Hirsch Cohen (1862 - 1950) MP

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Nicknames: "Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Cohen", "Tzvi Hirsch Cohen", "Maggid of Montreal"
Birthplace: Budwitz, Poland
Death: Died in Montreal, Canada
Managed by: Samuel Rosenberg
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Hirsch Cohen

Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Cohen was born in 1862 in Lithuania and received his rabbinical ordination in Vilna and Volozhin. He was dean of the Canadian Rabbinate and president of the Montreal Council of Orthodox Rabbis; opened the first session of Canadian Jewish Congress with a prayer in 1919; founder of Jewish Community Council of Montreal (Va'ad Ha'ir) and Talmud Torah School; active in Mizrachi organization of Orthodox Zionists; served on executive of Federation of Jewish Philanthropies; author of many learned articles on religion. He died in 1950. Source

Maggid of Montreal: Rabbi Hirsch Cohen by Steven Lapidus - Abstract

Tzvi Hirsch Cohen was one of those pioneering eastern European clergy who immigrated to North America in the early twentieth century. So many others stayed put. His goal was to provide a foundation for traditional Judaism in the New World, which he sought to fulfill while serving for decades as Montreal’s first Chief Rabbi.

In his speeches, sermons, and writings, Cohen considered how to merge his traditionalist eastern European values and customs with the social mores of democratic and egalitarian Canada. He found particularly vexing the multiple roles rabbis in the New World were called upon to play. In Europe, rabbis were specialized. Some were preachers, others halakhic experts.

Cohen viewed the two as being in a state of perennial tension, and he had great difficulty seeing how one rabbi could function as both. Using himself as an example, Cohen’s description of his internal struggles offers a glimpse into the challenges rabbis in the immigrant Orthodox community in early twentieth century Canada had to face. Source

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Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Cohen, dean of the Canadian rabbinate and president of the Montreal Council of Orthodox Rabbis who died on Friday at the age of 90, took place here yesterday. A native of Lithuania, Rabbi Cohen came to Canada in 1889 and was one of the first organizers of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He opened the first session of the C.J.C. in 1919 with a benediction.

Rabbi Cohen also played a leading role in the organization of what is now the United Talmud Torahs of Montreal. In World War I he formed the Central War Relief Committee, which aided many war victims both in Europe and Palestine. In the early 1920′s he instituted this city’s Kashruth-control system. He also founded and presided over the Jewish Arbitration Court here for many years. Source

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Zvi Hirsch Cohen, Chief Rabbi Canada's Timeline

1862
1862
Budwitz, Poland
1898
June 12, 1898
Age 36
Montreal, Canada
1950
1950
Age 88
Montreal, Canada