One of Our Own
by Maxine Dorot
Yuval Cohen has been involved with Netzach Israel for the past 16 years which is pretty cool since Yuval is only 19 years old! His connection goes way back to age 3 when he began his early childhood education in our Gan TALI and continued to kindergarten before entering first grade.
In the third grade, Yuval became active in NOAM (the Conservative movement’s youth group) and went to weekly meetings and events held in the temple, rising through the ranks to become a group leader when he was in the tenth grade.
Yuval had his Bar Mitzvah in the temple. In preparation, he attended the synagogue’s weekly Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes. During this time, rockets reigned on the city of Ashkelon and the population spent hours on end in their safe rooms and municipal bomb shelters. Because the kids basically had no summer that year, they were invited by Richard Dermer, President of the Board of Directors of IVOW (Israeli Victims of War) to be guests at their summer camp in Montreal, Canada. 2015 was the first year Yuval went to the monthly summer camp as a representative of Netzach Israel, and he has continued to go every summer till 2019 when he was a camp counselor.
Yuval is a familiar face in the shul, not only as a member of NOAM, but because until the army, he attended Sabbath services and holiday prayers and helped organize special events including Purim festivities and preparing and delivering “mishloach manot” which were always one of the highlights of the holiday calendar.
Yuval is a graduate of Mekif Aleph High School in Ashkelon where he majored in Arabic and Jewish Philosophy. In August 2020, just two months after graduation, the Israeli Defense Forces called him to serve. He has just completed six month’s basic training in the highly respected battle unit, Givati, and plans to go into an officer’s course when he is eligible in 4 months’ time.
Being in the army has not stopped Yuval from his ties to Netzach Israel. Because of covid, Shabbat and holiday services are held via zoom which makes it much easier for Yuval to participate and he does “as often as I can. It’s important to me, even if I can get in an hour’s worth.”
Yuval’s connection to Netzach Israel is a family affair. His mom, Sophie, is an assistant teacher in the synagogue’s nursery school and his dad Rami was president of the shul for two years. Yuval's older siblings, Natalie and Tal also had their Bat and Bar Mitzvah here.
I know you will all join me in wishing Yuval and his fellow soldiers a safe, healthy and meaningful army service and may all of us and our loved ones be safe and healthy.