Henry Cohen: The Life of a Frontier Rabbi by Jimmy Kessler

By Jimmy Kessler

As he is going approximately his day-by-day rounds on December 10, 1945, Henry Cohen displays upon his existence and occasions, specially the sixty-two years he has served as Rabbi in Galveston, Texas.

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Extra resources for Henry Cohen: The Life of a Frontier Rabbi

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The local newspaper, the Galveston News, was run by Major Lowe. It seemed to Cohen that every time something happened to a member of the Jewish community, the Major labeled the person as being a Hebrew. This practice bothered the Rabbi greatly, as he never saw Lowe mention any other person's religion. One day, Cohen read that a fire had occurred, but the religion of the owner was not in the newspaper article. The Rabbi immediately went down to the newspaper and walked in on Major Lowe. When he asked Lowe the man's religion, the Major wanted to know what difference it made.

The Czar took the people's minds off the hard times by attacking the Jews. A past president of Rabbi Cohen's congregation, Leo N. Levi, convinced President Theodore Roosevelt and Secretary of State John Hay to protest to Czar Nicholas the Second about the massacres. It did no good. The pogroms continued. Jews began to make their way to the United States, along with many others, who wanted to escape prejudice in Europe. One of the most important people in this country who recognized the need for doing something for these immigrants was Jacob Schiff, head of the banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb in New York.

During his lecture, the minister said that Jews were not going to heaven as they were cursed. A hush passed over the Page 14 mixed audience. A small-framed, elderly woman stood up and asked if, after all that Rabbi Cohen had done, he was included in that group. When the minister said that, yes, Rabbi Cohen was going to hell, the lady rapped her walking cane on the wooden floor and told him that she would rather go to hell with Henry Cohen than to heaven with him. She turned and walked out. Rabbi Cohen smiled as he recalled the story.

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