Shmuel Erlich, A Letter from Jerusalem

The “Letter from Jerusalem” is part of a series initiated by the International Journal of Psychoanalysis of letters from various psychoanalytic societies around the world, describing and characterizing each of them.

Shmuel Erlich describes a growing, lively and creative society, whose many contributions are noteworthy both in Israel and in various international forums. At the same time, in recent years the society is characterized by deep theoretical divergences.

He describes the waves of psychoanalytic schools that influenced the society, and claims that just as the Israeli society in general became more diversified, so did the psychoanalytic society.

“Depending very much on one's point of view, the atmosphere within the Society could be described as an enriching diversity of opinions and approaches, or as hopeless schisms between equally fundamentalist views of the nature of man and of psychoanalysis”.

He touches on many of the important developments in the last 20 years: the lengthy discussion on the issue of training analyst and its resolution; the difficulty in evaluating the candidates; the existence of various theoretical sub-groups; the IPS in the changing demographic context of Israel, and the founding of the Tel-Aviv Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. 

He mentions internal debates about the role of the IPS vis-a-vis the Israeli society, and such questions as: Can we, as a professional society, have a political say about the events, and the limits we must impose on ourselves when representing the psychoanalytic society.