In Memory of Judith Magidov

Article added October 28, 2005

<strong>Judith Magidov: 1933- 2005</strong>

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JUDITH MAGIDOV died on the 8th of September 2005, at her home in Zichron Yaacov, Israel, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Until Judith Magidov left London for treatment in Israel about 3 years ago, she was teacher and co-director with Misha at the North London Alexander Teachers Training Course.

Judith was born on the 16th July 1933, in Belgium. When the Nazis arrived, she fled with her family to the South of France, hiding in convents and various other locations. Always on the run, this was a precarious time. And in 1944 her parents were caught and sent to their deaths in Auschwitz. At the end of the war, her uncle somehow found her and sent her, together with her brother and sister to Israel. She settled on the kibbutz, Ayelet Hashahar. During her last year of school she met Misha, and they married in 1954 and had two children Roni and Avi.

In 1962 they traveled to London where Misha did his Alexander training with Patrick Macdonald. In 1978, Judith began her Alexander training with Shmuel Nelkin in Jerusalem. Her training was cut short after a year and a half, when they returned to London, and Misha opened up his own training school in North London. Judith then embarked on a full three-year training at Misha’s new school. After a few years of private teaching, she became an assistant teacher trainer with Misha at the North London School. She remained a trainer on the course until 2001 when she returned to Israel for intensive treatment for her cancer. Misha later followed her to Israel to be with her and support her in her battle. He cared for her and looked after her until the last.

But, as they say, behind every great man there is a woman. Very much in the background, she was a source of stability and calm throughout the training. Misha very much relied on her strength and influence. It really was Judith who organized the running of the school, and organized Misha! Over many years she welcomed numerous students into the training and was always on hand to offer warmth and kindness. Misha invited me to be a trainer in his school in 1990, and for 11 years, Judith was a constant support and companion in my training career.

Judith had an open home policy, and we always felt part of the family when we were invited into their home in Golders Green for tea and cake or wonderful food. This extended family has branches all over the world. Misha and Judith were very much like the father and mother of the school who provided a safe space where our best learning could take place.

Judith bore her illness with incredible dignity and courage. Her thoughts and concerns were always for others. She was not one for complaining about her struggles. She remained a devoted wife and mother, and was an inspiration for all her family and friends. Maybe some of her spiritual strengths had been developed over many years of learning and practice. For many years, Judith studied with the renowned Sufi teacher Miss Tweedy, and she was also a member of various Gurdjieff groups. A year ago, she was clearing out her home in Golders Green, and she gave me a number of her books. They included titles by Gurdjieff, Miss Tweedy, Meister Eckhart, Krishnamurti and other philosophical books. She was always seeking philosophical and spiritual understanding. But, her feet were very firmly on the ground and she emanated a practical wisdom, maturity and serenity.

I managed to see Judith just days before she died. She was not able to speak, and barely opened her eyes. A few days later, I got a call from Misha that she had died, and the funeral would take place that afternoon. I was with Shmuel Nelkin and his wife Ora in the Jerusalem training school. We all drove up together with another Alexander teacher, Yael Tam to pay our respects. We were joined by a large number of family, friends and colleagues. Misha gave a small speech straight from his broken heart, and a number of other people also gave some words at the graveside.

During the Jewish week of mourning, the “shiva”, Misha said, “The two most important things in my life are Judith and the Alexander Technique.” Judith will be very missed not just by her family, but also by many in the Alexander community. She will be remembered by us all for her many lovely qualities. We all send our condolences to Misha, Roni and Avi.

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