Reuven, as he was known to his adult education students and friends, or Rabbi Cohn, as he was known to his Maimonides students, loved delving deeply into the interpretation of texts from which he derived many insights. In his teaching, he drew on his extensive knowledge of scholarship on Judaism, Jewish history, and Jewish texts. He also had a sharp wit, evident in many moments throughout the recordings (including some good-natured ribbing), which still bring a smile—or even a laugh out loud—when listening to them. His classes were all quite participatory; he would ask important interpretive questions and elicit student responses. Most importantly, he believed in bringing out the contemporary relevance of the ancient texts to our everyday lives. Not only our Jewish religious or cultural lives, but to our lives living as human beings interacting with other people and our environment.
This website is a testament to the great teacher, great scholar, and great person that Reuven Cohn was. Its purpose is to share and perpetuate his teaching. It is a tribute to his memory.
The Cohn and Novich families intend to post new content to this site annually in his memory, including recordings and some of his unpublished written material. Click to sign up to be notified when new content is posted.
Those who enjoy these recordings are encouraged to make a donation to Ma'ayan, an organization he championed and taught at for many years. Ma'ayan has provided Reuven's family with numerous recordings of his teaching. See www.maayan.org.
For a biography of Reuven Cohn, see About Rabbi Reuven Cohn.
From the Passover Haggadah to the Mishnah and Back:
An Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
Recordings of a class held over three nights for the purpose of being on this website. Includes seven .mp3 files and one .pdf handout.
The Temple (Mishnah Middot)
Ma'ayan Shloshim memorial for Lois Morgan. This is one .mp3 file (Mishnah Tamid Shloshim shuir (2015) recording), and one .pdf (Mishnah Tamid Shloshim shuir (2015) Source Sheet).
Piyyut of the High Holidays (2011, Ma'ayan)
A set of three classes on the liturgy for Rosh Hashanah. (Some knowledge of the texts and of Hebrew terminology is presumed, however this class is still accessible to all.) This consists of three .mp3 files (Piyut of High Holidays #1 recording, Piyut of High Holidays #2 recording (incomplete), and Piyut of High Holidays #3 recording), and two .pdf files (Piyut Handout #1 (2011), and Piyut Handout #2 for recording #3 (2011)).
This website originated as a project by Dan Bricklin, an adult education student and admirer of Reuven Cohn. Reuven rarely published his work, placing most of his emphasis on the live interpersonal interaction of the teaching encounter. Dan convinced Reuven to record his class on the Haggadah and make his teachings available to a wider audience. The Cohn and Novich families are grateful to Dan for first helping to preserve Reuven's teachings and make them more widely available, and for helping to expand the site after Reuven's passing. The Cohn and Novich families would also like to give a special thank you to Michael Bentley, a longtime student and friend of Reuven, for digitizing the recordings originally made on cassette tapes. And thank you to Ma'ayan for giving all of their recordings to Reuven's family.