Mel Werbach

MY FATHER NEVER LIKED TO TALK ABOUT IT, but he and his family were victims of the 1919 pogrom which took place in the Ukrainian village of Felshtin (now Hvardiske). I grew up curious about this "mythical" town in which my grandfather had owned the general store before all was destroyed; a town I could see in drawings in the yisgor book later published by the survivors, but a town whose secrets were hidden from me as the book was written in Yiddish.

My childhood curiosity evolved into a fascination with exploring my family tree in depth, a hobby which I started to purse following my retirement over a decade ago.

In the intervening years, I became a physician and then a psychiatrist. My professional focus changed over time.  I became involved with biofeedback training when the technique was just crossing over from a research tool to a clinical one. While I initially focused on its application to the treatment of anxiety (working under Barbara Brown, the creator of the term "biofeedback"), I later agreed to refocus on its application to the treatment of pain, working first as a researcher at the City of Hope and then as a patient manager at the UCLA Pain Control Unit. While at UCLA, I became interested in collecting data showing the many applications of nutritional medicine. This led to a series of books. All the while, I maintained a private practice which, like my interests, evolved over time.

Since retirement, my genealogical research has been extensive. Perhaps my biggest discovery was a year ago when I was finally able to reconstruct a rabbinical family line on my father's side that appears
traceable back to biblical times.