Rose Pines Cohen
Born in 1911 into a family with deep rabbinic roots, Rose Pines Cohen was raised, after the early death of her mother, by her grandparents in Lithuania. She and her siblings were reunited with their father in Baltimore in 1922, where Rose continued her Hebrew and Judaic studies in the Talmud Torah schools of South Baltimore. By her early teens, Rose began teaching Hebrew school and received her teaching diploma from Baltimore Hebrew College, embarking upon a long and dedicated teaching career. Originally interested in accounting, Rose turned to teaching when she learned that accounting classes met on Saturdays—Shabbat - making it impossible for her as an Orthodox Jew to attend school. Rose married Moses J. Cohen in 1937 and took a hiatus from teaching after the birth of their three children, Rachel, Sylvia, and Louis. She later served as principal of Beth Yehuda's Hebrew School and taught at Beth Israel Congregation before retiring from Jewish education in 1970. Rose worked as a secretary for the Baltimore City Public Schools and continues to be active in numerous communal organizations, including the Jewish Museum of Maryland and B'nai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation.
Rose traces her family history, roots in Lithuania, and how the family immigrated to Baltimore in the early 1900s, where her father became a sexton in a shul there. Growing up in Eastern Europe, Rose remembers living through World War I, and the impact the war and the food shortages had on her family. She also talks about the Jewish holidays and traditional foods and customs. She details her family’s immigration to the United States in 1922, the ten-day journey, arriving at Ellis Island, and settling into life in Baltimore. Rose attended public school in Baltimore, and her grandfather taught her and her siblings Hebrew at home. Her parents valued education and encouraged Rose to pursue Hebrew and general scholarship. In high school, Rose began teaching Hebrew after school and became interested in pursuing education as a career. She attended Hebrew College, where she formed a Hebrew speaking group; she met her husband Mo when he joined the group. Rose describes Mo's background, their courtship, shared interests, and married and family life. Rose continued many of the Jewish traditions and practices in raising her family. She also became more involved in various Jewish organizations and movements, such as Hapoel Hamizrachi and the Ladies Auxillary, of which she served as President for several years, before going back to teaching at Beth Yehuda, her children's shul, and later becoming the principal. Rose reflects on her career accomplishments, challenges, lessons learned, and how her children followed in her footsteps.