Jews, Church, & Civilization I


Martin Samuel Cohen*

– born and raised in New York City, where he received his B.A. summa cum laude from the City University of  New York and ordained as rabbi in 1978. In addition to his ordination, Rabbi Cohen earned a Ph.D. in the history of ancient Judaism in 1982. The recipient of post-doctoral fellowships at the Hebrew University in 1983 and Harvard University in 1993, Rabbi Cohen has also lectured on the History of Religion at Hunter College of the City University of New York and taught Bible and Talmud at both the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and at the Institute for Jewish Studies attached to the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

In 1986, Rabbi Cohen left Europe to come to Canada, where he accepted the pulpit of the Beth Tikvah Congregation in Richmond, British Columbia.In 1999, he left Canada to assume the pulpit of Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, California, the position he left in 2002 to become the rabbi of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center.

In addition to his work as teacher and rabbi, Rabbi Cohen is an author and has published two scientific studies in the history of pre-kabbalistic Jewish mysticism, four novels and four books of essays, including the Hebrew-language Sefer Ha‘ikarim Livnei Zemanenu. From 1997 to 2000, he served as chairman of the Publications Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly and is currently the chairman of the editorial board of the quarterly journal, Conservative Judaism. Rabbi Cohen’s edition of the Book of Psalms, called Our Haven and Our Strength was published by the Aviv Press in 2003. He is also the translator and editor of Shelter Rock’s prayer book, published in 2007.

An avid amateur pianist and a great lover of dogs, Rabbi Cohen is married to Joan Freeman Cohen and the father of two sons Max, Emil and a daughter, Lucy.

* Shelter Rock Jewish Center online, (accessed November 8, 2012)

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