Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen
Rabbi Cohen became a full-time rabbi at CBST in August, 2002, three months after she was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Passionately committed to progressive and feminist Judaism, she is an activist and an advocate for full inclusion and celebration of LGBT Jews in the Conservative movement and the larger Jewish world.
She is also an advocate for LBGT civil rights, including the right to marriage for same-sex couples in New York state and nationally. Rabbi Cohen has been profiled in The New York Times and was named one of the “Heeb Hundred,” Heeb Magazine ’s “hundred people you need to know about.” She was honored at the 2005 Ma’yan Seder as a leading young Jewish feminist activist.
Rabbi Cohen lectures and facilitates university, synagogue and other Jewish and interfaith groups on Jewish, feminist, and gay and lesbian issues. She worked as a volunteer chaplain at the Family Assistance Center for families of victims and survivors of September 11 and participated in an interfaith panel for Women's History Month at the Riker's Island Correctional Facility.
Rabbi Cohen has received numerous awards for her scholarship and leadership. At her ordination, she received the Albert Pappenheim Prize for Practical Rabbinics and the Israel H. Levinthal Prize in Homiletics. Rabbi Cohen was a recipient of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. She graduated with honors from Brown University in Comparative Literature and Judaic Studies in 1996.
As a rabbinical student, Rabbi Cohen served communities in France, England, and her native Montreal. She was a rabbinical intern at Ma’yan, the Jewish Women's Project of the JCC of Manhattan, conceiving and developing Ma'yan's database of innovative Jewish rituals with other national Jewish feminist organizations. Rabbi Cohen worked as a translator for Dr. Yossi Beilin when he served as Israel's Minister of Justice and in his office in the Knesset. She also studied at Elul, a beit midrash in Jerusalem where secular and religious Israelis study together.
Rabbi Cohen is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly and the New York Board of Rabbis, and serves on the executive committee of the Downtown Kehillah, a consortium of downtown New York City synagogues and Jewish institutions.