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Our Rabbi


Rabbi Michael Cohen


Since becoming the rabbi of Young Israel of Oak Park in 2008, Rabbi Michael Cohen has emulated the piety with which G-d interacts with all people, including those “whose spirits are humble” and “whose hearts are downtrodden,” as described in the Book of Isaiah (57:15).

“I really take my inspiration as a rabbi from this verse,” Rabbi Cohen says. “I aim to be available and accessible to congregants at all times, to have sincere and honest interactions with them, and to revive their spirits when they are troubled.”

Personal engagement with Jews of all stripes has been the hallmark of Rabbi Cohen’s career, from outreach efforts in areas of Western Canada where no Torah centers had ever existed before to growing Detroit’s largest Sephardic synagogue.

Born in London, England, Rabbi Cohen went to Carmel College for secondary school in Wallingford, England, and then to Gateshead Yeshiva in the north of England. He then attended the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and obtained smicha from Yeshivat Nishmat Israel in Bayit VeGan.

“I loved my years in Israel,” Rabbi Cohen recalls. There he met and married his wife Devora, a daughter of philosopher Rabbi Nathan Lopes-Cardozo. They have 4 children and grandchildren living here and in Israel.

In 2008 Rabbi Cohen assumed the mantle at Young Israel of Oak Park, Michigan’s largest Orthodox shul, which comprises 200 families and offers an array of programming from Israel-centered activities through B’nai Akiva, lunch and learn, women’s classes, Beit Midrash, Ulpan, and youth programs. 

According to members, Rabbi Cohen, who enjoys exercise and biking outdoors, has distinguished himself by being approachable on a variety of topics, from personal to professional. 

“It’s a privilege to have this relationship with a shul community,” Rabbi Cohen says. “I like to think I have a personal connection with each member.”  


Sun, April 22 2018 7 Iyyar 5778