Rabbi Mark David Cohn
Rabbi Mark David Cohn joined Temple Sholom in July 2023. Below is his statement.
I have felt extremely privileged to serve in the capacity of rabbi. I feel so very fortunate to have done the work I have done with people: from pastoral to communal, educational to social. The work and role of the rabbi is sacred and I have had the chance to strive for holiness by making Judaism relevant and present for our people during times of distress, transition, and joy. I am proud of my use of music and the use of text, the discussions and place of Israel in my work, upholding our history and the teachings of my teachers and those long before me. I am proud of connections I forged on behalf of the local Jewish community with other faith-based organizations and houses of worship, universities, community groups, politicians, and countless individuals. I have worked consistently since ordination to bring Judaism and Israel, a sense of Jewish peoplehood and communal responsibility into everything and every moment.
As far as professional experience and education, my undergraduate degree (who can remember that far back!?) comes from UCLA (1990) where I studied History. I considered law school – which took me to Washington, DC for a year – as well as being a high school history teacher. I obtained a master’s degree in History from Lehigh University in 1993 – focusing on the American Jewish experience from the late 19th century into the 20th century. I studied at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Jerusalem and Cincinnati campuses) and was ordained in 1998. I served as an assistant rabbi at Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa, FL for three years and then “went solo” by taking a pulpit in Winston-Salem, NC where I served for twenty-one years, completing my tenure there in June, 2022 and was honored with the title “Emeritus Rabbi” for this special community of the Tar Heel State.
I moved for love – namely to Longmeadow, MA where Rabbi Amy Wallk, my recent (at the time!) bride lived as she serves as the rabbi for Temple Beth El in Springfield, MA.
I began working with Temple Sholom in July of 2023 and feel very blessed to have found a congregation of warm and welcoming souls – searching for meaningful Jewish life and community. Nestled in the beautiful terrain of Litchfield County with the Housatonic River flowing behind the temple’s property, I look forward to help share, teach, guide, and imagine what Jewish life is and can be for New Milford and beyond.
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