An endowed lectures series, named for Rabbi Hillel Cohn, to enhance an understanding of different cultures and religions, and to celebrate the Jewish contribution to society, will be held at Cal State San Bernardino on March 8.
The inaugural Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience will take place at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art from 7-9 p.m. The event is free, but space is limited. To RSVP call (909) 537-5004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The lecture series was created by CSUSB’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and will feature renowned speakers who will be invited to speak to our wider community, said Rafik Mohamed, dean of the college.
The inaugural speaker is scholar Rabbi David Ellenson, chancellor emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, and a leader of the Reform movement in Judaism.
Internationally recognized for his publications and research in the areas of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history, Ellenson’s scholarly specialties include modern Orthodoxy and Judaism’s responses to modernity. His books include “After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity,” which won the National Jewish Book Council’s award as the outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005.
The Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience was established at CSUSB in recognition of Rabbi Cohn’s many achievements as a religious and community leaders. This is the first time in the history of the California State University system that a rabbi has been so honored.
Rabbi Cohn served as rabbi of Congregation Emanu El in San Bernardino from 1963 to 2001, and returned to lead the congregation for the 2014-15 while the congregation sought a new rabbi.
Cohn has been active in many community organizations in the San Bernardino area. He now serves on the Institutional Review Board at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. He also serves as a member of the Diocesan Health Care Committee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino. He was the founding chairperson of the City of San Bernardino Human Relations Commission and currently serves as a member of that commission.
Cohn also produced and hosted “The Many Faces of San Bernardino: Dialogues on Diversity”, a regular half-hour program on KCSB (Channel 3). He was one of the founders of Inland Congregations United for Change and currently serves as a board member of The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, The Unforgettables Foundation and The Brightest Star.
A native of Germany, Cohn was brought to the United States as an infant by his parents who were refugees from Nazism. Cohn grew up in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California and received a B.A. in political science from UCLA in 1959. He received rabbinical training at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and Cincinnati, where he was ordained as a rabbi in 1963 and received a master of arts degree. He earned a doctor of ministry degree from the Claremont School of Theology in 1984, specializing in ethics and communication. In 1988 he was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the Hebrew Union College.
For more information on the Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience, contact the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.
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