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Mens, M. van der Spek, M. (2020). Elisha Davar: 30 August 1949 (Jerusalem)-18 June 2018 (Amsterdam). Organ. Soc. Dyn., 20(1):125-126.

(2020). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 20(1):125-126


Elisha Davar: 30 August 1949 (Jerusalem)-18 June 2018 (Amsterdam)

Martha Mens and Martijn van der Spek

It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.

Donald Winnicott

“In transition” was the title of a seminar in memory of Elisha Davar, that we held last November. In this obituary we try to put into words an impression of Elisha's work and impact. It feels like quite an impossible task to catch a person in a few words, especially when it is Elisha; containing so much diversity. Therefore, we give an account of our relatedness with him, which hopefully resonates with yours.

Elisha loved Winnicott's writings and especially his thinking about transitional phenomena. The concepts took a central place in Elisha's work. You can find an example of this elsewhere in this volume, in his posthumously published article “On teaching Winnicott: the charms and challenges of Winnicott's concepts”. Also, Elisha described the end of his life and the process of dying as “being in transition,” with confidence in the unknown.

Transition always contains different sides, the mother and the baby, the internal and the external, playing and reality. This is also the case when thinking of Elisha and writing this obituary; we mourn losing him and at the same time are very grateful for his friendship and impact.

Elisha was born in 1949 in Jerusalem, grew up in South Africa, and studied and trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic in London.

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