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Rabbi Kathy Cohen

Rabbi Cohen was ordained from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1988. She holds a Masters in Hebrew Letter from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, as well as Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from Brandeis University. Immediately following ordination she served as the Assistant Rabbi at Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati.


Prior to coming to Roanoke, Rabbi Cohen served Temple Israel of Westport, Connecticut, as both the Associate Rabbi and the Rabbi/educator. From 1991 to 1996, Rabbi Cohen was involved with the formation of many new and innovative programs at Temple Israel, including a Special Needs Education class, a religious school program for interfaith families, and a parenting program for parents and caregivers of young children.

Rabbi Cohen's tenure as the spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel began in May 1996. During her years with Temple Emanuel, she has spearheaded the creation of a Jewish Preschool program, aided in a campaign for the restoration of the congregation’s Torah Scrolls, and was instrumental in the renovation and enlargement of Temple Emanuel. Under her guidance, the congregation formed both a Youth Group and a Brotherhood, as well as greatly expanding the variety of adult education courses offered to the community. As the Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, she has strongly promoted diversity within the public school systems.

She has served on the boards of Planned Parenthood, Community School, Roanoke Area Ministries (RAM), and Total Action Against Poverty (TAP). Rabbi Cohen has been the Jewish Chaplain for the Salem VA Medical Center, serving veterans in Southwestern Virginia. She has worked to increase interfaith dialogue throughout the Roanoke Valley and is an active member of Kiwanis of Roanoke and of the Roanoke Valley Ministers Association. She has taught courses at Hollins University and Roanoke College and has been a guest lecturer at Ferrum College. She enjoys reading, kayaking, and spending time with her family.

The Rabbi's blog can be found here.

Mon, October 15 2018 6 Cheshvan 5779