Rabbi Michael M. Cohen received ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1990. He was the Rabbi of the Israel Congregation in Manchester Center, Vermont from 1990-2000 and now serves as the Rabbi Emeritus. He has also served as the President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
While on sabbatical from the Israel Congregation in 1996, Rabbi Cohen was a founding faculty member of The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (www.arava.org) located on Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel. The Arava Institute is the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges. He has worked for the Arava Institute full-time since 2000, dividing his time between his home in Vermont and Arava’s Kibbutz Ketura campus. Presently his title is Director of Strategic Partnerships. He is also the Chair of the Policy Committee for the Alliance for Middle East Peace, of which the Arava Institute is a founding member.
Rabbi Cohen is the author of numerous articles about the peace process, politics, and other topics that have appeared in The Washington Times, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, The Jerusalem Report, Hadassah, The Palestine Times, The Israel-Palestine Journal, The Jordan Times, the Rutland Herald, Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Todays Zaman (Turkey), The Forward, and The Christian Science Monitor, Jewish Currents, and the Huffington Post. He is also the author of Einstein’s Rabbi: A Tale of Science and the Soul.
Rabbi Cohen grew up in Ewing, New Jersey. In 1976, while still in High School, he was awarded the Worthington Civic Award for establishing the first recycling center in Ewing. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont where he received a B.A. in History and the Paul Evans History Award for his honors paper on Lenin’s Theory of Self-determination and the Muslims of the Soviet Union. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Burr & Burton Academy and the Energy Committee of the Town of Manchester. In 1993, he was awarded the Unsung Hero Award by the Town of Manchester. He also co-founded the Green Zionist Alliance and was instrumental in the creation of the Arava Power Company, which built the first commercial solar field in Israel at Kibbutz Ketura. The past two years he has taught classes on conflict resolution at Bennington College.