Characterized by her thick Israeli accent and kind words of wisdom, Hana Cohen (Morah Hana) has been teaching and inspiring at Academies at GBDS for the past 26 years. Although she initially didn’t want to be a teacher, Morah Hana said her through her “love for children and Jewish learning” she decided to work at GBDS after moving from Israel to New Jersey with her husband. Since she began at Academies at GBDS, she has embodied passion, kindness, and dedication to her students.
She taught kindergarten through fifth grades in a range of subjects including, Hebrew language, Jewish history, Torah studies, and Israeli geography and culture – her favorites where she would bring her native Israel into the classroom. She particularly loved teaching the same students for more than one year and often reminisced on past years where she was able to teach the same students in first and second grade. She tried to inspire her students to be the best versions of themselves, to “look at a child and give the message that they’re the best and that they can do it.”
Morah Hana took pride in leading our annual Milestone Ceremonies. These ceremonies showcase a year of progress in Hebrew and include a Shma L’Mishpacha ceremony for kindergarten, a Siddur ceremony for first graders, a Chumash ceremony for second graders, a Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony for third graders, a Havdalah ceremony for fourth graders, and a Torah reading ceremony for fifth graders. These celebrations have been in practice since Morah Hana began working at Academies at GBDS and have always been a highlight for her; she takes a lot of pride in seeing her students participate in these important ceremonies, with her personal favorite being the first grade Siddur ceremony.
After her retirement, she plans to spend more time with family, travel – her grandchildren are in Israel and New York – creating art and learning Torah.
After more than two and half decades at Academies at GBDS, Morah Hana will be missed. Her hope for her students is that they continue to become the best that they can, in their own way.