Meet a Director
Rami Cohen with staff members from Machol
Rami Cohen is the leader of the Machol residential program for young adolescent women in Timora. The program is based in the Jordan Valley. It has achieved outstanding results that give hope and opportunity to young women who have suffered many traumas, the most severe cases among teenage students.
Rami is a scion of a family of olim from Morocco who arrived in Israel very young. He grew up in a warm, loving atmosphere that stimulated personal development and a desire to move forward. He studied law and set out on a promising career. “Practicing law was acceptable, but it did not fulfill me, so I left my practice and joined a Yeshiva, which enhanced my spirituality and developed my educational thinking and creativity. These experiences led me to Yiftach, where I met parents and children similar to those I knew from my home and community. I realized that the issue of young dropouts from families identical to mine was a major problem much more profound than what I thought or knew.
After working with the educational team at Yiftach, I accepted Ariel Sokoloff’s request thirteen years ago to take over the management of Machol”.
Timora established the Machol (Dance, in Hebrew) all-girls residential village to empower Orthodox girls through a unique educational-therapeutic rehabilitative model. Machol’s mission is to give these young women the knowledge, skills and emotional and social support to turn their lives around, pursue vocationally training or higher education and give them the confidence to create brighter futures. Its work has resulted in recognition and cooperation among parents, educators, community leaders, and local municipalities throughout Israel for providing a sustainable solution for these girls.
“I never imagined I would find myself working with troubled young women. I arrived at Machol after it had existed for two years and needed a makeover. I felt that I had an opportunity to care for young students through therapy, learning, and adopting a positive outlook on life. For me, there was an opportunity to fulfill a dream.
The profile of the young women at Machol is constantly changing. First, I had to learn what working with young women was like. You have to develop a different kind of sensitivity. The same goes for working with a team that consists entirely of women. It is a constant learning experience. Some things seem similar between young women and men, but different needs must be recognized and addressed. Our primary educational tool is art. Art creates a space for expressing and transforming complex emotions. Music is a powerful medium to create awareness, and Cinema is a tool that forces you to focus.
We must allow young women in our care to confront their inner selves. However, there are no immediate results. This is why we foster more time and space for conversation, dialogue, and internal encounters. The emphasis is our connection with the young women, which allows them to create a rapport with themselves.
Looking ahead, I would like to strengthen the therapeutic work and allow a more accurate daily schedule. Some young women come with potent energetic forces; if we harness those creative abilities, we will enable a better and more effective healing process.