Ruth Gottesman Cohen Parenting Library

Ruth Gottesman Cohen Parenting Library

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The Ruth Gottesman Cohen parenting library is open to all members in need of parenting resources. Members may check out books through the Early Childhood office.

Who was Ruth Gottesman Cohen?

Ruth Gottesman Cohen
December 10, 1924 – December 6, 2009

Ruth Gottesman Cohen was a life-long learner and a pioneer of early childhood and parent education in New Orleans. She was the beloved Director of the Jewish Community Center Nursery School for many years. During her tenure, she developed several innovative programs for young children and their parents, and helped create the highly respected school the JCC has today. She trained several teachers who went on to direct early childhood programs in the community. She encouraged dads’ involvement in their children’s lives with Bagels and Blocks, a fun yearly event. She was a popular teacher of Parent Effectiveness Training and began parent support groups for parents of infants and toddlers. The adventure playground was funded and built under her guidance.

Always an outstanding student, she was proud of representing the region in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. at the age of 9. She began college at age 15, and was selected for Phi Beta Kappa Scholastic Honorary Fraternity while at Sophie Newcomb College. She later earned two masters degrees from Tulane: Master of Early Childhood Education, while in her 40’s, and Master of Social Work at the age of 60. She had a successful career as a therapist in private practice, specializing in play therapy with young children.

She was proud of her family and loved spending time with them, as a group and one-on-one. She met her husband of 64 years, Dr. Alvin Cohen, at the Tulane University library, where both were working their way through college. They were the loving parents of four children, who gave them 12 grandchildren and 11 (and counting) great-grandchildren. She was generous and welcoming with her large extended family, offering warm hospitality, active involvement, and a sense of fun. Due to her expertise and accessibility, she was often asked for advice, which was always supportive. In-laws and friends were equally welcomed with open arms and heart.     

Her vibrant life included the pursuit of many interests, including dancing of all types, painting and sculpture, Jewish organizations, various academic classes, and volunteering at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

She is remembered as a devoted wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, therapist and teacher.

For more information about the JCC Nursery School, contact the Nursery School Director, Adrienne Shulman, at 897.0143 or adrienne@nojcc.org.