Today is February 23, 2020 -
Rabbi Michael Kohn was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 7, 1944. He received his early Jewish education from the religious school at Temple Sinai, under the tutelage of Rabbi Sidney Greenberg and at the family dinner table on Shabbat, festivals and holidays. He attended his synagogue’s Junior Congregation services, and as he approached his Bar Mitzvah, occasionally served as its shaliah tzibbur, or service leader. In order to encourage him to continue with his religious studies, Rabbi Kohn’s grandfather donated a Sefer Torah in honor of his Bar Mitzvah, from which he read on several occasions before leaving for college.
After graduating from Cheltenham High School, he left for Emory University, where he obtained his degree in biology, and thereafter to the University of Chicago, where he obtained a master’s degree in microbial genetics. While working as a scientist at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research, he attended Seton Hall University’s School of Law, where his graduated at the top of his class. After serving as Law Clerk to a United States District Judge, he eventually moved to Cincinnati, where he would reside for 27 years and practice complex commercial litigation.
It was there that he met a colleague who encouraged him to become actively involved in the Jewish community. Rabbi Kohn served on and chaired a number of Federation committees and he eventually served several terms on its Board of Trustees and one term on its Executive Committee. He also served on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council, as Board Secretary for the Yavneh Day School, and as President of the Bureau of Jewish Education.
It was the Federation’s planning and allocations director who got Rabbi Kohn involved with Northern Hills Synagogue-Congregation B’nai Abraham, a small, but active, Conservative synagogue. He began reading Torah and leading services, and eventually served several years as chair of its Ritual Committee. It was after attending the United Synagogue’s IMUN program for lay ritual leaders and with the encouragement of his friends in the congregation, that Rabbi Kohn began to think about the possibility of entering the rabbinate. Several years earlier he had met and was befriended by Rabbi Mark Washofsky, who added his own brand of encouragement as they would wash dishes together following Pesah seders and Rosh HaShannah dinners at his home.
Rabbi Kohn entered the Academy for Jewish Religion in August 2003 and received his s’mikha, or ordination, in May 2009. As part of his requirements, he wrote a thesis titled: “Conservative and Reform Halakhah as Defined Through Responsa: Different Paths to Similar Conclusions”. Rabbi Kohn has been fortunate to have gained valuable experience as the Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Sons of Israel, In Upper Nyack, NY. Since 2008, he has served as Temple B’nai Abraham’s Rabbi.
Rabbi Kohn is a member of the Association of Rabbis and Cantors (ARC), The Greater Hartford Rabbinical Association and the New Haven Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Kohn has two married daughters, Susan Kohn, a retired attorney, who is married to Greg Arovas, and Stacey Privman, a speech pathologist, who is married to Glenn Privman, and five grandchildren, Rachel and Ethan Privman, Alex , Gabriella and Talia Arovas.