Rabbi Paul Cohen

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 Balak

By |2019-10-25T10:40:42-05:00July 10, 2019|

Dear Friends, The Torah portion of this week is called Balak. The name is that of the Moabite king who wished to destroy the Israelites. In order to make this easier, Balak hired the pagan prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites in order to weaken them. In Pirkei Avot 5:19

Shabbat Naso

By |2019-08-22T07:14:02-05:00June 6, 2019|

Dear Friends, A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of leading a delegation of 16 Temple Jeremiah members for the biennial Consultation on Conscience of the Religious Action Center. The RAC is the Reform voice in Washington, D.C. Working with the RAC we have strengthened our Social Justice Advocacy

Shabbat Kedoshim

By |2019-08-30T09:33:19-05:00May 1, 2019|

Dear Friends, Our tradition teaches us that there is nothing as whole as a broken heart (Menachem Mendel of Kotzk). Our hearts are truly broken. Attacks on houses of worship throughout our world: Pittsburgh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Poway, CA. So, where is the wholeness? The wholeness comes through strength

Shabbat Ki Tisa

By |2019-08-30T09:49:23-05:00February 20, 2019|

Dear Friends, Cathy and I finally had a chance to watch the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. I was surprised by how dark and sad the movie gets in the middle as Freddie Mercury, the lead singer, sinks into the depths of substance abuse under the spell of a personal manager

Shabbat Toldot

By |2019-09-03T12:56:42-05:00November 7, 2018|

Dear Friends, I write to you on the eve of election day. I am filled with angst, fear, and anxiety. Yet, I am also filled with hope. This morning I was asked if I thought/believed that people are basically good. Without hesitation I said, “Yes, I believe that people are

Temple Jeremiah Community Update – Oct. 31, 2018

By |2018-11-01T17:21:36-05:00November 1, 2018|

Dear Friends, I want to share with you plans for this weekend. Along with congregations throughout the country we are opening our doors to the community and asking people to #ShowUpForShabbat. Please bring your friends and neighbors to worship as one as we draw strength and comfort from one another and