Some biographical notes

with no ambition to cover it all

Yochanan Rywerant was born in Bucharest, Romania November 7 1922

I have made an attempt to give a broader picture of his biography.

In that I have a big limitation - I got to know Yochanan Rywerant in 1988 - at 66 years of age. I don't have access to his vast library or friends from before. His widow isolates herself from the Feldenkrais community.

Yona Postel was close to him, lived close, organized all his basic trainnings, TT and advanced trainings in Tel Aviv.
In this project, she has been and is an invaluable support

1 A

From Romania to Israel

1 B

Meeting Moshe Feldenkrais


A broad sphere of interests

2 A


2 B

Didactics & Meta teaching

2 C


2 D


2 E


2 F

Jewish Studies


There is a difference that makes a difference

§ 1

Later he moved to Czernowitz and began his studies at the University of Czernowitz in 1939.

He chose to study mathematics. He was musical and has been playing the violin for eight years, yet he was drawn to science. In 1941 the Second World War brutally changed his life path, and he was deported to Transnistria together with his mother. He survived in Mogilev and worked at the Jagendorf Foundry.

Czernowitz during the war

Read about the Jagendorf Foundry

He survived the hard labor and the war.

As many survivors he wanted to go to Palestine then under the British mandate. He attempted to immigrate illegally by boat but ended up in Cyprus. This is 1947 He spend 6 months in Cyprus until a successful escape in 1948. He served in the Defense force and after the war of returned to his interrupted studies now at The Hebrew university in Jerusalem. His subjects Mathematics and Physics.

In 1952 he moved to The Tel Aviv area and began teaching in a gymnasium in Givatayim, a suburb to Tel Aviv.
The same year he married the pianist and composer Yardena Alotin (1930 -1994).
The couple had no children.

She accompanied him while teaching abroad and was also filming lessons and the first training as well as some advanced.

When widowed he remarried Berta Rywerant, also a violinist as himself.

He died May 20 2010 and is buried in the cementary in Tel Aviv


Moshe Feldenkrais returned from London in December 1951 and continued developing his system further. The teaching  he called Improving the ability.

He gathered people with interest in the arts and performance but also science. Yochanan Rywerant began in 1952

In 1969 MF collected 13 people from the group setting and invited them to his office at Nachmani street 21 in order to teach what became FI. The met every day around an hour a day, 6 days a week for 10 months. They finished in 1971.

"He worked 13 1/2 years within close quarters in the same room in which I worked”
Moshe Feldenkrais

Early on in the training he was invited to work together with Moshe Feldenkrais at his office at Nachamani Street 21 in Tel Aviv. Before him was Mia Segal, who was the first assistant.

He continued to assist MF when MF began teaching in USA and also in the SF training 1975-1977 and also later in the interrupted training in Amherst starting summer 1980.

Thomas Hanna invited MF to teach in SF and it was TH who encouraged YR to write the book about FI. In 1986 YR was invited to teach in Stockholm.

Teaching, meta teaching and meta meta teaching

§ 2

A broad sphere of interests

The image precedes the action

Yochanan Rywerant


He naturally shared his interests in music with his first wife, Yardena Alotin. Yochanan was a skilled singer and sang for many years with the Rinat choir.

There are several videos of both the chorus and the compositions by Yardena Alotin

You can see YR in the back row, second to the left

(left is from behind)

I have chosen this composition to stress the fact that they shared an interest of learning skill and performance.

He was teaching form in order to give his students the freedom of improvisation.

Didactics & Meta teaching

YR had an interest in didactics

First, he was a teacher by profession. In the two subjects, mathematics, and physics very close to the foundation of the Feldenkrais system. One of his influencers was George Pólya, the mathematician who dealt with heuristics and systematic methods of problem-solving. How do you teach people to think by themselves?
How to solve it by George Polya

What is the difference between didactics and pedagogy?

"While didactics is a discipline that is essentially concerned with the science of teaching and instruction for any given field of study, pedagogy is focused more specifically on the strategies, methods and various techniques associated with teaching and instruction."


He had an extensive interest in science in everything that had to do with FK and especially neuroscience.

This article from Scientific American was a hand- out at his TT trainings. It is a first scientific measueremnt  how the image precedes the action  
Lassen et al 
(The article is part of the recommended reading in Teaching by handling. It used to be free of charge!)
Another scientist he recommended to study is Walter J Freeman How Brains Make Up Their Minds

His view of psychology

Feldenkrais is to be understood as an indirect way of delaing with the emotional self. There are many approaches. Yochanan Rywerant was interested in Transactional Analysis as developed by Eric Berne.


He studied graphology in an organized way, it became more than a hobby.

Jewish Studies

He had a traditional Jewish education and was well versed in the texts despite not being religious. It was obvious to him to understand Moshe Feldenkrais' Jewish references in the two Hebrew books he wrote/translated as well as in his many lectures and comments.

Autosuggestion was published as early as 1929. It is not far-fetched that Yochanan Rywerant read it early - he started ATM 15 years before the book on ATM, Improving the Ability, a theory which can be put into practice was published in February 1967.
Of course, he read the ATM book in the original language. He maintained that the book contained the basics of Feldenkrais' approach and theory building.

I have done some translations from the original Hebrew, and I believe that the English translation has such flaws that misunderstandings can arise.

§ 3

There is a difference that makes a difference

Moshe Feldenkrais often refers to Jewish religious concepts in a secular way. They get lost in translation if the translator doesn't put in the effort. This was of course self-evident to Yochanan Rywerant and were an integral part of his thinking and teaching. 

His teaching is an unique blend of the written, the oral and the handling

N’shma v’naaseh

by Eva Laser

Clarifications of the original text in the ATM book

The image precedes the action

by Eva Laser

References to the two chapters in Autosuggestion informerar kring feldenkrais i allmänhet och verksamheten på Feldenkrais Skolan i synnerhet. 

Hemsidan ger läsaren en möjlighet att bekanta sig med teorin bakom feldenkrais,
väcka nyfikenhet och förmedla
allvar och möjligheter.

Eva Laser

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