Cantorial Candidate Ken Cohen will be visiting MKT Friday, March 19 & Saturday, March 20
Cantor Kenneth B. Cohen will visit Midbar Kodesh Temple as a Cantorial candidate on Friday, March 19 & Saturday, March 20 via Zoom. He has served as the Cantor at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, California since 2016. There, he is the co-officiant at all Sabbath, festival, high holiday services and life-cycle events and has engaged young families through innovative musical programs, sacred conversations and parent gatherings. He has empowered and trained congregants to reach out to members in need of care and support during the COVID-19 pandemic and developed and led new Zoom programming, keeping the community connected to each other. Cantor Cohen organized multi-faith concerts across Los Angeles, promoting intercultural dialogue and raising awareness on diverse social issues. He fostered a love and connection to Judaism in Temple Ahavat Shalom's schools, including their early childhood program through the 7th grade.
Cantor Cohen grew up in suburban communities in and around New York City. He graduated from State University of NY at Binghamton where he received degrees in History (B.A.) and Ethnomusicology (M.A.). He later was ordained as Cantor from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in Manhattan. At New York University, he pursued his Ph.D. studies in Ethnomusicology, studying the Sephardic Jewish communities in Brooklyn, NY. He recently received an honorary Doctorate in Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
After serving Temple Shalom, a Conservative congregation in Greenwich, CT for over 20 years, Cantor Cohen moved to the west coast to serve as cantor for Beth Shir Shalom, a progressive Reform community in Santa Monica. His mission is to create a compassionate place where all members – especially those who are alone, stand apart and on the fringe – are invited into the fold with an open heart.
Cantor Cohen held the position of Founding Director of Cantorial Studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion in NY for nearly two decades, developing a new vision of the cantorate emphasizing the collaborative leadership roles of cantors and rabbis. While in Santa Monica, he established a Career Center for members of his synagogue and wider community to aid individuals who were without work, surrounding them with friendship, hope, and caring. In Los Angeles, Cantor Ken built bridges with Muslim, Baptist, and Unitarian communities through music and prayer services.