Micol Cohen, a 34-year-old international marketing professional, was fatally injured in an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) accident on June 24. Cohen, a native Italian who lived in Beverly Hills, was a passenger when the vehicle veered off a private road in Malibu and, according to the California Highway Patrol, hit an exposed tree root. Cohen died from blunt-force trauma.
On June 27, friends and family filled Young Israel of Century City to honor and remember Cohen, who was buried in Milan.
David Sacks, a friend whose home Cohen often visited for Shabbat meals, traveled to Milan for the funeral on behalf of Cohen’s extensive community of friends in Los Angeles.
“There were hundreds of people at her funeral,” Sacks said. “It was amazing to see how many connections she had across the globe. She had a lot of legitimate best friends.”
After her passing, some of Cohen’s friends discovered in her apartment a handwritten note that she had placed on the wall next to her bed, which she had titled “God Is Everywhere” (see sidebar). In it, Cohen explained her philosophy toward spirituality and religion.
“Faith is the base of everything,” she wrote. “Faith in Hashem, Torah, tradition and yourself! Without faith, nothing is complete!”
Sacks says the note provided insight into Cohen’s personal beliefs.
“There are a lot of great people who leave this world but don’t leave behind the same sort of manifesto on how to serve God that Micol did,” he said. “This was something that she had for her own private use, and it’s a sign of how much Hashem loved Micol.”
Cohen moved to Beverly Hills in 2004 for her work. She was a congregant at the Happy Minyan on Pico Boulevard, and friends describe her as “really excited to do mitzvot.” She was observant of Jewish traditions and kept a few of her own traditions as well. For example, Cohen refused to speak audibly on Yom Kippur.
“It’s a practice called a ‘Speech Fast’ or tanis dibor,” Judy Sacks, David’s wife, said. “She wanted to make sure she would not say anything inappropriate on such a holy day.”
Cohen spoke five languages and often traveled to Paris. She was loved by children and adults alike and, according to her friend Miriam Teller, “never let the hard times in her life get her down or allow for self-pity.”
“She was always living — always another activity and another friend to see,” Abby Symonds, another one of Cohen’s close friends ,said. “She really lived and had fun doing a lot of activities, and she passed away doing one of those things.”
A campaign on Facebook encouraging people to perform good deeds in Cohen’s memory, called “Mitzvot for Micol,” has already solicited more than 500 members. Donations in Cohen’s memory can be made to the Happy Minyan on its Web site, happyminyan.org.
God is Everywhere: My guide to appreciating God’s gift of life
by Micol Cohen
Purpose Without meaning, our lives are empty.
Truth Stay true. Commit to honesty and truth about yourself and the world around you.
Faith Faith is the base of everything. Faith in Hashem, Torah, tradition and yourself! Without faith, nothing is complete!
Renewal Today I’ve lived as I’ve never, ever lived until now! Every day marks a new start.
Hope Never despair! Never give up! There is ALWAYS hope! If you can spoil it – you can repair it!
Joy Simcha Tamid! Is a mitzvah to be joyous!
Overcoming In life we have to cross every narrow bridge.
Anxiety & The most important thing is NOT TO BE AFRAID.
Patience Never insist that everything will go just the way we want.
Thoughts Wherever our thoughts are, that is where we are!
Hitbodedut Keep talking to God.
Daily Path YOU HAVE TODAY. Yesterday and tomorrow pull us back.
Adversity Look for God and have faith. “GAM ZU LETOVA!” (All is for the best.)
“I WILL TAKE YOU ALONG A NEW PATH — ONE THAT IS VERY OLD BUT COMPLETELY NEW!”