Cohen (surname)

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Cohen (Hebrew: כֹּהֵן, kōhēn, "priest") is a German, Irish, and Jewish surname[1] of biblical origins (see: Kohen). It is a very common Jewish surname, and the following information discusses only that origin.

Bearing the surname indicates that one's patrilineal ancestors were priests in the Temple of Jerusalem. A single such priest was known as a Kohen, and the hereditary caste descending from these priests is collectively known as the Kohanim.[2] As multiple languages were acquired through the Jewish diaspora, the surname acquired dozens of variants.

Being a Kohen imposes some limitations: by Jewish law a Kohen may not marry a divorced woman, and may not marry a proselyte (someone who converted to Judaism).[3] Nor should an observant Kohen come into contact with the dead.[4]

An effort to trace whether or not people named 'Cohen' actually have a common genetic origin has been undertaken in the specific DNA signature associated with the name known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype.[5]

Cohen may refer to:

People[edit]

Cohen, the surname (or in a few cases, part of a double-barrelled surname) of many people:

Scientists[edit]

Educators[edit]

  • Andrew Cohen (spiritual teacher), (born 1955) an American guru, spiritual teacher, founder of the magazine What Is Enlightenment?, author, and musician
  • Benjamin Cohen (professor), an American Professor
  • Bernard Cecil Cohen, educator and acting Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • I. Bernard Cohen, former professor of the history of science at Harvard University
  • Brad Cohen, a motivational speaker and an award-winning teacher and author
  • Eliot A. Cohen, a Professor of Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, and currently serving as Counselor to the U.S. State Department
  • Gerald Cohen, the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Joanna Waley-Cohen, Professor of History at New York University, where she has taught since 1992
  • Michael D. Cohen (1945–2013), American academic
  • Morris Cohen (scientist), (1911–2005) an emeritus Institute Professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Henry Cohen (rabbi), rabbi of the Congregation B'nai Israel in Galveston, Texas
  • Reuben Cohen, Canadian businessman, lawyer, and the third Chancellor of Dalhousie University
  • Richard A. Cohen, lecturer on conversion therapy
  • Richard I. Cohen, professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Stanley Cohen (sociologist) (1942–2013), Martin White Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics
  • Stephen F. Cohen, scholar of Russian studies in the United States

Writers / Journalists[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Artists[edit]

  • Ryosuke Cohen, internationally known mail artist (whose surname is a stylistic spelling of Japanese Kōen and does not derive from the Hebrew name)
  • Lynne Cohen, professional fine art photographer
  • Dan Colen, artist based in New York (whose surname was changed from "Cohen" by his paternal grandfather)

Technologists[edit]

  • Bram Cohen, American computer programmer, best known as the author of the peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing program and protocol BitTorrent

Entertainment industry people[edit]

  • Albert Cohen (producer), French producer of musicals and radio personality
  • Alexis Cohen, American Idol contestant
  • Assi Cohen, Israeli comedian and actor
  • Bruce Cohen, film producer
  • David X. Cohen, writer and producer for television
  • Eliad Cohen (born 1988), Israeli model, producer, actor, model, entrepreneur
  • Emil Cohen (1911–2000), Jewish comedian and singer, in the tradition of Myron Cohen
  • Emma Cohen, Spanish actress whose real name is Emmanuela Beltran Rahola
  • Erin Cohen, American actress whose stage name is Erin Daniels
  • Herman Cohen, producer of B-movies during the 1950s, who helped to popularize the teen horror movie genre
  • Ira Cohen, filmmaker, poet and photographer
  • Jem Cohen, a filmmaker known for his blending of media formats and collaborations with music artists
  • Jeff Cohen (actor) (born 1974), American child actor (The Goonies) and entertainment lawyer
  • Joel H. Cohen, a writer for The Simpsons
  • Larry Cohen (born 1941), film director and brother of Ronni Chasen
  • Liskula Cohen, Canadian born, New York based model, involved in an Internet privacy lawsuit
  • Matt Cohen (actor), an American film and television actor
  • Myron Cohen (1902–1986), an American comedian and raconteur
  • Rob Cohen, an American film director, producer and writer
  • Ronni Chasen (1946–2010), American publicist born Ronni Cohen, sister of director Larry Cohen
  • Sacha Baron Cohen, English comedian
  • Scott Cohen, American actor best known for "The 10th Kingdom" and "Necessary Roughness"
  • Sidney M. Cohen, a Canadian television director and program creator
  • Rodney Dangerfield was born Jacob Cohen
  • Sid James, actor, was born Joel Solomon Cohen
  • Tanner Cohen, an American actor and singer

Sports and athletics[edit]

Spies[edit]

  • Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy in Syria. Exposed and executed in 1965
  • Lona Cohen, an American member of the Communist Party USA who was recruited into Soviet espionage in 1939 by her husband
  • Maurice Cohen, cryptographer
  • Morris Cohen (Soviet spy) (1910–1995), also known as Peter Kroger, was a Soviet spy who helped pass Manhattan Project secrets to the USSR

Politicians[edit]

  • Aharon Cohen, senior member of Mapam, born 1910
  • Andrew Cohen (statesman), former Governor of Uganda
  • Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a European politician who was a leader of the student protesters during the May 1968 riots in France
  • David Cohen (politician), an American politician, noted for his service in the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Philadelphia City Council
  • David B. Cohen (mayor), an American politician, mayor of Newton, Massachusetts
  • Eli Cohen (politician), Israeli politician who served as a Knesset member for Likud
  • Erminie Cohen, retired Canadian senator
  • Geula Cohen (born 1925), Israeli politician and journalist
  • Harry Cohen, Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom
  • Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, United States
  • Jim Cohen, human rights and environmental activist
  • Job Cohen, Dutch politician of the Labour Party, State Secretary for Education and Sciences, State Secretary for Justice, Mayor of Amsterdam
  • Lita Indzel Cohen, American politician
  • Mark B. Cohen, longest-serving Pennsylvania state legislator
  • Pierre Cohen, French politician, Mayor of Toulouse
  • Ran Cohen, Israeli politician and Knesset member of the Meretz-Yachad party
  • Shaughnessy Cohen, Canadian politician, who represented the riding of Windsor—St. Clair for the Liberal Party from 1993 to 1998
  • Stanley Cohen (politician) (1927–2004), a British Labour politician
  • Steve Cohen, a member of the United States House of Representatives for Tennessee's Ninth District
  • William Cohen, a politician and former US Secretary of Defense
  • Ya'akov Cohen, Israeli rabbi and politician
  • Yohanan Cohen (1917–2013), Israeli politician and diplomat

Businesspeople[edit]

Lawyers[edit]

  • Arthur Cohen, an English barrister and king's counsel
  • Felix S. Cohen (1907–1953), a lawyer and legal scholar who developed an expertise in law concerning natural resources, statehood and economic development for American territories, Indian affairs, and immigration and minority problems
  • George H. Cohen, American director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
  • Roy Cohn (1927–1986), an American lawyer who came to prominence during the investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy into alleged Communism in the U.S. government
  • Jerome A. Cohen, a professor of law at New York University School of Law and an expert in Chinese law
  • Lionel Leonard Cohen, Law Lord, one of "the three wise men"
  • Bradford Cohen, a contestant on the The Apprentice and celebrity Florida criminal defense lawyer

Fictional characters[edit]

Names needing to be sorted[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schreiber, Mordecai (2011). The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia. Taylor Trade Publications. 
  2. ^ Donin, Rabbi Haim Halevy (1972). To Be A Jew. A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life. Basic Books. p. 198. 
  3. ^ Donin p.291
  4. ^ Donin p.304
  5. ^ Sources for the genetic studies are given in the article Y-chromosomal Aaron.

External links[edit]