How one rabbi connects the Jews and Muslims of Malmo

Meet the rabbi who changed the rules of the game between Muslims and Jews in Sweden.

Judy Simon ,

Rabbi Moshe David Hacohen
Rabbi Moshe David Hacohen

How does the person who built the framework for including haredi youth in the Israeli army gain respect from Muslim imams in one of the most anti-Israel countries in Europe?

Rabbi Moshe David Hacohen has a knack for stepping into delicate situations, and for bridging chasms within communities.

More than a decade ago, as a young soldier, Rabbi Hacohen helped found the Nahal Haredi program, in which non-Zionist haredi young men integrate into the Israeli army without compromising either their families‘ religious standards or the excellence of the IDF. To exacerbate Rabbi Hacohen's challenges, consider the fact that most of the boys had not succeeded in integrating into their own haredi communities, and the fact that the families of these soldiers often rejected them because of their service.

Fast forward to Sweden, today. Rabbi Hacohen stepped into the position of community rabbi in a country where ritual slaughter is banned, circumcision is complicated, anti-Semitism is sky-high, and whose people are among the most pro-Palestinian Authority in Europe. Muslims make up one-third of the population, while the Jewish community of Malmo is dwindling.

Thanks to Rabbi Hacohen‘s efforts, not only is there ongoing, positive communication and cooperation between the Muslims and the Jews of Malmo today, but the good rabbi has garnered onto his team numerous imams who genuinely respect what he is doing. Rabbi Hacohen has, seemingly magically, helped many people in the Muslim community see the benefits of working together with the Jews on issues that affect both communities.

How has he done it? Tune in to meet a man of many talents, who is in the process of changing Jewish history in his own little corner of the world.