May 25, 2024
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Fleetwood Synagogue Names Rabbi Yosef Cohen as Head Rabbi

(Courtesy of Fleetwood Synagogue) Just a few weeks ago, Fleetwood Synagogue hosted Rabbi Yosef Cohen, his wife Eliana and their two kids, for Shabbat, and with a resounding positive response, the community has announced that he will be head rabbi beginning this September.

The shul held a communal lunch on Shabbat to welcome Rabbi and Rebbetzin Cohen to get to know them in an informal, relaxed manner. Rabbi Cohen shmoozed with the crowd, graciously answering questions about his visions for leadership and his Halachic philosophies.

During his shiur, Rabbi Cohen recalled speaking to his grandfather for a different perspective about what to speak about in his shiur. He likened this experience to always looking for new ideas in life, and how leading a new community is a learning experience that has immeasurable benefits for personal and communal growth.

Rabbi Cohen brings a background in leading and growing smaller communities and is looking forward to establishing new roots in the Fleetwood community. Expanding the community and connecting with congregants is a top priority for Rabbi Cohen. Having moved around between Israel, Boston and the tristate area, Rabbi Cohen is keenly aware of the importance of centering oneself in a home and the role of close family, friends and neighbors in life.

Born in Jerusalem, Rabbi Cohen came with his family to the United States as a child and grew up in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. After graduating from Yeshiva University with a degree in biology, Rabbi Cohen continued his studies at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology/Technion American Medical School in Haifa, where he completed requirements for his medical degree and is now working toward a doctoral degree in the U.S. He has served as a research assistant for Rabbi Dr. J. David Bleich for over five years, researching contemporary issues in medical ethics.

Rabbi Cohen received his rabbinic ordination in 2019 from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), and is studying for advanced ordination at Yeshiva University. From 2018-2021, Rabbi Cohen and Eliana served as the rabbinic couple for the small local community at the Technion, which comprised a diverse group of individuals ranging from ultra-Orthodox to non-religious students. In this role Rabbi Cohen spoke to the community on Shabbat mornings, led weekly study groups, answered religious and personal questions, and hosted with his wife weekly Shabbat meals. As a semicha student, he served as a summer rabbinic intern at Congregation Beth Aaron in Teaneck, and more recently was a scholar-in-residence for Shaarei Torah of Syracuse. Rabbi Cohen noted that he and his wife, who is from Edison, appreciate the warmth and close-knit feel of a small community. Eliana is completing her first year of dental school at New York Medical College, and the couple is “committed to combining Rabbinics and Medicine in our future.” Eliana brings with her several years of experience leading Tomchei Shabbos of Middlesex County, where she gained skills in fundraising, organizing and managing a large chesed operation.

Rabbi Cohen is excited about the prospects of leading a community with so many positives going for it: an affordable neighborhood in attractive Westchester County, just up the road from kosher shopping, restaurants and schools. Eliana is especially excited about her new commute to New York Medical College, only a 20-minute drive from Fleetwood.

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