We sadly note the passing of Mrs. Emy Cohenca, a devoted supporter of our Institute since its founding in 2007. Emy was born in Peru, and at age 2 her family moved to Cairo. In 1956, with conditions for Jews in Egypt worsening, she and family emigrated to the United States. For many years, the Cohenca family has been associated with Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan where her late husband, Jacques, would attend services each Shabbat morning. The Cohenca family established a fund in support of the musical traditions of Shearith Israel, and Emy graciously sponsored an annual choir concert and luncheon for many years.
Emy combined an “old world” dignity with a “new world” energy. She had high principles, strong commitments, and a keen aesthetic sense. Her love of art and music animated her life.
In describing her family background, she once wrote: “Ours is not a linear story – rather a memory museum, whose galleries are filled with recollections. Ours is a zig-zag story that conceals a single shining thread. That thread which winds through different continents, nations, and cities all over the world is our Jewish faith. On my side of the family, the countries through which that thread winds are Syria, Italy, Peru, and Egypt. On my husband’s side, they are Spain, Salonika, possibly Turkey, and Egypt – where his family had stayed for three or four generations before we came to America.”
Emy identified with the ideas and ideals of our Institute. She valued an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Judaism, much in the spirit of her own Sephardic tradition.
We extend our condolences to Emy’s children, grandchildren and extended family. May her memory be a source of strength, happiness and consolation in the months and years ahead.