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Cookie Markoff

When I was in High School, in Mt. Vernon, New York, I knew I wanted to become a teacher. After college and obtaining my Masters in History from Columbia University, I taught in Social Studies at Lincoln High School in Yonkers, never thinking I would become involved in Jewish Education. After having 3 children, and living in Northern Westchester, I was asked if I would teach a class of young children at The Pound Ridge Jewish Community. I was hooked, and Jewish Education became part of my life. In 1983, I became the first Principal of Congregation B’nai Yisrael.

What excited me about this new position was that this young congregation was enthusiastic about becoming involved in the Union of Reform Judaism’s new education project, To See The World Through Jewish Eyes. Through this curriculum, children and adults alike, explored their Jewish identity by bringing all aspects of our Jewish heritage into their lives.

Congregation B’nai Yisrael became a family, exploring and learning together.

In 2000, I decided it was time to slow down, and just be a member of CBY. I served on various committees, chaired the membership committee, served on the Board, received the Howard Peyser Award, and served as Interim Principal from 2009 - 2011. After 2011 I remained engaged with the JID Program as a teacher until 2019.

At the present time, I am a member of Board of Trustees of The Jewish Education Project, a member of several UJA task forces, as well as The Special Needs Round Table, and Building Communities, which advocates and supports Jewish families with special needs.

The membership, clergy, and staff of our congregation are very much a part of my life and that of my family. It is a place where my family worships, where three of my seven grandchildren have attended Religious school, celebrated their Bar and B’not Mitzvot, and become confirmands. It is our home.


  • Congregant since: 1984
  • Board member: 2014 (Previous 2009-2011)
  • Board roles / Committees: Religious Practices
  • Residence: Pound Ridge, NY
  • Family: Husband, Harris and 3 children
  • School: Columbia University
  • Where grew up: Mt. Vernon, New York
  • Other roles and organizations: The Jewish Education Project, The Special Needs Round Table, Building Communities, Founding CBY School Principal
  • Activities / interests: All things Jewish, Sailing and Traveling
  • Contact info:
Sat, September 30 2023 15 Tishrei 5784