Rabbi Bruce Cohen, Interns for Peace founder, dies


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rabbi Bruce Cohen, founder of the Arab-Israeli coexistence group Interns for Peace, has died.

Cohen, who had been fighting bone cancer in his sternum for a year, died Tuesday in his New York home. He was 65.

He founded Interns for Peace in 1976 to push coexistence between Israelis and Arabs by having them work together on projects such as road safety, gardening and festivals. The projects highlighted similarities between the two cultures and avoided politics.

Interns for Peace has trained about 250 interns, mostly Arab Israelis, who work across Israel.

"Wherever you go in the Arab sector, Rabbi Bruce and Interns for Peace are there and have left a mark," said Farhat Agbaria, an Israeli Arab who worked with Cohen at an Interns for Peace board meeting three weeks ago.

Cohen and his wife adopted two Muslim children from Bosnia, a Jewish boy from Florida and a Chinese girl whom they raised Jewish. They later took in someone from Zimbabwe.

A Reform rabbi from Buffalo, N.Y., he received his doctorate in Hebrew letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998.

A memorial service will be held Nov. 7 at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, N.Y.

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