I was born in Jerusalem in 1957. Everybody used to tell me that I’m going to grow up to be an engineer because I was constantly assembling and building things. Nowadays, I am reminded of that prediction when a client of mine tells me that she feels like I re-engineered her (the last time a client told me this, it was regarding a leg that needed to be better put together so it can support the rest of the body it was carrying).
When I was young, I was able to sense when someone who had an injury will feel better and how much it is going to hurt (maybe it’s because I was so prone to injury myself). It’s as if I was in-tune with nature’s healing process.
I was always physically active – I worked my body hard, but I didn’t know how to work it properly. I paid for this with a repetitive sprained back injury. I became an athlete at a young age – I practiced gymnastics and track and field (focusing on the long jump). I hurt my back irreversibly during a long jump by causing one of my vertebrae to move forward too far.
I quit track and field and gymnastics, but as I grew older and started high school I took up karate very intensively. This was a very special period in my life because of the karate group I was in and because of my instructor. His name was Dan Russell – he was a young English man who came to Israel to write his PhD thesis about the Bedouins. I don’t think he ever got to writing his thesis, but I do know that he developed from a green belt to a black belt very quickly. I remember having guest instructors from England who were ranked at the top of the discipline of Moshin Karate Do.
We had around 4 practices per week. Sometimes, we would go to a Zen instructor named Dokyusun. He was a real Zen monk who lived near Jerusalem, until he was called upon to head one of the major temples in the US and then to become the head all of their temples. Just like Dan Russell, Dokyusun had a great impact on me. They both demonstrated a different kind of personal development – something I hadn’t seen before. Watching Dokyusun (who was also a 9 Dan Kendo Karate master) speak – explaining, but mostly moving – existing within his body – was a spiritually satisfying experience that has stayed with me until this day.
I discovered the world of Healing at roughly the time I quit karate. I heard of a Healer named Dorothy from Avner, my Geography teacher and Vice Principal of my high school – The Jerusalem Gymnasium (high school). I don’t have any words of praise for my school at that period, but I’m grateful for the fact that I met Dorothy through the school. It all started with a fascinating story Avner used to tell about a Healer that helps all sorts of people. One of these stories was about how she helped his son that suffered from an incurable disease. He never mentioned that the kid in question was his son, but we all figured it out at some point. My teacher urged me to contact Avner and ask for a meeting with Dorothy – maybe she will be able to rid me from my sinusitis that made me miss so many school days. I did in fact meet with her (after getting my parents’ permission), and we maintained a long-lived relationship in which I would come to Ramat Hasharon once a week for therapy, meditation, or for sending out “absent healing”.
Many years before I got into healing with movement, I learnt that I channel energy through my body and towards the earth. It was a labor of love that I continued doing for years – even after Dorothy returned to Australia and after she passed away.
Sending healing to a person or a place has carved energy paths in my body. Later I learned how to teach people to allow for this flow of energy to exist in their own bodies as well.
Before I joined the military I heard of Yodfat, which was another significant element in my life. I heard about the place when I was a senior in high school from a guy who was a guest in our class. He told us about this place where people are trying to live a life that’s meaningful and not greedy. I was quite pleased that this place had already existed and that I didn’t have to invent it. I considered living there to be a calling, even more so than joining an elite unit in the military.
I was a good soldier, but I was sent to squad leader training camp by a group in the Arava. As fate would have it, I didn’t continue to become a squad leader because I tore some muscle tissue in my shoulder. This meant I could go back to Yodfat. I stayed there and worked the land for 7 years, the last two of which as a founder of the organic farming practice in Yodfat in 1982.
They say everything happens for a reason, and that one thing always leads to another. In Yodfat I became connected to the search for meaning and the deep investigation of its essence (largely through the work of Gurdjieff), and I also got acquainted with the Alexander Technique that I used to improve my lower back (that never got better since that long jump). The back got much better and I got trained by the best instructors: I would see Uri Eshet when he was teaching in Hamdaia, Rika in Haifa, and thanks to my then future wife, I went to London to learn with Mcdonald and Shoshana.
The Alexander Technique is very engrained in my method, but the principle method that I chose to work with was the Paula Method. I got acquainted with this method in Yodfat through a fellow farmer whose mother-in-law studied to become a teacher of the method. The change I observed in her body and freedom of movement was the factor that made me take this method up. After six months of weekly private lessons in Tel Aviv (I was still living in Yodfat) I decided to make the move to Tel Aviv so I get trained as a teacher in this method.
My teacher was Yoly (Yoelah Magnat) who was certified along with Aya and Noa to train new teachers. It was the first time that Paula trusted someone else to train teachers on her method. A year has passed and Yoly was afraid that Paula will not be true to her work and will not agree to certify me as a teacher. Yoly believed that I have a better chance of getting certified if I switched to study with Aya who had a different relationship with Paula (because Aya’s husband, Dr. Goldhammer, wrote the introduction to Paula’s book, which gave the book a stamp of approval from the medical community). Two more years of training have gone by – there was hardly any overlap between Aya and Yoly. I studied with two other female students, and I remember those as wonderful days of exercises and the most amazing physical experience.
At the end of this period we were all trainees at Paula’s clinic, which was yet another powerful experience. One of the most memorable experiences there was treating a little girl with brain injury and seeing the improvement in her.
Aya always hoped that with a little more practice my shoulder would fall into place (a tad more backwards), which would make me a model for Paula’s Method. Before I was able to use Paula’s Method to achieve that, I managed to reach that pinnacle through completely different means. More on that later…