Kenneth Cohen

Shevet Moriah

I am proud to be a member of Shevet Moriah. We are high school graduates from the Class of 1971. We are all members of Bnei Akiva, a religious Zionist youth organization.

We met in high school and we have remained close friends for about fifty years. We have become more like an extended family rather than just friends. We began as innocent youth that met socially on a regular basis. We were instilled with idealism and a love for Israel. Many of us fulfilled this Zionist dream by making Aliya and strengthening  the State of Israel.

This sense of family was felt very strongly when one of our dear friends tragically passed away suddenly. Each of us felt that we lost a sister and the pain was very great. The passing of Phylis Zisken Goldman, of blessed memory, who was a special lady respected and loved by all, affected us deeply.

The passing of a dear friend coupled with plans of a Shevet Moriah reunion next November, made me realize that I was fortunate to be a part of something very special. Approximately twenty five couples from the States as well as over fifty couples living in Israel, have already registered for this reunion.

The sad reality of our Moriah experience is that it seems highly unlikely that this could be duplicated in today’s world. We had a certain innocence about us. For the most part, we were able to maintain Platonic relationships between boys and girls. Our rabbis were aware of our activities, and allowed us to continue. There are very few couples from this group who married. It was a wholesome comeraderie.

Today’s Judaism does not have that same sense of idealism. Our youth is not innocent in today’s society with the internet and an overall lack of morality. And the rabbis of today are much more extreme and would not allow such “mixing” between boys and girls.

Perhaps telling our story might inspire others to at least attempt what we have accomplished. In the meantime, I am so grateful to have been able to be part of this Shevet Moriah experience. And we all look forward to next November when our “family” gets together again to share our wonderful memories.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at