Announcing an important new book
available at Amazon.com and Powell Books:

"Faithfully Yours --
Selected Rabbinical Correspondence
of Samuel S. Cohon"

please read reviews:
- by Ephraim Z. Buchwald,
- by Mara Cohen Ioannidesand, and
- in H-Judaic

CDs with music by Baruch Cohon

Hanukka Party CD

"The Real Complete Happy Hanukka Party" - 30 songs in English, Hebrew, Yiddish & Ladino - all Hanukka songs and blessings needed for a fun-filled Hanukka!

In this CD Rabbi Baruch Cohon teaches us that each of us can be a winner. By focusing on love, gratitude and the ability to laugh we can improve our lives and our destinies!
We Wish You Love - Jewish Songs by Baruch Cohon

"We Wish You Love " - 10 songs by Baruch Cohon with the Israeli Entertainment Ensemble

Please also browse Rabbi Baruch Cohon's blog >>


Fifty years ago John F. Kennedy was President of the United States. As we head into 2013 it is only a matter of months until the 50th anniversary of his assassination. On the Jewish calendar we would call it his yortzite.

If you were alive on Nov. 22, 1963, you probably remember just where you were and what you were doing. I was in a film editing room in Hollywood finishing a TV episode when we heard the news on the radio. The President was shot! Immediately one fellow there assumed that the murderer was a violent reactionary who would “rather see the world on fire than see the world change.” Soon enough we found out that the killer was nothing of the kind. Lee Harvey Oswald was neither a Cuban fascist nor a criminal Republican. He was an American Communist. Another angry American, a Jewish guy named Jack Ruby, took the law in his own hands and shot Oswald as he was being taken to jail. If nothing else, that killing eliminated a trial that could well have lasted months and cost the country a considerable sum, whether the assassin was ultimately executed or not. And depending on the skill of his attorneys, he might still be sitting in prison at taxpayer expense. After all, where is the Fort Hood mass murderer today?

But far more significant than the assassination was Kennedy’s accomplishment as President. His administration of less than three years shines as one of the few great success stories of 20th century government. His inaugural address set the tone. In his pure Bostonian accent he told his fellow citizens: “Ask not what yoah country can do fo’ you. Ask what you can do fo’ yoah country.” From his PT-boat days in World War 2 to the Cuban missile crisis, to the national Space program, all the way to that tragic day in Dallas, that is what John Kennedy did. Men like him don’t come along often enough, particularly in the world of politics. When we memorialized him at my congregation, I was moved to write this song:

He didn’t live long, but he lived for us all,

For forty-six years he walked very tall,

He aimed very high, and worked very hard,

For he knew that peace and freedom come hard,

So very hard…

He kindled a spark that all of us need,

That spark lit a flame in word and in deed,

Remember it now,

The Kennedy creed:






Today we can ask that question of ourselves, no matter who we are. Let’s try it.

You are a plumber. OK, you do your work, you collect your money, you pay your taxes, you cast your vote. You are a good citizen. There is one more thing you can do. You can use tools made in U.S.A., not in China. It might cost a little more but it’s important. Preserve jobs for your fellow Americans.

You are a truck driver. You spend your days loading cargo, fighting traffic, coping with toll roads and speed limits and ticket-hungry highway patrolmen. What can you do for your country? Like it or not, your rig burns gasoline. Buy it from a company that pumps oil drilled in America, not in Arabia.

You are a schoolteacher. (This one’s easy.) Children in your class are white, black, Latino, Oriental. Their families are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witness, or maybe practice no religion at all. You can still require them all to learn standard English, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day, and to treat each other as equals. Most teachers being women, you can certainly show them that American women have rights, whether they are teachers, housewives, judges, executives, nurses, waitresses, soldiers, athletes or librarians.

You are a clergyman. Do you ban talk of America from your house of worship, on the basis of “separation of church and state?” Or do you take the opportunity to explore current national issues from the viewpoint of religious principle? If your religion is anything like mine, it has messages for us that can do great good for our country. And those messages do not concern which candidate to support. They concern how to help the poor, how to support those who protect the people, and what is each citizen’s relation to the government. “Always pray for the peace of the ruling power,” says the Talmud. “For without it, every man could swallow his neighbor alive.”

One more. You are a reporter. Do you report facts as you find them, whether or not they support your politico-economic views? If you do, more power to you. Unslanted news reporting becomes all too rare in today’s media. We have more than enough propaganda on our airwaves. Give us some plain old truth. That’s what you can do for your country!

As with these five examples, so with all of us. Maybe you work in an office or a factory or a bank. Maybe you operate your own business. Maybe you are a student. Or you are retired, or (hopefully not) unemployed. What can you do for your country? Remember, we all live here. Whatever it is you do for your country, helps you and those you love.

Keep doing it!

back to Publications page >>

    powered by: a100things.com  
©  2007-2010  Baruch Cohon