Graphologist Rabbi Lazewnik can tell a lot about a person just by examining their handwriting.
Featured photo courtesy Rabbi Lazewnik
If you write a letter to Rabbi Baruch Lazewnik, be warned: He can learn personal things about your history, upbringing and personality just from looking at your handwriting.
Lazewnik’s interest in graphology started when he was 19. He met Rabbi Chaim Lifshitz, a noted graphologist in Israel, and was amazed at the personal insights Lifshitz offered him. “He was the one who saw in me a natural curiosity about people; he suggested I go into education or psychology,” he said.
Instead, Lazewnik first emulated Lifshitz, studying graphology through the International Graphoanalysis Society’s correspondence school in Chicago.
When he lived in Israel, he easily found work as a graphologist. “I’d look in the newspaper ads; any ad that asked for handwritten applications, I’d write to them and tell them, ‘Listen, I’m not an accountant; I’m a graphologist, and I’d love to help you find someone who would be perfect for you.”
His career took off. He also worked for CO-OP, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, helping them weed out workers by looking for signs of laziness or dishonesty in their handwriting.
In 2000, Lazewnik relocated to Farmington Hills and discovered, unlike throughout Europe, graphology is not considered a trusted science in the United States. He has been teaching Talmud fulltime at Frankel Jewish Academy ever since.
Knowing his history and that he’s authored Handwriting Analysis: A Guide to Understanding Personalities (Whitford Press, 1990), Lazewnik’s students always beg — “nudnik” — him to analyze their handwritings.
One student, Alex Adler, 25, originally of West Bloomfield, had his handwriting analyzed before he graduated.
“Rabbi Lazewnik looked at my writing and said I need more balance; in other words, I needed to become more conscious about prioritizing. He even told me to practice drawing figure 8s, because he said handwriting can influence the personality and the personality can influence the handwriting,” Adler said.
How does he do it?
“It’s all about how the pen moves on the paper. Is it flowing and smooth, or jerky with unnecessary stops and starts? Is the writer pushing the pen hard onto the paper or not? Is it rhythmic or angular?” Lazewnik explained.
He’s equally fascinated by signatures.
“Trump’s is very angular; he doesn’t back off from confrontation; he probably even likes it. He’s tough.”
Lazewnik has many unusual anecdotes. Once, some handwritten nasty graffiti was discovered in the bathroom stalls in a Jewish day school. Lazewnik was called in to find the culprit. “It’s not always easy with little kids, but after carefully studying handwriting samples of some possible students, I figured out who did it. I told the principal, ‘I’ll only tell you who did it if you deal with him gently because he’s not a bad kid.’” Turned out the kid was the oldest in a large family and had been feeling neglected.
Lazewnik was also in touch with Hawaiian graphologist Kimon Iannetta and helped her write some of the biographies of criminals in her book, Danger Between the Lines: A Reference Manual for the Profiling of Violent Behavior. Lazewnik has studied handwriting samples of offenders in the prison system. “You can see the violence in their writings; it’s frightening,” he said.
These days, Lazewnik still occasionally analyzes handwriting samples and charges $100 for his time. He sees couples who are planning to get married. Some people have asked him to even analyze the prospective parents-in-law’s handwriting in the hope of warding off future conflict!
In such cases, he points out where people are similar and where there may be differences in personality. Clients decide what to do with that information.
“Opposites usually do better — if they can respect each other,” Lazewnik said. “It’s always more helpful in terms of growth when there are differences between people.”
Analyzing A Sample Letter
JN Contributing Writer Rochel Burstyn gave Rabbi Baruch Lazewnik a sample of her handwriting and a quick sketch of a tree.
His analysis: “Note the clear spacing between the words and lines – this suggests the writer is an organized person.
“Sometimes when people write, their letters are connected to the next letter in words. Here, for example, you can see the simplified and efficient connection of the ‘r’ and ‘e’ in the word ‘here’ in the last line. This can indicate a quick, efficient and common-sense approach to life. There’s not much wasted energy here.
“This particular tree is pretty and garnished with flowers, suggesting that the person has an appreciation for aesthetics. Lack of branches and empty space can mean that the writer has lots of potential to sprout new creations.
“Like the handwriting, the tree drawing is balanced and proportional. This person is reasonable, mostly agreeable and consistent.”