In a First, Woman to Be Featured as a Role Model in Israeli Religious-school Project

Nechama Leibowitz – a religious educator and the recipient of the Israel Prize for Education – will be the first woman to be at the center of the project since its inception in 2011

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Nechama Leibowitz
Nechama Leibowitz

Students in Israel's government-funded religious schools will for the first time learn about a female outstanding figure in the upcoming school year.

Since the launch of the initiative "Le'oram Nelech" (Following in Their Light), the religious education council chooses an outstanding figure to be at the focus of their school and kindergarten programs each year.

Nechama Leibowitz (1905-1997) – a religious educator and the recipient of the Israel Prize for Education – will be the first woman to be at the center of the project since its inception in 2011.

Leibowitz was a renowned bible scholar who issued weekly Torah Portion readings focusing on traditional interpretations of the selected verses. In 1956, she was awarded the Israel Prize for Education for her initiative. She was the sister of Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz.

Girls walk in the courtyard of a religious school in Gedera.Credit: Ilan Assayag

Following public criticism of the council's selection of only men, couples began to be featured as well – such has Rabbi Yosef Kapah and his wife Bracha, and Rabbi Shlomo Goren and his wife Tzfia – though up until now, not a single woman has been selected on her own merits.

Some of the men previously chosen include Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the founder of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and the spiritual father of the Gush Emunim settler movement, and Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, an Israel Prize laureate and a vehement opponent of evacuating Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

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