On August 28, 1992 while we were returning from Friday night prayers, a drunk driver crashed into our car, killing our 18-year-old daughter Liana and injuring all five other members of our family. The very next evening, Liana was scheduled to fly to Boston to start her first year of college.
What happened to us was tragic. Our survival was nothing less than G-d's will. Nature teaches us that despite all, life continues. Our only remaining choice is to live our lives to the fullest and continue doing the best of our ability. Therefore, we decided death and tragedy would not stop our lives. We resumed smiling while respecting the memory of our departed one.
We never contacted the drunk driver. But he admitted to authorities:
"He was bored, and he went to a bar to drink!"
This statement stayed with us for a long time. Unconsciously, I would compare my daughter, the victim, to the bored criminal who filled his empty life with alcohol because he was bored.
Liana never was bored. She was busy studying and planning for her future. She was fluent in five languages. She played the piano beautifully. She performed in numerous recitals, and she was awarded in many music competitions.
She earned medals in the Academic Decathlon for her paintings and sports, especially in fencing. She ran the Los Angeles Marathon many times. She enjoyed being with people, her family, her three siblings. She helped her friends, and she organized many activities at school.
Our family considers education, music, the arts and dance important factors of life, a necessity for the true development of mind, body and spirit. Unfortunately whenever the United States government needs funds, they usually cut from the education budget, especially music and art programs. Therefore, in the honor of Liana's memory, we decided to create a program that will inspire everyone, especially youth who are inclined toward music and arts.
The Liana Cohen Foundation is a non-profit organization created for the betterment of music, arts and dance. We hope that through different programs we will encourage and help the participants to get more involved in music, arts and dance. We hope to provide scholarships and help those who need them. We believe all who are involved in music and arts have more possibilities in life. After studying, they will be better equipped to expand the horizons of imagination and creativity in their lives as well as the lives of everyone around them.
Although we will always miss seeing our beautiful Liana, her spiritual presence has given us the strength, the inspiration to continue our lives productively. We witness and we bless the miracles
that happen in our lives every day, especially since Liana's physical departure. We believe, therefore, that death is not the end of all but is, in fact, the beginning of a new life.
The eleven years of the Liana Cohen Music Festival have, indeed, been magical. The Festival always takes place on March 25, which is Liana's birthday. If you have been present at one of the Festivals, you are well aware of its unusual significance. If you have not participated yet, please plan to attend this year so you can witness this special evening and enjoy the amazing young people who display their remarkable talents.