About Rabbi Paul Cohen

Rabbi Paul F. Cohen, D.Min., D.D. is originally from Chicago. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Grinnell College where he studied biology and comparative religion. Upon graduation, he moved to Minneapolis where he worked for two years in a short-term residential treatment program for delinquent adolescents. Rabbi Cohen received his Masters of Arts and rabbinic ordination and the honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, celebrating 25 years in the rabbinate in March 2015, from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he served as the student rabbi for the United Hebrew Congregation in Ft. Smith, Arkansas and the auxiliary chaplain at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Rabbi Cohen's rabbinical thesis was titled "Modes of Divine Communication: Some Aspects of the Rabbinic Views" which focused on some of the less conventional ways rabbis expect to send and receive communication vis a vis heaven. Rabbi Cohen was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Bangor Theological Seminary in May 2001. His dissertation is entitled "Digging Our Parent's Wells" and deals with congregational renewal. While in Cincinnati, Rabbi Cohen met his wife, Cathy, and together they moved to Norfolk, Virginia where he served as the assistant and then associate rabbi of Ohef Sholom Temple. Active on many community boards of directors, Rabbi Cohen was the founding president of the South Hampton Roads Campaign for the Homeless. Immediately prior to serving Temple Jeremiah, Rabbi Paul Cohen was the spiritual leader of Congregation Bet Ha'am in South Portland, Maine and served on the boards of the Jewish Federation, Cedars Nursing Home, the Equity Institute and the Cancer Community Center. He was the president of the Greater Portland Interfaith Council, a founding member of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination and the Maine Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Choices and sat on its executive board. Politically and communally active, Rabbi Cohen has been asked on several occasions to offer testimony before state legislative committees. Rabbi Cohen served as chair of the Rabbinic Advisory Committee of Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute, he is President of the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis and is a past board member of the Interfaith Housing Center of the North Shore (now called Open Communities), was a founding board member of Family Promise of Chicago North Shore, served as President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and is a member of the Winnetka Interfaith Council, served on the Ethics Committee of the North Shore Senior Center. He is a graduate of the Kellogg Management Education for Jewish Leaders program, sits on the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation Board of Directors and the Jewish Center for Addiction Advisory Board and serves on the Clergy Advisory Board for the Public Defender of Cook County. He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Tzav

By |2022-03-17T12:07:59-05:00March 17, 2022|

Beloved Friends, This week we celebrated the festival of Purim. So much of our observance revolves around the idea of celebrating. On Sunday, we had our annual Purim carnival with music, games, and costumes. On Wednesday night (Erev Purim), we had Jeremiah’s Got Talent show and megillah reading. The

Shabbat Tetzaveh

By |2022-02-09T13:40:43-06:00February 9, 2022|

Beloved Friends,  I am so grateful for the gift of the Sabbatical month, and I am so glad to be back with all of you. This month is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Advocacy and Inclusion Month, also known as, JDAAIM. This week we read from the Torah portion, Tetzaveh, in

Shabbat Vayigash

By |2021-12-07T13:59:25-06:00December 7, 2021|

Beloved Friends,  I write to you as we close out our celebration of Chanukah. As the glow emanating from all nine candles on this last night fills my eyes and my soul, I reflect on the discussion that took place centuries ago about how we should use the Chanukah menorah and celebrate

Shabbat Vayishlach

By |2021-11-17T15:32:15-06:00November 17, 2021|

Beloved Friends,  One of my favorite teachers at Grinnell College was Dr. Ed Moore, of blessed memory. When I first met him in 1979, his eyesight was already failing him due to macular degeneration. Knowing this, he committed all of the works of William Shakespeare to memory so that

High Holy Days 5782 & COVID-19 Update – August 25th

By |2021-08-26T10:05:53-05:00August 26, 2021|

Beloved Friends, As we approach the High Holy Days this year there are three words that I have aligned with the traditional words of the Unetaneh Tokef prayer. Towards the end of the prayer, we read: וּתְשׁוּבָה וּתְפִלָּה וּצְדָקָה מַעֲבִירִין אֶת רֹעַ הַגְּזֵרָה which I translate as: repentance, prayer, and tzedakah are actions that bring hope for a

High Holy Days 5782 Update – August 20th

By |2021-08-26T10:03:27-05:00August 26, 2021|

Beloved Friends, Tonight, we begin the second Shabbat of the Hebrew Month of Elul. As I have been reflecting upon the upcoming New Year and the challenges we face, the hope we nurture, Mussar has been a source of comfort and inspiration. Specifically, the middah, the character trait of Hitlamdut, “teaching yourself;” the aspect of our

Go to Top