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Teacher’s Corner

Featuring Moreh Aviram Cohen

When High School Hebrew teacher Moreh Aviram Cohen was in second grade, his family moved to the U.S. for a year, a decision that would shape his future. His father, who worked at a General Motors Dealership in Israel, spent a year working abroad in Michigan. During that time, Moreh Aviram attended Hillel Day School. As a second grader who had spent his life thus far in the Israeli city of Hadera, Moreh Aviram initially spoke English poorly and struggled to communicate. However, he ultimately built strong friendships, and the experience gave him a positive impression of America that would influence his future decision to move to the U.S. as an adult.

As an Israeli citizen, a major part of Moreh Aviram’s young-adulthood was his service in the IDF. For him, these years signified more than just fulfilling an obligation. He took them as an opportunity to develop the core value of showing dedication to purposeful work. After training, Moreh Aviram joined Yachmam, a recon unit that gave coordinates of striking points in the field to the air force and artillery units. He slowly worked up the military chain-of-command and became a commander of new troops for the remainder of his three-year service, a grueling role that allowed for little sleep. Despite its demanding nature, the experience proved fulfilling for Moreh Aviram, who “really wanted to serve in the army… to be in combat, to do important [work], and to protect Israel.” To conclude his work for the Israeli government, Moreh Aviram worked for the Ministry of Defense for six years.

“Moreh Aviram sees many parallels between his prior army service and current teaching role.”

Though he now lives in America and no longer works for the government, Moreh Aviram sees many parallels between his prior army service and current teaching role. In his words, both are forms of shlichut (concept of being sent on a mission), where “you serve and you serve for a purpose.” He elaborated that the two vocations involve “doing something that is really important, doing something that will affect years to [come].”

Reflecting on his journey from working in the IDF to teaching in America, Moreh Aviram recalled two major role models. The first, his favorite high school teacher Shai Glazer, worked as a security guard for Yitzchak Rabin and switched to teaching after the Israeli Prime Minister’s assassination. Moreh Aviram appreciated this teacher’s personality, and they frequently spoke together about Shai’s army service. In hindsight, Moreh Aviram realized, “I [took] a really similar path of being in security and… moving to [teaching].” Moreh Aviram’s second role model, Rafael “Rafool” Eitan, a famous former Israeli military chief, inspired Moreh Aviram because he not only excelled as a commander but also helped young soldiers academically, by and large doing “lots of things for his country.” 

Drawing inspiration from the characteristics of these two role models, Moreh Aviram strives to build loyalty and a desire to give back into his own lifestyle. Throughout his army service and now his work at AJA, he lives by the motto of “If I [take] something on me, I want to do it perfectly [and as] best [as] I can.” A dedicated teacher, Moreh Aviram strives to create a classroom environment where “rules are rules,” yet at the same time, students can have “fun while learning the subject.”

Beyond just the teaching of Hebrew, Moreh Aviram sees his classroom as a place to make an impact on and connect to his students. He hopes to instill in them the importance of “[being] a good person” above all else. Moreh Aviram expressed, “I really like my students.” He feels they demonstrate strong work ethics and “great potential.” Moreover, “When I see them increasing their Hebrew skills, I can see that I am doing a good job, and that [makes] me keep going.” 

Outside of the classroom, Moreh Aviram relishes the opportunity to interact with students in informal settings. Specifically, he named Color War and the Ramah Shabbaton as his highlights thus far in his first year at AJA. He described both as “amazing” experiences, the likes of which he “had never seen before.” 

In part due to such opportunities to bond with students, Moreh Aviram is satisfied with his move to Atlanta. Upon deciding to come to America, Moreh Aviram and his wife toured several Jewish day schools and ultimately chose AJA. He explained that, shortly after getting married, they sought “to make a change” by moving to America and now feel “happy” that they decided to join the “AJA family.”

Coupled with Moreh Aviram’s commitment to education and enriching students is his fun and friendly personality. He enjoys piloting and is currently concluding a flying course. Additionally, he frequents the gym to satisfy his enjoyment of sports. Finally, he treasures traveling, and after his years in the IDF, he took a six-month trip to a plethora of South American countries with friends, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that he described as “the best time ever.” 

Taken together, Moreh Aviram’s IDF service and teaching experience at AJA are two major moments in his life’s journey. Whether through training new soldiers or educating students, both provide him with the opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty and hard work ethic, as well as his penchant for fun and meaningful connections. Moreover, whether in Israel or in America, Moreh Aviram feels fulfilled in knowing that his work will make an impact on others and will shape the future.

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