Our rabbi

 

 

Rabbi Barbara Kipnis Cohen has been the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Ahavath Sholom since July of 2005.  Rabbi Cohen previously served as Spiritual Leader of Temple Anshe Amunim of Pittsfield, Massachusetts where she was also Cantorial Soloist and Director of Religious Education.

A passionate student and teacher of Torah, Kabbalah and Hebrew, Barbara,  as she is called by the congregation,  leads study groups on periodic Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the year. Friday evening and Shabbat morning services, High Holy Days and special services are filled with community participation,  singing, poetry and meaningful silences in a blend of traditional and progressive worship. She has taught in congregations in the Northeast and Florida and local and regional Hadassah and Federation groups.

A compassionate listener, Barbara provides pastoral counseling and officiates at all life cycle events and will conclude a two year training as a Jewish Spiritual Director in the Bekhol Levavkha program at the Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in May, 2019.

 

Her love of Yiddish and Yiddishkeit is shared with us in the colorful expressions that weave their way into her conversation and teaching and particularly into her singing of Yiddish music.  Both Ahavath Sholom and the Jewish community have enjoyed her beautiful voice. As a small child, Barbara was fascinated with the idea introduced by her father that there is always a wondrous mystery behind the surface of things. That belief continues to inform her spiritual world view and infuses the way she teaches and guides our worship and music. She exemplifies how it affects our relationships with one another and the broader Jewish and interfaith communities.

Earlier in her life, Barbara was a scrap iron and steel broker in Chicago and then an interior designer. These and her other life experiences have added to her facility with all kinds of people and organizations.

She is the parent of two grown sons, Alex and Philip, who with his wife, Emily are the parents of  granddaughter, Charlotte, the apple of her Bubbie’s eye.