A moment of intimacy at the Buenos Aires IPA Congress, 2017


Several dozen colleagues came to celebrate the launch of the Festschrift dedicated to the life and work of Shmuel Erlich on the occasion of his 80 birthday, edited and presented by Mira Erlich-Ginor.

Shmuel Erlich has been involved for the past 30 years in a variety of roles in his society, the Israel Psychoanalytic Society, as well as in the EPF and IPA.

Among other roles, he served as IPA Board Representative for 4 terms, chaired the IPA Education and Oversight Committee that formulated and passed the 3 Models of psychoanalytic training. He now chairs the IPA Committee on Institutional Issues.

His dedication, creativity and courage were at the center of the warm words said to and about him.

Here are a few excerpts from the speakers at the book launch: Mira Erlich-Ginor, Marilia Aisentsein Avarof, Claudio Eizerik, and Joshua Durban. Watch the video presentation by Shmuel Erlich.


Mira Erlich-Ginor:

In the Jewish script of “Pirkey Avot”, The Ethics of the Fathers, there is a passage about the life cycle of a person: “Sixty for sagacity, seventy for elderliness, eighty for “gvuroth”, meaning strength and/or courage. This is your hero time of courage and strength. It is a cause for celebration, to look back and to look forward with satisfaction: to accept who you are, what you are, and where you are. We would call it “well analyzed”, or arriving to this age in good shape.

The title of the book: “Not Knowing, Knowing, Not knowing” is Shmuel’s idiom.

After coming up with this title, I read a reference that confirmed it: "But now, my unknowing is perceived as valuable, as a guarantee for authenticity and subjective truthfulness. This unknowing protects me from futile repetitiveness that does not ask itself what it is attempting to say at each moment and with each word… In my internal dialogue with my own knowing and unknowing, I have touched my most internal, personal boundaries. In fact, I have touched the Other inside me" (S. Erlich, 2001).   



Marilia Aisenstein:

“……Shmuel and I had immediately (on the Board) a very frank exchange and from this very minute we became good friends. We worked a lot together, on the Board, on Task Forces, on education matters and on many topics, within the EPF the IPA. We generally share the same values ideas. We deeply trust each other. Those long-lasting, profound friendships are so worthy and crucial in one’s life that I feel that even alone, far away, I am never in loneliness. Be thanked for this”.


Watch video presentation from Claudio Eizerik:

The achievements of Shmuel, both scientific and institutional, speak for themselves. Let me say some personal remarks: The first time I met Shmuel at a conference on psychoanalysis and the university, I saw this man, I looked at him, and it was love at first sight. I knew nothing, but felt something so familiar. He reminded me  of my Polish Jewish family. When we began to talk, I discovered an extremely  interesting, intelligent, agreeable person. Nice conversations, Jewish jokes. Later we found ourselves as members of the Board, at a crucial time, discussing the educational models. I had to choose the person to chair the Education Committee, it was clear that Shmuel is the guy, that he is the right person: strict, organized, conservative, with strength and wisdom. Shmuel’s response was, “You don’t know me enough,” so I knew I was right.

We are celebrating not only Shmuel but a loving relationship.

Being in Berlin, in Beijing, in Buenos Aires, these are examples of true application of psychoanalytic thinking.


 Watch video presentation from Joshua Durban speaking of the Israeli perspective of what Shmuel represents:
First of all, a masterful clinician, sharp and direct apprehensions of the emotional and mental truth. I am one of your “analytic children”, you were a very beloved supervisor/ mentor. Before coming here, I did a I little survey in our society: what is Shmuel Erlich for you, no matter the psychoanalytic orientation, and people’s reaction was that Shmuel is the father figure of Israeli psychoanalysis, and what a Father!  80 and 18 at the same times: fun loving, curious, wise, generous, always with his hands on a new gadget, new development, new idea.

Israeli psychoanalysis is alive and kicking, very popular, part of the community, part of everyday life. You had a very significant role in enabling all this.


About the book, Virginia Ungar writes:

"This celebration of the life and work of Shmuel Erlich invites us to get to know him. This collective gift takes us on a compelling psychoanalytic journey that covers great distances.

Reading it also entails putting into practice Shmuel Erlich’s suggestion that when we embark on the road to knowledge, we should maintain a tension between knowing and not-knowing. A position consistent with contemporary philosophical tendency to restore the notion of ignorance to its true value. We must rid ourselves of a knowledge that may prevent us from coming into contact with the essence of things.

Shmuel Erlich’s devotion to psychoanalysis, along with his amazing capacity for work and great mental acuity, provides an incentive and an example for those of us who are lucky to work with him".