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Aryeh Cohen

Aryeh Cohen is a professor, a social justice activist, a rabbi, and a lecturer. He teaches all things Rabbinic Literature (Mishnah, Talmud, midrash) and social justice at the Ziegler School for Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University. Prof. Cohen is a founder and member of the Shtibl Minyan, a former chair of the Boards of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and CLUE. He is the co-convener of the Black Jewish Justice Alliance and is the author of Justice in the City: An Argument from the Sources of Rabbinic Judaism (2012).


חג הכנסה לברית | Ḥag hakhnassah labrit (On Entering the Covenant), by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

Contributed on: 22 Feb 2015 by Aryeh Cohen |

In the weeks leading up to the birth of our first child in 1997, my partner and I spent a lot of time thinking about the brit. Whether it was a boy or a girl we knew that we would have a celebration. If it was a boy we would have a brit, yet we were not happy with the ceremony as it stood. If it was a girl we needed a ceremony which was equally powerful and yet didn’t draw blood. In response to these two concerns I wrote a liturgy for what I called a chag hachnassah labrit/celebration of entering the covenant which could be easily adapted to boys and girls, and I wrote a piyyut (a liturgical poem) for a milah/a circumcision. . . .

Ḳinah (lamentation) for Yitsḥaq Rabin, by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2004)

Contributed on: 03 Nov 2017 by Aryeh Cohen |

A ḳinah (lamentation) for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, assassinated on 4 November 1995, the yahrzeit of which is י״א בְּמַרחֶשְׁוָן ‎(11 Marḥeshvan). . . .

ברכת הורים לבר או בת מצווה | Parents’ blessing for a Bar or Bat Mitsvah by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

Contributed on: 19 Feb 2015 by Aryeh Cohen |

I wrote this brachah on the occasion of my son Oryah’s bar mitsvah. The Aramaic/Hebrew and the translation are mine. My partner and I recited the blessing after my son was called up to the Torah. The brachah replaces the ברוך שפטרנו which is recited in some communities. This blessing (which is basically self-explanatory) expresses gratitude for Divine favor leading to this moment and a prayer for Heavenly guidance for my son’s continued path. Though the translation is gender neutral in relation to God, the Hebrew/Aramaic is gendered masculine. This is my practice with regards to my children. I bless my daughter with feminine God language and my son with masculine God language. The blessing can be grammatically adapted for a bat mitsvah. . . .

פיוט למילה | Piyyut for a Milah (circumcision) by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

Contributed on: 10 May 2017 by Aryeh Cohen |

This is a piyyut (liturgical poem) which is intended to be recited at a brit. It is connected to my liturgy for a “chag hachnassah labrit” (available here). The explanation for the chag is also the basis for the piyyut. Translation into English by Shoshanna Gershenson, Maeera Schreiber and Aryeh Cohen. . . .

תפילה למדינת ישראל | Prayer for the State of Israel, by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2002)

Contributed on: 15 Jul 2015 by Aryeh Cohen |

My heart, my heart goes out to you Zion Tears, jubilation, celebration, grieving Did we not dream a dream that came to be? And here it is—both song and lament. . . .

אוֹי לַלֵב שֶׁאֵינָה שְׁבוּרָה | Woe to the Heart that is not Broken, a ḳinnah by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2019)

Contributed on: 27 Jan 2020 by Aryeh Cohen |

A ḳinnah composed in response to the agonizing and cruel United States immigration policy implemented under the presidency of Donald Trump. . . .

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