Nominated and written by Gili Kamara, NCSY Alumna
Thanks to Todd Cohn, I fell in love with NCSY. I first joined NCSY due to his persistent nagging at his after school courses that I attended. After the first event that I went to, I felt like I found a place where I belong. I started going to more and more events; chapter meetings, regional shabbatons, Onegs, and even Friday night meals with Todd. NCSY became a regular part of my life. Todd and I engaged in many discussions ranging from our favorite topic of free will to being Jewish in a public school. Even though I could have chosen any of the NCSY advisers to learn with, Todd was my obvious choice because he made learning an experience for both of us. The fun yet informative way in which we learned together was unique. A small memory of him that always manages to sneak a smile on my face is when I came to learn with him after I had gotten my braces removed. He grinned at me and said, “they feel slimy, don’t they?” That was the best description for the feeling and, as with everything else, he was right on point.
Even though Todd was only my chapter advisor for a mere 3 years, I learned so many crucial life lessons from him. Not only did he make me fall in love with Judaism, but he also taught me that truly wise people share their knowledge in a way that best fits their audience; that even though life may be hard sometimes, keeping the faith helps us keep our heads up; that life is about having fun and going for Ben and Jerry’s in the middle of the night. Although Todd’s job description was to run an NCSY chapter, he managed to go above and beyond and touch the life of every person who knew him.