Stein, Prof. Ruth

Stein, Prof. Ruth

A letter from Ruth’s Husband
I am writing about my wife, Ruth Stein.  Of course I’m her husband but there
are many people who would agree with me that the combination of beauty,
intelligence, industry, and charm that marked her is rare indeed.  What I
have observed for years is the way people could not quite put together her
theoretical fireworks and her sweet accepting personality, as if the
existence of the one somehow denied the equally undeniable existence of the
other. Her passing is a generational loss to psychoanalysis.

I know there are many rumors flying about, so here is the tragic sequence of
events according to my conversations with several witnesses.. Ruth was at
the conference of the American Psychoanalytic Association at the Waldorf
Astoria.  In the morning she received the JAPA prize for her article on “The
Otherness of Sexuality: Excess.” Later, in the evening, there was a panel
given by Howard Levine, responded to by Peter Goldberg.  At the end of the
session Ruth asked a question, described by more than one participant as a
“billiant” comment showing her characteristic “vibrant” presence.

As she was about to make the comment she found that the microphone was not
working, and so she had to run up to the front of the room.  After speaking
in a cogent and condensed fashion,  she returned to her seat, the session
was over, and people were milling around.  Someone noticed that Ruth wasn’t
getting up; she was slumped in her seat.

She was approached by a couple of people, spoke, and was heard to say: “I
have a headache” and “please help me.”  (So poignant, that; I think of how,
after a day of dealing with difficult patients, writing difficult prose,
and, perhaps, working on the designs and implementations of our new
apartment, she would plead, “think with me,” as if to say, I do so much but
I can’t do everything.)  Then someone called for the MDs in the audience and
there were several, one who I spoke to said he knew the situation was very
grave because instead of going in and out of consciousness she seemed to
move steadily deeper into unconsciousness.  Very soon both the fire
department and an ambulance appeared and Ruth was taken to the ER at
Bellevue with its outstanding stroke unit.

From there, I can be the witness. Having heard conflicting stories on the
phone, I walked into the ER and didn’t like the way Ruth looked at all.  Her
mouth was taped up and she was in a very deep unconscious state.  The
doctors looked at the catscan and came into me, a young pleasant-looking one
said, “unfortunately she bled into the brain, destroying many of the cells,
causing irreversible damage; she is brain-dead.” Just like that.  I don’t
blame him in retrospect, he didn’t want me to misunderstand, but I went a
little hysterical, insisting he was a “nightmare,” that “didn’t really
exist,” and waited for him to “disappear.”  He watched me sympathetically; I
guess they expect something like that.

Since then I’ve spent many hours next to my beautiful heart, who is still
breathing, and I have a lot of decisions to make.  I will make them
according to the values of a great humanist who was no sentimentalist.

Gavriel Reisner, PhD 212-452-3431  917-597-5148
A letter from Jean Laplanche

Chers amis,
c’est en effet un bien triste accident qui nous frappe tous en la personne de Ruth. Sa personnalité faisait d’elle un élément créatif, apportant toujours sa marque impossible à méconnaître dans chaque discussion où elle s’engageait toujours avec fougue.Personnellement, c’est bien plus qu’une “adhérente” à certaines de mes idées que je perds, mais une discutante ferme et convaincue. J’espérais bien la revoir en juillet lors d’une réunion que nos organisons entre amis. Je n’oublierai pas sa présence attentive,à la fois personnelle et intellectuelle, et lui suis intimement reconnaissant d’ avoir témoigné, auprès du public  israëlien et amèricain, des convictions que nous avions en commun.
That is  a terrible accident which strikes us in the person of Ruth.Her personality made of her a creative element ,bringing always with her very personal stamp  in every discussion where she involved herself always with passion. From my personal point of view, I loose much more than a ‘supporter’ . I loose a firm and convinced discussant.I hoped to see her again in July at one of our meetings we are organizing with other friends.I will  never  forget her attentive presence, together personal and intellectual, and I  thank her deeply for having testified  of our common convictions, in Israel and in the States.

Here is the notice of Ruth’s passing that we will be running in IJP:
Ruth Stein, a member of IJP’s North American Editorial Board since 2007, died suddenly in January, 2010. Ruth was an analyst and a scholar whose interests and experience were truly international, bridging diverse cultures as well as a number of  theoretical  traditions. Her vitality and her sparkling, challenging presence enlivened the Board’s deliberations; she will be deeply missed.
Jay Greenberg
Aux membres du Bureau de la SPP
Aux membres des Comités du CPLF 2010

Chers amis,

Nous apprenons par la Présidence de la SPI et par son conjoint, Gavriel Reisner, le décès subit de Ruth Stein, le 17 Janvier 2010.

Elle fut, pendant plusieurs années, la représentante francophone de la Présidence de la Société d’Israël avant son mariage suivie de son installation aux Etats Unis et la décision du Bureau de la SPI de transmettre cette responsabilité à Viviane Chetrit-Vatine, devenue récemment la nouvelle Présidente de la SPI.

Comme Molière, cette disparition subite est pratiquement survenue sur scène à l’issue d’une conférence qu’elle a prononcée à  l’American Psychoanalytic Association, au Waldorf Astoria à New York, et la remise du prix JAPA pour son article “The Otherness of Sexuality: Excess.” ( Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2008, vol. 56, n° 1, pp. 43-71 )

Les collègues francophones ont pu la connaitre à travers ses interventions orales et écrites d’un très haute tenue. Au cours des nombreux CPLF où elle fut présente, elle savait trouver le moment fort le plus opportun pour faire une intervention pertinente.
Située, par sa  formation analytique, au carrefour de la psychanalyse  anglophone, germanophone et francophone, elle venait témoigner de la qualité scientifique de la SP d’Israël.

Son premier article,en français,”Un certain style de masculinité “féminine” ou déconstruire le masculin ?”, RFP, 1998, vol. 62, n° 2,  fut suivi par un texte intitulé “Le transfert n’est plus ce qu’il était”,  Monographie de la RFP, “Transferts”, en 1999.

Dans la Revue Francaise de Psychanalyse elle publia encore de nombreux textes   dont le plus remarquable est une étude métapsychologique du terrorisme, après l’attentat du  11 novembre : “Le mal comme amour et libération : l’état d’esprit d’un terroriste religieux kamikaze”
(RFP, 2002, vol. 66, n° 3) suivi d’autres textes comme : La honte : métapsychologie et expérience, en 2003 et  L’analyste au travail : commentaires, dans l’ Année psychanalytique internationale, 2007, n° 5, p. 150-154

Elle s’intéressait à la question de l’affect dont témoigne un ouvrage préfacé par Joseph Sandler,
Psychoanalytic Theories of Affect, New York, Praeger, 1991, 220 p. et un texte en français “Les affects et leurs modulateurs”  
RFP, 1999, vol. 63, n° 1, pp. 157-171 ainsi que de nombreux articles parus dans l’IJP.
Entre autres, rappelons “Affect in psychoanalytic theory : discussion of André Green’s “On discriminating and not discriminating between affect and representation,IJP 2001, vol. 82, n° 5, pp. 877-900.

Sa disparition brutale nous émeut et nous tenons à dire à son conjoint Gavriel comme aux membres des deux Sociétés de Psychanalyse auxquelles  elle appartenait,  l’américaine et l’israélienne, notre peine mais aussi notre admiration pour son travail créateur qu’elle savait transmettre avec un charme incomparable. Nous ne l’oublierons jamais.

Pour le Secrétariat scientifique du CPLF,
Georges Pragier  
Merging with God
By Uri Dromi
Ha’aretz on Feb. 4th,2010
When Israeli psychoanalyst Ruth Stein arrived in 2001 in an America hard-hit by the attack on the World Trade Center, she recalled her days as a child in Tehran, where her father served as an envoy. In the Shah’s Iran, she saw thousands of Muslims marching together in the Shi’ite religious ceremony Ashura, shouting “Allah Akbar.” 

After 9/11, she closely examined a letter left behind by lead hijacker Mohammed Atta for her just-published book “For Love of the Father: A Psychoanalytic Study of Religious Terrorism,” in which she writes that terrorists do not act merely out of hatred or political intentions, but out of the desire to merge with the father – in other words, God.

Last month Stein received a prize from the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association for the best essay of the year. Later, at the same conference, she suffered a stroke and died in the hospital. Her colleagues Emanuel Berman and Rina Lazar wonder if she might not have lived longer had she slowed her feverish pace and reined in her ambition, but added that “then perhaps we would have lost her irreplaceable qualities.” 

Jessica Benjamin, professor of psychology at New York University, where Stein recently taught, said Stein brought European concepts of sexuality to America and rejected Freud’s emphasis on sex. 

According to Viviane Chetrit-Vatine, chairwoman of the psychoanalytic society, the broad-minded Stein integrated French psychoanalytic tradition with English and American theories and connected with Jean Laplanche, an important French psychoanalytic thinker. “An impressive debating partner,” Laplanche wrote on the psychoanalytic society Web site. 

Ruth Stein (nee Steinberger) was born in Linz, Austria, to an ultra-Orthodox family, in 1947. Her father was an Auschwitz survivor while her mother survived the war by passing as a Christian. After the establishment of the state, the family immigrated to Israel, settling in Bnei Brak and doing a stint in Iran. She married Dov Stein and had three children: Dolly, Beattie and Yoav. The couple were followers of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. 

Stein studied French literature for her B.A. and received an M.A. in psychology under the supervision of Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. Her doctoral thesis on theories of affect was published in 1991 and widely praised. 

In 1980 Stein completely changed her life. She divorced, cut herself off from ultra-Orthodoxy, underwent training at the Israel Psychoanalytic Society, and married Gabriel Reisner. Her many writings deal with sexuality, perversity, guilt and other subjects.

Britton, R., Feldman, N., Stein, R., Tucker, S. (2010). Roundtable Discussion 2, March 31, 2007. Psychoanal. Rev., 97:303-335. […]

Davoine, F., Gaudillière, J., Stein, R., Peoples, K. (2006). Conversations with Clinicians: The Geography of Trauma. Fort Da, 12:62-81. […]

Slavin, J.H., Davies, J.M., Oxenhandler, N., Seligman, S., Stein, R. (2006). Roundtable Discussion on Sexuality in Development and Treatment II: Clinical Application. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 7:259-289. […]

Slavin, J.H., Oxenhandler, N., Seligman, S., Stein, R., Davies, J.M. (2004). Dialogues on Sexuality In Development and Treatment. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5:371-418. […]

Stein, D. (2008). SECONDO COMMENTO. L’Annata Psicoanal. Int., 4:219-223. […]

Stein, R. (1990). A New Look at the Theory of Melanie Klein. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:499-511. […]

Stein, R. (1995). Analysis of a Case of Transsexualism. Psychoanal. Dial., 5:257-289. […]

Stein, R. (1995). Reply to Chodorow. Psychoanal. Dial., 5:301-310. […]

Stein, R. (1997). Analysis as a Mutual Endeavor—What Does It Look Like?: A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis by Lewis Aron (Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1996). Psychoanal. Dial., 7:869-880.[…]

Stein, R. (1997). Chapter 8 The Shame Experiences Of the Analyst. Progress in Self Psychology, 13:109-123. […]

Stein, R. (1998). Passion’s Friends, Passion’s Enemies: Commentary on Paper by Stephen A. Mitchell. Psychoanal. Dial., 8:547-560. […]

Stein, R. (1998). Review of the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexuality: Chaired by Homer Curtis, Philadelphia. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:995-998. […]

Stein, R. (1998). The Enigmatic Dimension of Sexual Experience: The “Otherness” of Sexuality and Primal Seduction. Psychoanal Q., 67:594-625. […]

Stein, R. (1998). The Poignant, the Excessive and the Enigmatic in Sexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:253-268. […]

Stein, R. (1998). Two Principles of Functioning of the Affects. Am. J. Psychoanal., 58:211-230. […]

Stein, R. (1999). From Holding Receptacle to Interior Space—The Protection and Facilitation of Subjectivity: Commentary on Paper by Joyce Slochower. Psychoanal. Dial., 9:811-823. […]

Stein, R. (2000). “False Love”—“Why Not?”: Fragments of an Analysis. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 1:167-190. […]

Stein, R. (2001). Affect in Psychoanalytic Theory: Discussion of André Green’s ‘on Discriminating and not Discriminating Between Affect and Representation’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82:877-900. […]

Stein, R. (2001). Review Essay: The Ethical and the Epistemological. Psychoanal. Dial., 11:431-450. […]

Stein, R. (2002). Evil as Love and as Liberation. Psychoanal. Dial., 12:393-420. […]

Stein, R. (2003). Vertical Mystical Homoeros: An Altered Form of Desire in Fundamentalism. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4:38-58. […]

Stein, R. (2005). Das Böse als Liebe und Befreiung: Zur psychischen Verfassung religiös motivierter Selbstmordattentäter. Psyche – Z Psychoanal., 59:97-126. […]

Stein, R. (2005). Skimming the Milk, Cajoling the Soul— Embodiment and Obscenity in Sexuality: Commentary on Muriel Dimen’s Paper. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 6:19-31. […]

Stein, R. (2005). Why perversion?: ‘False love’ and the perverse pact. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86:775-799.

Stein, R. (2006). Commentary. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87:1447-1451. […]

Stein, R. (2006). Father Regression: Clinical Narratives and Theoretical Reflections. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87:1005-1027. […]

Stein, R. (2006). Fundamentalism, Father and Son, and Vertical Desire. Psychoanal. Rev., 93:201-229.

Stein, R. (2006). Warum Perversion? >Verkehrte Liebe< und der perverse Pakt. Int. Psychoanalyse, 1:17-53. […]

Stein, R. (2007). COMMENTAIRES. L’Année Psychanal. Int., 2007:150-154. […]

Stein, R. (2007). Letters to The Editors: On: Analytic Impasse and The Third. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88:238-239. 

Stein, R. (2008). The Otherness of Sexuality: Excess. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56:43-71. […]

Stein, R. (2010). Reflections on Paranoia. Psychoanal. Rev., 97:231-237. […]

Stein, R.A. (2006). Unforgetting and Excess, the Re-creation and Re-finding of Suppressed Sexuality. Psychoanal. Dial., 16:763-778. […]