“She will dance at her wedding”: Healing the girl born without part of her brain

The origin of Moshe Feldenkrais’ therapeutic method reads more like a spy thriller than a neuroscience textbook

Excerpted from The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries From the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity

Origins of the Feldenkrais Method®

When Moshe Feldenkrais was fourteen, after years of Jews being attacked in anti-Semitic Russian pogroms, he set out alone to walk from Belarus to Palestine. A pistol in his boot, a math text in his sack, and with no official documents or papers, he crossed marshes and endured temperatures of 40 degrees below as he traversed the Russian frontier in the winter of 1918–19. As he walked from village to village, other Jewish children, intrigued, joined him. At one point, to survive, they joined a traveling circus, where the acrobats taught Moshe tumbling and how to fall safely—skills he would one day perfect with his judo. By the time he reached Cracow, fifty children had joined the much-admired boy on his way to Palestine, then more, until over two hundred young people were following him. Eventually, adults joined his children’s march through central Europe to Italy and the Adriatic, where they boarded a boat. It arrived in Palestine in 1919, in late summer.

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