Judith Elkan: Obituary
Judith Elkan, Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychotherapist died peacefully on 24th February at the age of 92.
A bpf member, she trained at the Tavistock Clinic and worked with children and adults and specialised also in infant observation. She later visited Israel and taught baby observation in Israeli health centres, emphasising the benefits of focusing on the babies’ emotional, psychological and social surroundings and their relationships with caregivers She also worked with Palestinian doctors. Having come from a Syrian and then Israeli background, she had the facility to speak both Arabic and Hebrew.
Later, she helped to formulate the Jewish Psychotherapy Organisation ‘Link’, where the focus was on the inherited trauma of children of the 2nd generation of Holocaust survivors – who had grown up with limited knowledge and discussion of the psychological implication on them of the Holocaust.
Judy was a fantastic listener and gave very wise advice. She had a knack for not only seeing the best in people, but also helping them to see the best in themselves and thereby gain confidence and feel better.
Judy was a peacemaker. Through her therapeutic work, she helped people make peace with themselves. But Judy was also a peacemaker through her life-long dedication to dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Through her vision, the UK Friends of the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum (FBFF) was established. She was its founding Chair until her death and showed remarkable tenacity and courage as she steered the organisation through choppy waters.
She earned the admiration and deep love of all who worked with her, for her patience and for always trying to find a way forward. FBFF raised large sums of money and awareness of the reconciliation work of the Bereaved Families Forum thanks to her leadership.
Those who were lucky to have Judy in their lives will miss her noble soul, warmth, and her unassuming and enthusiastic approach to the good things in life, like nature, art, cooking, Jewish tradition, poetry, and above all – people.
She will be very sadly missed by all who knew her.
By Jackie Gerrard