Obituaries


Rabbi William Cohen
COHEN, Rabbi William Cohen, 89 years of age, of West Hartford, Rabbi Emeritus of Beth David Synagogue of West Hartford, died Saturday, November 7, 2009. Born in New York, NY, he was the son of the late Shlomo and Dvora Cohen. He graduated from Yeshiva College of Yeshiva University and its affiliated Rabbinical School, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in New York City from which he received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities in 1976. He served as President of the Rabbinical Council of Connecticut and on the Executive Board of the Rabbinical Council of America, as well as Chairman of the West Hartford Rabbinical Council. Rabbi Cohen served for 50 years as Rabbi of Beth David Synagogue, the first Orthodox Synagogue in West Hartford. Prior to that he served two years as Rabbi in Middletown. He was an ardent Zionist and Israel was always dear to his heart. For many years he would spend half of the year in Israel and still has a home in Jerusalem. Rabbi Cohen served with the late Rabbi Haskel Lindenthal and Rabbi Abraham AvRutick on the first Hartford Kashrut Commission. He was one of the earliest supporters of the then named Yeshiva of Hartford and taught classes there. He was the founder of the Midrasha, the local after school Hebrew High School, and taught classes there. He was active in the creation of the Hebrew High School of New England. Rabbi Cohen traveled with his late wife to the Soviet Union in 1976, where he met with leading Refusniks such as Natan Sharansky and Ida Nudel, and he visited Jewish communities in Hungary, Romania and Czechoslavakia.

He leaves his wife, Sylvia (Schechtman) Cohen; his daughter, Devra Cohen Solonche of West Hartford; his son, Attorney David I. Cohen and his wife Beth of Stamford; five grandchildren, Shira Aviva Pockriss and her husband Philip, Yael Rena Solonche, Dr. Noam Shlomo Cohen, Avital Cohen and Ilan Yaacov Tzvi Cohen and his wife Anna; two great-grandchildren, David James Kandel and Zahava Miriam Kandel; and two sisters, Miriam Appel of Queens, NY, and Naomi Schechter and her husband Herbert of Brooklyn, NY. He was predeceased by his first wife, Miriam (Irom) Cohen and by his son-in-law, David J. Solonche.

Funeral services will be held Monday, November 9, 2009 at 11:00 AM in the Sanctuary of Beth David Synagogue, 20 Dover Rd., West Hartford with Rabbi Yitzchok Adler and several Rabbis from Yeshiva University officiating. Interment will follow in Beth David Synagogue Cemetery, Wethersfield. Shiva will be observed at the home of his daughter. Memorial contributions may be made to Beth David Synagogue, 20 Dover Rd., West Hartford 06119 earmarked for a permanent memorial to be erected at a future date. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. For further information, directions, or to share memories of Rabbi Cohen with his family, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com.

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