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Rabbi Steve Cohen

Rabbi Steve Cohen

Rabbi Steve Cohen has served as the senior rabbi of Congregation B’nai B’rith since 2004, after nineteen years as the rabbi and Executive Director of the Hillel Foundation at UC Santa Barbara.

In his capacity as senior rabbi, Steve’s primary responsibilities include teaching adults and youth, guiding the development of the congregation’s educational, worship, social action and cultural programs, providing pastoral counseling for congregants in need, helping families move through the great passages of life (birth, coming of age, marriage and death) with love and meaning, and working closely with the volunteer leadership of the congregation to build a vibrant Jewish community.

Rabbi Cohen has written two short books distilling his approach to Judaism: “Through the Open Door: Another Introduction to Judaism,” (2004) and “Seven Circles: A Framework For Shared Jewish Life”(2nd edition, 2009) which you can find and read here on this website. His primary scholarly interest is in midrash and classical Torah commentary. An archive of Rabbi Cohen’s sermons, 2004-2011, can be accessed here. Also see Rabbi Cohen’s Archive.

A native of Rochester, New York, Rabbi Cohen was born in 1957. He received his undergraduate degree in American History from Harvard University in 1979 and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985. He and his wife Marian have been married since 1986 and have two grown children, Rachel and Ari.

In recent years, Steve and Marian have taken up long-distance backpacking and in 2013 they hiked the entire 211 miles of the John Muir Trail through the High Sierra. In his free time, Steve enjoys studying Torah with friends, going to the movies, listening to a wide range of music, and davening at sunrise with the birds in his backyard.

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