Samuel Gershon’s comment

Barry Blackwell: Joel Elkes: An Integrative Life

Samuel Gershon’s comment

I read Barry Blackwell’s biography of Joel Elkes and Ross Baldessarini’s comments and agree with them fully. I also want to stress the points made by both authors that Joel was somewhat frustrated by his experiences in the States. He came bursting with enthusiasm. His position in England permitted him to develop project with greater freedom and intellectual support but without the necessary financial resources.

I met him many times in the States and several times in Israel. He, together with Seymour Kety, exerted the major role of transforming Israeli Psychiatry from the old European and psychoanalytic emphasis. Here in this arena he was welcomed and appreciated.  He also raised funds in the U.S. for a Biological Research Foundation in Israel. He also had the advantage of speaking perfect Hebrew. He was an example of someone who really would have had a greater impact in Israel than he could achieve in the States. This is not to diminish his contributions in the States, but he and his influence would have grown and multiplied more fruitfully there. 

He was a person of great warmth and generosity and was ready to help individuals and groups in any way he could. In short, he must be considered a great man and great scientist and was eager to give in a climate here that was not ready to receive.


Samuel Gershon
March 17, 2016