Is The Feldenkrais Method a spiritual Practice, and was Moshe a spiritual man?
Presented by Robbie Ofir, Feldenkrais® Trainer, PhD PT
with Larry Goldfarb, teaching the “Prayer Lesson”
Moshe prided himself on searching and finding concrete answers to how things work, in particular human function. However, he drew in his talks on many aspects of spiritual teaching – from the Baal Shem Tov to Gurdjieff. Was it paradoxical or an elusively obvious process?
We’ll weave through the ambiguity of what we mean by Spiritual and try to clarify with movement, thinking, feeling and sensation the answer in the best we can to the question: “Was Moshe a spiritual man and is the Feldenkrais Method a spiritual practice?”
Robbie Ofir, Feldenkrais® Trainer, PhD PT
Early in 1992 the world acclaimed Brooklyn based spiritual leader of the Lubavitcher Hasidic worldwide community Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson sustained a severe stroke. Robbie was chosen to work with him, and so he did – on and off for more than a year.
Robbie was born and raised in Israel and served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces as a lieutenant where he met his future wife, Michele. They moved to the United States where after four grueling years as new immigrants Robbie was accepted to the Physical Therapy program at NYU while Michelle and Robbie raised their first two children. Upon receiving his B.Sc. Robbie started working at the famed Howard Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine of NYU and rapidly attained supervisor position – and their third child was born.
In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur war in Israel, at the request of the IDF Israel Dept. of Rehabilitation, Dr. Howard Rusk authorized Psychologist Professor Yehuda Ben Yishay to set up – in Israel, a research and rehabilitation treatment project for traumatically brain Injured Israeli veterans. YBY recruited Robbie into his team, and the Ofir family relocated for two years to Jerusalem after which the Ofir’s returned to the US and Robbie resumed his duties at the Rusk institute.
The Israeli experience led him to continue his studies which led him to the Feldenkrais Method® where he attended the training in Toronto. Robbie maintained a practice in rehab, earned a Ph.D. in Motor Learning from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, and would go on to achieve Feldenkrais® Trainer status, travel extensively throughout the United States, Japan and Israel teaching in Feldenkrais Professional Training Programs with Michele, who by then had become an Assistant Trainer.
Robbie and Michele worked steadily until 2008 when Michele was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and by 2012 Robbie ceased his work to devote the time caring for her.
We are so glad he is coming out of “retirement” to share his experiences and insights for this special event!