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Jonathan Cohen, Rabbi, Ph.D.

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Dean, Associate Professor of Talmud and Halakhic Literature


Rabbinical Program, Cincinnati

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, an Israeli-born scholar, was appointed Assistant Professor in Talmud and Halakhic Literature at HUC-JIR, Cincinnati, in July 1998, and Director of the Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems in January 2000. In November 2003, he was awarded the Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship for Emerging Scholars, and he was named Affiliate Member of the Laboratoire Des etudes sur les Monothéismes of the French CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) in August 2005.

Dr. Cohen's interests include history of law, law and religion, and, in particular, the evolution of Jewish law in Christian Europe. He read law at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and earned his Ph.D. (Law) from the University of Liverpool. His research focused on the evolution of restitution as a civil remedy in medieval Jewish law. At the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies he was the first David Patterson Junior Fellow in Jewish Law.

He has recently written on the status of married women in bigamous Jewish households, on the evolution of Jewish welfare law, on rabbinic perceptions of Jewish solidarity, and on Jewish law and modernity. Dr. Cohen is currently editing a volume of studies in Jewish commercial law that will be published by the Jewish Law Association, and is writing on the development of halakhic writing and reasoning.

Selected Publications and Edited Works

Editor, Studies in Jewish Commercial Law, The Jewish Law Association, Binghamton, New York, 2009

‘The Evolution of “Talmud Torah” in Reform Prayer-books and Platforms in the Last Three Decades’ (Hebrew) in  The Reform Movement: Sociology , Education, and Theology, ed. A. Rosenak, forthcoming

‘Jewish Bioethics: Between Criticism and Interpretation’, in Midrash and Medicine, ed. W. Cutter, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011, pp 263-273

‘Housing Transactions, Transparency, and Halakhah: A Proposal, J. Cohen and Rabbi A. B. Stoller, in Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Journal, A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Spring 2010, pp 23-44

‘Kosher Slaughter, State Regulation of Religious Organizations, and the European Court of Human Rights’, in Intercultural Human Rights Law Review, Volume 4, 2009, pp 355-386

‘Studies in Jewish Commercial Law: Introduction’, in Studies in Jewish Commercial Law, The Jewish Law Association, Binghamton, New York, 2009, pp 1-18

‘On Martyrs and Communal Interests: Rabbinic Readings of the Samson Narrative’, The Review of Rabbinic Judaism 11:1, 2008, pp 49-72

‘Halakhic Issues: A Survey’, Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide, Oxford University Press, 2005, pp 341-351

‘Charitable Contributions, Communal Welfare Organizations, and Allegiance to the Community According to Rashba’, Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 72, 2001, pp 85-100

‘On the Marriage of Coverts, the Status of Married Jewish Women, and Rashba’s Responsum Vol. I, No.1205’, (Hebrew) CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Vol.46:4, 1999, pp 57-81

Book Reviews, Electronic Publications

The Evolution of Sacred Service, Avodat ha-Kodesh: A Journal of Sacred Service Learning, April 2013,

Editorial, Article Review: ‘On Medical Research and Human Dignity’, J. Cohen and Rabbi Michelle Werner, Clinical Anatomy 22, 2009, pp 161-162

Current and Future Courses
Animal Rights in Jewish Law Codes
Biblical Heroes in Halakhah
Civil Disabilities: A Comparative Study (HUC-JIR and UC College of Law)
Human Rights and Jewish Law (HUC-JIR and UC College of Law)
Human Rights and Religion (St. Thomas University School of Law)
Introduction to Jewish Law Codes
Introduction to Talmud: Selections from Seder Mo’ed
Introduction to Talmud: Sanhedrin Chapter 8
Introduction to Talmud: Tzedakah and its Regulation
Introduction to the Responsa Literature
Jewish and Catholic Bioethics (Xavier University)
Jewish Business Ethics: An Introduction
Jewish Law and Modern Legal Theory (HUC-JIR and UC College of Law)
Jewish Law in the Geonic Period
Memory, Calendar, and Jewish Identity
Models of Religious Leadership: Rabbinic Perspectives
Setting Communal Priorities: Rabbinic Guidelines
Spousal Abuse in Jewish Law
Spousal Abuse in Jewish Law and the Common Law
Welfare and Charity
Women in Public and Private Life: A Study in Medieval Rabbinic Texts
Public Lecture Topics
See CV