Benjamin Zemach & Moshe Feldenkrais

moshe feldenkrais Nov 21, 2022
David Zemach-Bersin, Feldenkrais Trainer, Feldenkrais Access Founder

Some of you may know that Zemach became part of my surname when my wife, Kaethe, and I joined our last names. Kaethe's grandfather, Benjamin Zemach, was a dancer, actor, and early member of the Habima Theater company in Russia and Poland. Benjamin and his wife, Elizabeth, lived in New York and California before immigrating to Israel in the 1970s. Benjamin knew Moshe Feldenkrais well; they often shared Friday-night dinners together, and Benjamin attended the weekly ATM class for performing artists that Moshe taught at Habima for many years.

Last week, Kaethe was going through some papers and found a letter from her grandmother, Elizabeth, in which she refers to receiving FI lessons from Moshe. She says, "My back is much better, and if I can get the knack of riding these buses without slipping more discs, I'll be sailing pretty. Feldenkrais is quite exceptional, but also like a child who has made a discovery and doesn't quite believe it." This reminded me of a letter from 1950 that I once read, from Moshe to his close friend Noa Eshkol (a choreographer and co-creator of the Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation system) in which he described his new ideas as "my obsession."

The Feldenkrais Method seems to grip some of us that way: profoundly and with urgency. For me, it's always been an intellectual imperative to understand Moshe's ideas and a moral imperative to share those understandings. Shouldn't all humans know that their brain works the way it does? Shouldn't everyone know that their brain can be engaged whenever they like and the conditions created for new learning to be activated?


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