SHALHEVET AT 20: Shoshana Cohen, Class of 2001 – Giving Israeli girls a gift of Torah

Shoshana Cohen '01 is co-founder of Yeshivat Talpiot in Jerusalem.

Shoshana Cohen ’01 is co-founder of Yeshivat Talpiot in Jerusalem.

Q: What did you do straight after high school, and what do you do now?

A: I went to Midreshet Lindenbaum the year after high school, and I was in the Israeli “Tushia” Program. The girls I was with were part of the first-ever women’s Hesder unit that combined army service and Torah study.

I decided to go back to the US for college, and I graduated from Brandeis University. I made aliyah right after college, did an MA at Hebrew University in Ancient Jewish History, and studied at Matan, the Hartman Institute.

I now teach at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and I’ve just founded Yeshivat Talpiot, an egalitarian yeshiva for Israelis.

Q: Are you married and do you have children, and if so how many and what ages?  

A: I am married to Shuki Ben-Naim, who is a screenwriter.  I have a son, Yotam, who is five, and a daughter, Miriam, who is three.

Q: In one sentence, how would you describe the role of Judaism in their life now?

A: Judaism is my life. I teach Torah, study Torah, and am part of a very intellectual community.

Q: What is the main lesson you learned from your time at Shalhevet? 

A: At Shalhevet I learned that what I had to say was important, that I had a responsibility to improve the community around me, and to stand up for what I believe in.

Q: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

A: Emily Chase. I was in drama for all four years at Shalhevet when the department was just beginning. We went through a lot together, but Emily always treated us as professionals. She believed in us and held us to very high standards. These are the kinds of things I always try to do with my own students.

Q:   When someone says “Shalhevet,” what is the first word or thing that comes to mind?

A: Empowerment.

Q: If you could go back and give your high school self some advice, what would it be?

A: Relax and learn more Talmud.

Q: If you could start one club, team or co-curricular at Shalhevet for current students, what would you start and why?

A: Mishna Perek Yomi or Daf Yomi.

Q: Sum up your Shalhevet experience in three words or less

A: Dramatic, empowering.

 – Mati Hurwitz, Torah Editor 

Related: Josh Abrams ’01: Kickstarting a company

Related: Zvika Krieger ’01: Asking questions and facing danger, alumnus mines complexity in the Middle East

Related: Andy Green ’02: Dedicating his life to sharing Judaism

Related: Danielle Rohatiner ’03: A passion to teacher