Meet Hebrew School Teacher - Oren Cohen

“I would like to start this short introduction on a personal note.  I want to thank the IJC for being such a wonderful community that has received me with open arms and made me feel at home right away!

I was born and raised in Israel and grew up in Haifa.  My parents had me 39 years ago, while my middle sister is 36 and the youngest 28. I grew up with traditional Moroccan and Yemeni roots and rituals which gathered us together every Friday for “Kiddush” around the family table.

Since my father was a sailor, he was absent a lot. So right after my Bar Mitzvah, I started replacing him as the head of the table, performing the “Kiddush” service myself and then going to Shabbat Services with my grandfather.

After an intensive military service in the Intelligence branch and finishing my BA in Computer Science, I decided to start a new adventure, moving to the US to work and enjoy my youth and freedom. Being far away from my family made me miss my traditions, holidays and faith. But I soon learned that there are more liberal and progressive expressions of Judaism that fit better with my beliefs and lifestyle - as my partner for the past 15 years (and now a father of our 8 month old son) is a Belgian guy.

So 11 years ago, I moved to Belgium after deciding together with my partner that we wanted to be closer to our families and start our own.

Oren with partner Steve Berson and baby Jayden

I found a job here quickly since my studies in IT did not require me to speak the local languages (English was enough).  While working on my day job I studied both Dutch and French.  Then I received an amazing offer to join Berlitz languages school as a freelancer Hebrew teacher for both the Brussels and Antwerp branches. Then last year I was offered the amazing opportunity to also teach Hebrew – but to children - at the IJC.

It was love at first sight!  Working with these amazing kids just brings out the best in me. I look forward to continuing to work and educate our young generations. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”