Rabbi Matt Cohen, our Associate Rabbi, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended The Ohio State University where he was graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1999. He was ordained a Rabbi from The Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2012. During his rabbinic studies, Rabbi Cohen served as rabbinic intern at Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, KY and as student rabbi for congregations in Texarkana, TX and Terre Haute, IN. Prior to his rabbinic studies, he began his congregational career as Membership Coordinator for Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, OH (an eighteen hundred family congregation) where he created and coordinated a group for young adults in their 20s and 30s and directed the synagogue religious school music program.
Here at Temple, Rabbi Cohen oversees the B’nai Mitzvah Program, the Temple Youth Programming, teaches the 11th and 12th grade M’china class and various other life-long learning classes, and shares all rabbinic duties with the Senior Rabbi. As an accomplished musician, Rabbi Cohen often leads our congregational worship services with music, heads the teen-band “The Jew Crew,” and leads the all-adult band “The Friday Night Live Band” which he formed three years ago.
Rabbi Cohen is regularly involved with interfaith programming at UNF (University of North Florida), including a monthly panel discussion called “Talk Better Together” and the annual Interfaith Passover Seder. He has served the City of Jacksonville for two years as a Commissioner on the Human Rights Commission where he has worked on issues such as Juvenile Justice and Civil Citations and LGBTQ human rights.
Rabbi Cohen is a blues guitarist by trade and can be found at open blues jams around town. Recently, Rabbi Cohen has a new found passion for physical exercise, health and wellness and can be regularly found on his CrossFit gym floor. When he is not at Temple, exercising, or jamming the blues, Rabbi Cohen spends quality time with his wife, Erin Cohen, the Director of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville, and his six year old son, Ayden (who is active in all sports, including flag-football and karate). As Rabbi Cohen puts it, “The reason I started CrossFit is so that I can keep up with Ayden. So far, so good!”
Over the past four years, Rabbi Cohen, Erin, and Ayden have been proud to call Jacksonville their home and look forward to enjoying many more years with our Temple family.