January 16, 2019

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Yitro with Rabbi Norman Cohen

Our guest this week is Rabbi Norman Cohen, founder and senior rabbi of the Beth Shalom congregation in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Rabbi Cohen is a graduate of the Hebrew Union college in Cincinnati, where he earned his Master’s degree in 1975 and was ordained in 1977. In 2001 Rabbi Cohen was also awarded his Doctorate of Divinity from HUC. Prior to his arrival in the Twin Cities, Rabbi Cohen served the Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, in addition to teaching at HUC and other colleges in Cincinnati. He has continued to serve on college faculties in the Twin Cities area. He is past president of the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis, the Minnesota Rabbinical Association and has been active in numerous organizations, locally and nationally, most significantly four Joint Commissions of the reform movement: the Placement Commission, the Rabbinic Mentoring Institute, the National Committee on Rabbinic Congregational Relations, and as vice chair of Synagogue Management.

This week's Torah portion – Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) – begins with the advice given by Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, to the people of Israel, and continues to tell us about the gathering of the people of Israel at Mount Sinai and about the giving of the Ten Commandments. Our discussion focuses, among other things, on the important role of outsiders (such as Jethro) in the story of the people of Israel.

If you would like to learn more about Parashat Yitro, take a look at our conversation with Rabbi Michael Harris.