Rachel Cohen

President, Association of Jewish Day Schools (AJDS) 2010-2013

1. How did you get involved with Federation CJA, and why?

As a young professional and newly married woman determined to stay in Montreal in politically trying times, I was looking for a way to get involved with community. I was brought up to help others and to "step up" when needed; the answer for me was a Leadership Training Program (LTP). This opened the door to my involvement in the Jewish Public Library, Solomon Schechter Academy, UTT/Herzliah, AJDS and Federation CJA itself. One could say that from the LTP, I have never looked back.

2. What is your fondest memory to date of your time working with Federation CJA?

As President of UTT/Herzliah, I was privileged to attend the group bat mitzvahs of the graduating class. Seeing these young women from so many diverse backgrounds come together as classmates, as friends, strong and knowledgeable, gave me such perspective on life in general and Jewish life specifically. It made me see the power of our community.

3. Can you recall a particular moment or event that impacted you profoundly?

It was the Choices program where the key note speaker was Judy Feld Carr, speaking about her involvement and leadership in the evacuation of Syrian Jews. It was also some time before a referendum in Quebec. It was amazing to see so many strong and accomplished women in the room representing our community and sharing strong feelings. Many years later, in 2014 I was fortunate to participate in the Mega Mission and the pre-mission visit to Poland: the power of each of these venues coupled with the strength of our community made this a most profound experience for me and for my husband.

4. What advice would you give to the young women following in your philanthropic footsteps?

We all need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We see it all around us in our community: such strong women, both professional and lay, dedicating themselves tirelessly to our community. Making sure that we leave our community just a little bit better than we found it. We are charged with this responsibility and this blessing. We must use it wisely.

5. What is your legacy?

I hope that in whatever capacity I have served I have demonstrated respect and compassion, intelligence and knowledge.

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