President Emeritus Susan Cohen

Susan Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, to non-Deaf parents who raised her and her younger siblings in a traditional Conservative Jewish household where the family celebrated the holidays and kept kosher. Not having the Hebrew education that her siblings had, her desire to learn about her Jewish heritage, Hebrew and Jewish spirituality led her to completing her synagogue’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah program.

As an active participant of Temple Beth Ami, she and other Deaf members founded the synagogue’s Deaf Access Committee, participated on the Search Committee for the synagogue’s first Program Director, established its Interpreter’s Fund, and served on two of her daughters’ Confirmation Committee.

After their children completed their religious school education at Temple Beth Ami, she and her husband left behind 18 wonderful years of synagogue membership to give greater attention to the Washington Society of Jewish Deaf.

She served on the WSJD Board of Directors as its secretary for two terms from 2011-2017 prior to becoming its President from 2017-2021. In 2013, at the Jewish Deaf Congress Conference, Susan was the recipient of the Henry and Anna Plapinger Award, which honors a Jewish Deaf Adult who has contributed outstanding service to the Jewish Deaf Community for over ten years. In retrospect, she says, “I enjoy being an active part of the WSJD team, building ruach (spirit), and bringing together the community for shared learning opportunities.”

Early October 2021, Susan retired from Montgomery County Public Libraries where she served as the first Coordinator of the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library and as Head of Adult Services/Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community for the Montgomery County Public Libraries. 

Effective March 2021, Susan was elected President of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center, a national organization that serves to bridge the Jewish Deaf Community and the wider Jewish community.

She and her husband, Jeff Cohen are proud of their two married non-deaf daughters, two son-in-laws, two granddaughters, and a sweet fur granddog who they enjoy spoiling. She and her husband, Jeff enjoy traveling, finding Jewish and Jewish Deaf treasures around the world, and discovering new ventures together.