Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 30

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G
r a y z e l
— M
o r t im e r
J . C
ohen
61
maintain the zeal of his congregational co-workers. Moreover, he
refused to surrender his dream of a synagogue structure that would
serve as a spiritual lighthouse and a religious sanctuary. The
architect chosen was the renowned Frank Lloyd Wright, who
learned to admire Rabbi Cohen and his artistic vision of what a
synagogue building should represent. The building, externally
symbolizing Mount Sinai and internally the cupped hands of the
Creator, was the fruitage of the close cooperation between the
architect and the rabbi. Wright even adapted the synagogue seal
designed by Rabbi Cohen, as one of the decorative symbols on
the cornerstone and within the synagogue auditorium. At the
very least, the rabbi must be credited with artistic and esthetic
talents far removed from the art of preaching.
In 1966, seven years after the completion of the new synagogue
building and after forty-seven years of continuous service to the
congregation, Mortimer Cohen retired and became rabbi emeri­
tus. Although he now had time to devote himself to his beloved
books, retirement, after so many years of activity, was hard on him.
His life was brightened by his wife Helen—they had been married
on June 28, 1925—his two daughters and six grandchildren. After
an illness of some years, he passed away on January 27, 1972.
Such are the bare facts of a life devoted to the service of Judaism
and to an assiduous exposition of its hopes and ideals. The mere
recital of these events does not even remotely approach a proper
description of a warm personality, a keen mind, a tender heart.
His fruitful activity, his many devoted friendships, his love for
his people and his fellowman, provide positive evidence that
“Man
is
created in the image of God.” Alas for those who are
lost to us, never to be forgotten.