The Elly D. Friedmann Professional Contribution Award – A Tribute to Passionate Enthusiasm and Inspiration

The Elly D. Friedmann Professional Contribution Award was established in 1989 by Dr. Gudrun Doll-Tepper, Professor, Free University, Berlin, in memory of her close friend and colleague Dr. Elly D. Friedmann, Founder and Director of the State Teachers College of Physical Education at Beer-Sheva, Israel. Elly Friedmann’s early life was spent in Berlin, Heidelberg, and Basle, where she studied philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy as well as physical education and dance. She received her PhD degree magna sum laude from University of Basle, Switzerland, in 1934 and shortly thereafter immigrated to Israel.

Dr. Friedmann’s early and abiding interest lay in systems and approaches to movement that stressed the integrated relationship of mind, body, and soul. Influenced greatly by Rudolf Laban, she introduced Modem Educational Gymnastics and Dance into the Israeli school system and became the world’s leading researcher on movement education as a means of rehabilitating and integrating culturally deprived children.

Dr. Friedmann published frequently in English, Hebrew, and German but her best known book is entitled, Rudolf Laban, Frederic M. Alexander, Moshe Feldenkrais-Pioneers of Awareness Through Movement Experience: Three Essays. The work of these pioneers encompassed yoga, zen, Tai-Chi, other arts of the Far East, Greek philosophy, and Gestalt psychology. Elly Friedmann extended these ideas to pedagogy, didactics, and teacher training, thereby broadening our perspectives in both regular and adapted physical education.

According to her husband Ernst, Elly’s life and contributions are reflected in her favorite quotation from Plato: “We don’t educate through knowledge alone, but through passionate enthusiasm and inspiration as possessed… only one passionately possessed can light the flame and produce a long line of possessed…”

The Elly D. Friedmann Young Professional Awards were created in 1992 by Dr. Claudine Sherrill, Dr. Karen DePauw, and Dr. Gudrun Doll-Tepper to encourage the development of passionate enthusiasm and inspiration in young adapted physical educators and to help produce a long line of possessed… The Elly D. Friedmann awards have been generously supported by her husband, who passed away in April, 1993, and their son Dr. Raffi Amit.


1991   Dr. Claudine Sherrill, USA

1993   Dr. Ernst J. Kiphard, Germany

1995   Inge Morisbak, Norway

1997   Dr. Julian U. Stein, USA

1999   Dr. Atara  Sherman, Israel

2001   Dr. Kurt-Alphons Jochheim, Germany

2003   Dr. K. Yabe & Dr Y. J. Hong, Japan and Korea

2005   Josef Lev, Israel

2007   Dr. Herman Van Coppenolle, Belgium

2009   Dr. Hana Valkova, Czech Republic

2011   Dr. Hideo Nakata, Japan

2013   Dr. Karen DePauw, USA

2015   Dr. Greg Reid, Canada

2017   Dr Yeshayahu Hutzler, Israel

2019   Dr Pauli Rintala, Finland