectures, published writings and gilyonot. It is a treasure that will help to preserve Nechama the teacher, the scholar and the personality as an inspiration for future generations of teachers and students.

Rabbi Shmuel Peerless is the Director of the Center for Jewish School Leadership at Bar-Ilan University's Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora. Previously, he served as the educational director of the Hillel Academy of Dayton, Ohio and the Hebrew Academy of Montreal, and was the director of the World Council for Torah Education. He studied with Nechama Leibowitz for several years and co-authored Studies on the Haggadah from the Teachings of Nechama Leibowitz and an expanded edition in Hebrew called Haggadat Nechama: Iyunim B'Haggadah shel pesach al pi hagilyonot v'hashiurim shel Nechama Leibovitz.

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