Rachael Kohn

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Rachael Kohn AO (born 1953) is an Australian author and broadcaster[1][2] who since 1992 has presented and produced programs on Religion and Spirituality for ABC Radio National, beginning with Religion Report, Religion Today, and from 1997 to 2018, The Spirit of Things.

Kohn has also produced award-winning features for Encounter as well as the television documentaries The Dead Sea Scrolls (2000) and Buddhism East and West (2001). She also produced the program Paws for Thought on animals and spirituality for Compass on ABC TV. For six years (ending in January 2009) Kohn also was Producer and Presenter of The Ark on Radio National. which focused on Religious History.

Kohn is a frequent speaker on Religion and Spirituality in Australia. She has published two books, The New Believers: Re-imagining God (HarperCollins 2003) and Curious Obsessions in the History of Science and Spirituality (ABC Books, now HarperCollins 2007).[3][4][5]

In the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours Kohn was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for "distinguished service to the broadcast media, particularly radio, as a creator, producer and presenter, and to Jewish studies".[6]


Kohn was born in Canada. Her parents lived in Czechoslovakia until the occupation by the Soviet Union in 1949]]. They settled in Israel in 1949, moving to Canada in 1952.

Kohn was awarded a Diploma in Social Work from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, Ontario, then achieved an Hon.B.A. in Sociology and Religion at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Kohn then earned an M.A. (Rabbinic Thought and the New Testament) and a Ph.D. (Sociology and History of Religion) in Religious Studies from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. For both degrees she also studied Buddhism.

Kohn taught religious studies at McMaster University and at Lancaster University in Lancaster, England, where she was Leverhulme Post-Doctoral Fellow in Religious Studies. She also taught Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, and then at the University of Sydney (1988–1992). Moving to Australia after marrying an Australian man, property developer Tom Breen, she joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 1992.[7]


Kohn has published two books, The New Believers: Re-imagining God (HarperCollins 2004) and Curious Obsessions in the History of Science and Spirituality (ABC Books, now HarperCollins 2007). She has published numerous articles, chapters, and essays in books, journals and newspapers and on the ABC Religion and Ethics website.

Recent publications include, 'Saints and Saintliness in Judaism' in In the Land of Larks and Heroes: Australian Reflections on Saint Mary MacKillop (ATF Press 2010); 'Jewish Thought and the Theory of Evolution' in Darwin on Evolution (ATF Press 2010) and 'Jews and Violence' in Validating Violence, Violating Faith? (ATF Press 2007); 'The Aging Spirit' in Ageing and Spirituality Across Faiths and Cultures (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK 2010), as well as "Is Jewish Thought Unique" in the Australian Journal of Jewish Studies 2010.

Kohn has written on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Future of Religion, the Future of Judaism, Happiness, Aging, Education, and Interfaith Relations, Cults.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Rachael Kohn". ABC News. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  2. ^ "A personal insight into Pope Francis from his former press secretary". Radio National. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Dr Rachael Kohn – 'The David Suzuki Of The Soul' | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Speakers & Presenters". Chaplains Global Conference 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Dr. Rachael L.E. Kohn Honored for Excellence in Broadcasting, Public Speaking, and Publications". www.rachaelkohn.net. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Dr Rachael Linda Kohn". honours.pmc.gov.au. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  7. ^ Liberman, Berry. "Rachael Kohn has spirit". Dumbo Feather. Dumbo Feather. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  • Swartz, Barry (17 April 2008). "The godcaster". The Age. p. 20. Retrieved 6 May 2010.

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