Rabbi Cohen: Forty Years at the Helm

Thursday, 10 July, 2014 - 11:31 am

Rabbi Cohen - 40 Years

4 Menachem-Av this year marks 40 years since Rabbi Binyomin Cohen arrived in Melbourne to serve as Rosh Yeshivah of the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand.

Born and raised in London, Rabbi Cohen entered Gateshead Yeshivah rather than university after completing his secondary schooling. While at Gateshead, he studied some of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s early Sichos (talks) and became attracted to Lubavitch. This led to a regular Shiur and developing relationship with the famed Chossid, Reb Mendel Futerfas.

It was not long thereafter that he went to Israel and joined the student body in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah at Kfar Chabad, under the tutelage of the widely admired and revered Mashpia, Reb Shlomo Chaim Kesselman. He then studied at the Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Brooklyn, New York, married and continued his learning for four years in Kollel, whilst at the same time teaching at Hadar Hatorah under the direction of Reb Yisroel Jacobson.

Some 42 or so years ago, Rabbi Cohen asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe for guidance as to which path his career should take, and the answer has guided him ever since. “The Rebbe told me that the more Torah, the more Brocho. That was all I needed to hear to set me on my career path,” he said.

In the last 40 years, Rabbi Cohen has seen the Yeshivah grow from a handful of students to 70 students. They come not only from Melbourne and Sydney, but from all around the world.

Rabbi Cohen is known far and wide as a ‘no nonsense’ Rosh Yeshivah by whose schedule one can set a clock. “My adherence to time is a natural thing for me, and gives me a sense of order and stability,” he says.

His adherence to order has made its mark in the international Yeshivah world. According to the college’s administrator Avrohom Procel, many students seek to come to Yeshivah Gedolah because of Rabbi Cohen.

Rabbi Cohen sees himself as an educator and facilitator. Despite giving two to three Shiurim every day, including high-level Shiurim to Shiur Alef and to the Shluchim, he devotes some of his time each day to teaching and examining students on an individual basis as well. He has intentionally steered clear of other rabbinic roles and does not answer halachic questions.

Rabbi Cohen believes that his work at the Yeshivah has been enhanced because he had the privilege of working with and learning from the Yeshivah’s founder, Reb Zalman Serebryanski.

Yeshivah Gedolah is indebted to Rabbi Cohen for his dedicated efforts and tireless devotion as Rosh Yeshivah over the past 40 years and his major contribution towards its success. We wish him good health and continued success in his work for many more years to come.

Rabbi Cohen - 40 Years

Rabbi Cohen - 40 Years

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