Mourning the Death of Prof. Eliezer Schweid (z”l)

We mourn the passing of Professor Eliezer Schweid (z”l), a pre-eminent scholar, lecturer, and educator. Professor Schweid received an honorary Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree from JTS in 1997. Here is the citation given to Professor Schweid:

“Pre-eminent scholar, lecturer, and educator, in exemplary works which span over four decades you have transformed our understanding of Jewish thought by elucidating the central themes that engage our philosophers, theologians, and thinkers. Your keen mind and analytical skills have enabled us to appreciate more profoundly our people’s intellectual and spiritual genius as it evolved over the span of our history.

Born and raised in Jerusalem, your parents, Zvi Yisrael and Osnat, imbued you with a passionate love for Eretz Yisrael, the Hebrew language and literature, and the Jewish people and its culture. During the War of Independence you served in the Palmah and afterwards became a founding member of Kibbutz Tzorah. Your devotion to learning led you to the Hebrew University from which you received your academic degrees and whose faculty you have graced for more than thirty years. In 1982 you were designated the John and Golda Cohen Professor of Jewish Philosophy. You have taught at Stanford University, the Oxford Centre for Hebrew Studies, Yale University, and at our Bet Midrash in Jerusalem, whose curriculum you helped devise and on whose Academic Advisory Board you serve.

Your numerous monographs and scholarly and popular papers, which reflect meticulous research and fresh and substantive insights, are consistently presented in well-crafted, cogent and coherent formulations. Your abiding concern that the uniquely Jewish and democratic character of contemporary Israel be maintained has made you a vital participant in several critical government commissions and panels. Fervently trusting that educators rooted in authentic humanistic and Jewish traditions can reshape Israel’s future, you founded and taught at the Kerem Institute for Teacher Training. In 1994, in recognition of your stellar achievements, the State of Israel awarded you its highest honor – Pras Yisrael, the Israel Prize. We note with admiration that together with your wife, Sabina, you have made your home into a beit va’ad la-hakhamim, where people of diverse ages, backgrounds, walks of life and political positions share views and visions.

We stand in awe of your magnificent contributions to the community of learning and to Am Yisrael.”