One of the first women scholars in Jewish studies dies at 91

Naomi Cohen, one of the first woman scholars in Jewish studies, dies at 91.

JTA,

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Naomi Cohen, a pioneering scholar of American Jewish history who was one of the first women professors of Jewish studies, has died at 91.

Cohen studied at Hunter College, the Conservative Movement's Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Columbia University, where she wrote her doctoral thesis with famed Jewish historian Salo Baron and American historian William Leuchtenburg.

Cohen was one of the first female scholars in the then newly recognized field of Jewish studies and for a long time the only female full professor in the Association of Jewish Studies.

She was appointed assistant professor of history at Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1962 and by 1973 was named a full professor. Cohen also was on the faculty of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She retired in 1996 and moved to Israel.

Cohen’s research focused on two main areas: 20th-century American history and American Jewish history.

Among her many publications are: Not Free to Desist: The American Jewish Committee, 1906–1966 (1972), American Jews and the Zionist Idea (1975), The Year After the Riots: American Responses to the Palestine Crisis of 1929–1930 (1988) and The Americanization of Zionism, 1897-1948 (2003). She also edited Essential Papers on Jewish-Christian Relations in the United States: Imagery and Reality (1990). Her books Encounter with Emancipation (1984) and Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality (1992)—considered a seminal work on church-state separation in the United States—were recipients of the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish History.

Cohen was married to Rabbi Gerson Cohen, chancellor of JTS from 1972 to 1986, who died in 1991. She is survived by a son and a daughter, and grandchildren.




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