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 Devarim

By |2019-09-03T13:20:53-05:00July 18, 2018|

Dear Friends, Last week I had the opportunity to go on a Mindfulness Meditation Retreat as part of an ongoing clergy leadership program sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. I am part of the third cohort of rabbis and cantors from across the country and across denominational lines to

Shabbat Sh’lach

By |2018-06-04T21:26:22-05:00June 4, 2018|

I, like many of you, have been captivated by drawings that have at least two different images imbedded within them. What do you see first? What does your answer reveal about your outlook? I have been meditating on these questions in light of the Roseanne tweet storm and the Samantha

Shabbat Behar

By |2018-05-02T17:23:30-05:00May 2, 2018|

Dear Friends, On Monday, I read a story in the Chicago Tribune that was both horrifying and heartbreaking. 60 years ago, two sisters moved to a new town. They were 12 and 10 years old. As the “new kids” they found themselves completely isolated. They were bullied by the entire

Shabbat Vayikra

By |2018-03-14T18:02:18-05:00March 13, 2018|

The Light to Repair What’s Broken DAVAR ACHER BY: RABBI PAUL F. COHEN As my dear friend, colleague, and classmate Rabbi Lyon points out, Leviticus, Vayikra, is not a fan favorite. And yet, in the rabbinic curriculum, it is the first book that we are to teach our children. Among the

Shabbat T’rumah

By |2018-02-13T16:01:40-06:00February 13, 2018|

Dear Friends, On Monday, Barbara Miller and I had the privilege of standing with our Catholic Brothers and Sisters at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. We were invited to join them in a program of Fasting and Action on behalf of Dreamers, children brought to this country by their undocumented

Shabbat Mikeitz

By |2017-12-12T17:51:21-06:00December 12, 2017|

Dear Friends, On Tuesday night, we lit the first candles of Chanukah. It is a time of celebration, gift giving and receiving, family, and food. I cherish so many fond memories of Chanukah celebrations with my own family as a child. I remember the very first chanukiah I made in

Shabbat Chayei Sarah

By |2017-11-08T13:57:49-06:00November 8, 2017|

Dear Friends, I write this message in the wake of another mass shooting. This time a church in a small town in Texas was the scene of a horrific, murderous assault. The death toll continues to rise and the names of those wounded multiply.  With each mass shooting people ask

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