Kol Ami Synagogue Welcomes New Rabbi to Tucson

Rabbi Malcolm Cohen

Kol Ami Synagogue is overjoyed to welcome Rabbi Malcolm Cohen to our clergy team. He was installed on Friday, March 10, 2023, with over 250 congregants and guests in attendance. We welcome everyone to come visit and meet Rabbi Cohen at Kol Ami, where our mission is to enliven our traditions and heritage of hope through song and celebration, worship and learning, and the pursuit of justice with respect and lovingkindness.

Rabbi Cohen left the gray skies and rain of London for the burning desert of Las Vegas to continue the work of community building with his family. The path from London to Vegas to Tucson took various twists and turns. He was formed, primarily in his suburban London Reform Synagogue, a year in Israel with his Reform Zionist Youth Movement, and his experience in Limmud, an all-encompassing festival of Judaism.

Outside the Jewish community, he gained insights from working on housing projects with at-risk youth and collaborating with young people in order to improve their lives and the lives of their neighborhoods. On his return to Jewish professional life, he founded the outreach office for British Reform young adults, engaging people in their twenties and thirties in creating innovative Jewish events and gatherings.

Rabbinic training, aside from London’s Leo Baeck College, took place in New York and South Carolina and he worked for the two largest Reform congregations in England. Rabbi Cohen, alongside some wonderful lay leader partners, more than tripled the size of Temple Sinai in Las Vegas by focusing on purpose-driven relationship-building and community-organizing techniques.

He was attracted to Kol Ami by the prospect of enabling the coming together of Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Or Chadash alongside committed fellow staff and volunteers in the stunning Sonoran Desert setting.

Rabbi Cohen builds dynamic worship experiences with a range of music and deep-learning programs based on his passion for our heritage’s textual jewels. He works with leaders from across the religious spectrum on local issues such as human trafficking, public education funding, and the recent COVID-related housing crisis. He is married to Sarah, a counselor, and they have a teenage son, Elijah Samuel, a precocious eleven-year-old daughter, Rachel Elisheva, and a food-obsessed dog, Gracie.