“Never give up on another Yid”

Written by : Esther Carbonera

“Very quiet and modest matter.”

Mrs Yehudis Cohen is an assistant principal and a teacher in Machon L’Yahadus. My name is Esther Carbonera and I am an alumni. I had a unique chance of observing the kindness and dedication of this person.
Mrs Cohen works tirelessly to help machon girls in all their matters- from shidduchim to finances, from legal documents to doctor appointments, from support and advice to navigating family matters, from finding a job to going on shlichus. She is a real macher. Even though she has million responsibilities running the school, her main priority is helping girls in all their needs. All of this she does in a very quiet and modest matter, never putting herself out there. I had a unique opportunity of observing her special kindness to my friend Miriam( name was changed for privacy reasons). Miriam is 21 years old, she unfortunately was horribly abused physically and mentally, and later on was abandoned by her parents because she became frum. She came to Machon without any money and understating of how to proceed with her life. As you can imagine a person in this state of mind doesn’t think very rationally. She was depressed, alcohol addicted, her health was very problematic and she needed lots of help. She was a rebellious teenager ( 18 when she came to Machon) that also didn’t want to accept anyone’s help and was ready to go off the derech after everything she has gone through. Here comes Mrs Cohen. I have observed her restlessly helping Miriam every single day for the past 2,5 years. She adopted her as a daughter in every possible way. She went with her to doctor appointments , and was figuring out all her health needs. She took care of her financial needs, found grants to help her do therapy and gave her money when she needed. She helped her legally with all the documents. She helped her find a job while she was a student in Machon, and after she graduated. Miriam was keeping getting into troubles, and more challenges came her way ( such a nisayon from Hashem). Mrs Cohen never gave up on her. She loved her unconditionally and continued providing her with tremendous amount of support mentally and physically. Miriam wasn’t receiving this guidance and was doing what she though was right. It was extremely hard to keep helping someone who doesn’t want to be helped. However, recently I have spoken to Miriam, and she told me – ‘If it wasn’t for mrs Cohen , I would not be frum any more. I was disappointed in everyone, and she is the only person who loves me unconditionally and cares about me. I can say that kind people exist because of her. She is a true chosid and I can say that religion is not fake when I look at her’. I was crying after this, because I knew how true this was. Mrs Cohen has given herself to her students. She has helped me as well on so many occasions free of charge , giving hours of mashpia support and guidance. I can truly say she is an incredible person.

How has this teacher’s kindness impacted you and your life?

Mrs Cohen has taught me that kindness doesn’t end at your convenience. Sometimes it involves real misurus nefesh, sometimes it involves going above and beyond yourself. She taught me to never give up on another Yid, even when the person doesn’t seem to do any progress , and everything seems useless. It’s not. Care and love always gives fruit. If it was for me , I don’t know if I would be able to give myself over so much to a student in every possible way financially, physically, mentally. How do you find time and energy to give to people, when you also have responsibilities , family, job? Mrs Cohen taught me with her real life example- ‘lechatchila ariber’, just do it and you will manage. Her amount of responsibilities cannot compare to mine and somehow she was and is able to give so much of herself to people. So can I . Even if it involves misurus nefesh on our part, we should try to go out of our way to support and help a Yid. Today Miriam is in a much better place ( even though there is still a lot of work to do), and the fact that she is healthy ,functional individual who keeps mitzvos is truly Mrs Cohen’s merit. My life has shifted after this case, and I started doing much more for people even when it involved inconvenience for me.


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