Two young Jewish adults, one from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one from Kyiv, Ukraine, are the 2022 recipients of Moishe House’s fifth annual Michael H.K. Cohen Award and Travel Fellowship. The annual award is presented at Moishe House’s North American and Global Communities training conferences to two Moishe House residents and/or Moishe House Without Walls hosts who demonstrate a passion for adventure and travel, the desire to build bridges to new cultures, and a love for Judaism —the special qualities that the award’s namesake brought to this world before his premature death at the age of 28.

This year’s recipients, Moishe House Philadelphia-RSJ (Russian-speaking Jewish) resident Ben Yaroslavsky and Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW) host Ihor Dorfman, of Ukraine and currently living in Vienna, Austria, will have an opportunity to travel to any Moishe House community in 30+ countries worldwide to experience vibrant young adult communities in other regions and foster a stronger, global Jewish community.

Ben Yaroslavsky smiles at camera

Photo of Moishe House Philadelphia – RSJ resident Ben Yaroslavsky.


Ihor Dorman smiles at camera

Photo of MWHOW Host Ihor Dorfman.

Yaroslavsky has been a resident in Moishe House Philadelphia – RSJ since August 2020. He is described by his Moishe House Community Manager as a thoughtful community leader who is dedicated, creative, welcoming, and passionate about creating community among Jewish young adults in his city. In his two years as a Moishe House resident, Yaroslavsky has demonstrated tenacity as he works towards obtaining his master’s degree while working full-time in program management for an aerospace and defense company. He is a recent graduate of the Jewish Relief Agency’s Leadership Academy and is currently pursuing a leadership fellowship with the Russian American Jewish Experience, an organization under Olami.

“I’m surprised and honored to have been selected to receive the Michael H.K. Cohen award and it’s even more meaningful to be the first resident of an RSJ Moishe House to win this award. While I never got the chance to meet Michael, I feel connected to him through our shared love of travel. It makes me feel great and fills me with pride that so many people value my contributions to my community. I feel honored and motivated to keep building Jewish community in Philadelphia,” Yaroslavsky said.

Ihor Dorfman, of Kyiv, Ukraine and currently living in Vienna, Austria, has been an active Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW)host since November 2021. Displaced by the war, Dorfman saw the clear need to care for the new Jewish community he was catapulted into, by continuing to host programs for the young adults staying in temporary housing in Budapest, Hungary, to provide them with a Jewish experience despite the situation. Dorfman is described by the Moishe House MHWOW Program Specialist who works close with him as someone who looks for new ways to develop his programs and uses music and educational resources in order to combine traditional aspects with entertainment.

“When my Program Specialist called me and said that I was chosen for the Michael H.K. Cohen award, it was very pleasant and unexpected. It was even difficult for me to find words for this recognition. I didn’t know there was such an award. I just was doing what I know and enjoy – gathering Jews around me, reminding these Jews that they are Jews, making events, creating a pleasant environment and respecting and loving people who are around. I am very happy to be here and very grateful to Moishe House!,” Dorfman said.



Michael H.K. Cohen embodied Moishe House’s ethos — an insatiable curiosity and unwavering kindness; a passion for adventure and exploration; and a commitment to building and strengthening the Jewish community. A Boston native, Michael was a leader of his Jewish community, serving as Head Jewish Mentor for the Claremont Colleges and Treasurer of Claremont College Hillel. After graduation, Michael traveled extensively before settling in Beijing, China, where he built close connections with Chinese and expat friends and found a home-away-from-home in the Beijing Moishe House and the Kehillat Beijing Congregation. He was also an active member of the Moishe House community in Boston, Massachusetts after he returned from China. With a warmth and openness that made others feel their best, Michael liked nothing more than exploring, and he took every opportunity to visit the most remote regions of Asia, seeing the sights and meeting new people.