Henry Abramovitch: Memories of Phyllis Palgi

Phyllis was not the founder of the Dept of Behavioral Science, or as it is now more properly called, Dept of Medical Education, but she was for so many years the torchbearer of its vision and its fundamental project to make sure that doctors were not technocrat dispensers of medicine but above all a caring, decent mensch.

 Phyllis came from a medical family in Capetown and speaking with doctors came naturally to her and in a way she was a virtual physician teaching doctors to remember to also be healers of souls.

 We had met via the Israel Anthropological Association of which she had been President, as in so many things a pioneer and role model for generations of woman anthropologists and academics. There was something sympatico between us, a common language, a symbolic form and perhaps because of this she asked me to join the department in 1981 and to my deepest satisfaction and joy I have remained here ever since. Having found a home, which Phyllis welcomed me into. I was deeply unprepared, but with Phyllis, talking and teaching together, and above all learning from my students as she always did, I became more than good enough, I understood that without Phyllis, nothing would never have happened.

Read the eulogy here