Photo Credit: courtesy
Miriam Cohen, cook at Yeshiva Hesder in Tefahot, honored with lighting a torch for feeding IDF soldiers from her own kitchen since October 7.

For over 20 years, Miriam Cohen has dedicated her culinary skills to feeding the students of Yeshiva Hesder in Tefahot. However, with the outbreak of war, Miriam’s contributions expanded as she extended her cooking talents to provide meals for soldiers in the north, earning her the title of “mother of the soldiers.”

Miriam’s selfless acts have not gone unnoticed. She has been selected to light a torch at the upcoming Independence Day ceremony, a recognition of her unique social contributions to Israeli society.


Miriam’s involvement with the ‘Ta’ima’ project, where she prepares homemade meals for soldiers across the country, showcases her unwavering dedication to supporting those in need. For the past 20 years, she has been the cook for Yeshivat Hesder in Tefahot, and in an interview, she describes her journey to lighting the torch.

She grew up in Moshav Dalton in proximity to the Lebanese border, and her culinary path began in the earliest years of the Yeshivat Hesder in Tefahot. ‘Since 2003, I have been cooking at the yeshiva. I have been in the kitchen all my life, and I love the kitchen. From there, I learned to prepare food in large quantities and gained extensive experience in institutional cooking.’

Since the beginning of the war, Miriam volunteers twice a week for the ‘Ta’ima’ project of the Logistics Department of the IDF Northern Command, preparing food for soldiers in the area. She says, ‘At the beginning of the war, I didn’t know what to do, and I started thinking about how I could help and contribute to the dear soldiers at the front. I decided that while they fight on the front, I will prepare food for them at home. Since then, I have been preparing food for them.’

Even today, Miriam continues to prepare breakfast for the Yeshiva. ‘I wake up early, at four in the morning, and start preparing breakfast for the Yeshiva students. Then I go back home, pray, take care of laundry and cleaning, and at eight o’clock I cook for the soldiers.’

Miriam prepares the food by herself, almost without any assistance. ‘Most of the time, I cook by myself. I don’t like people hovering around me in the kitchen. There was a student from the Yeshiva whom I would call when I had a lot of salads to prepare. He would come in the morning from the Yeshiva to help me when needed. Now he has been drafted.’

‘I have two kitchens at home,’ Miriam says. ‘One kitchen is for home use, and the second kitchen I made about a month before the war when I thought about holding cooking and baking workshops. After the war began, I said that if I didn’t hold workshops, then all the evacuees from the North who came to Tiberias would come to do workshops with me, and the food would be sent to the soldiers. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, instead I did it myself with our community. We cooked together several times and sent the food to the soldiers, and it was amazing.’

Miriam funds her efforts entirely through her own resources, as well as with the support of other kind-hearted individuals. ‘We felt blessed at home. Everything is done out of love and all with great joy. I wake up early in the morning, prepare the food, sing to it, talk to the food, and bless the soldiers. I did everything with joy, love, and great happiness, ‘ she says with a smile.

‘I’m like the home of all the students at the Yeshiva. I’m the ‘mom’ of the yeshiva, and I feel that the students are like my children. When they heard that I had been elected to light a torch they came to me together with the Rosh Yeshiva to give me a flower bouquet and a blessing, and I was really moved by their amazing tribute.’ About the soldiers, she says excitedly, ‘Once I sent them food for Shabbat, and they sent me back a video where they said to me, ‘From today, we won’t call you Miriam, we will call you the soldiers’ mom.’ It really moved me. A lot.’

‘May we have, with the help of God, unity of the people and love for the land, love for others without distinctions of who you are and who I am,” Miriam added. ‘May we not argue and just simply love each other, with unconditional love.’

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.