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Naomi W. Cohen

One of the first women scholars in the new field of Jewish studies, Naomi W. Cohen earned a reputation as one of the foremost historians of American Jewry. The wife of Gerson D. Cohen, who later became chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Cohen earned her PhD from Columbia in 1955 and began teaching history at Hunter College in 1962, becoming a full professor in 1973. She also served on the faculties of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and of JTS. Cohen’s research, beginning with Not Free to Desist: the American Jewish Committee, 1906–1966, published in 1972, focused mainly on the intersection of religion and politics in American Jewish life and included important scholarship on American Zionism and on Jewish-Christian relations in America. Two of her later books, Encounter with Emancipation (1984) and Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality (1992), were honored with the National Jewish Book Award. In 1996, she retired from teaching and made Aliyah. The following year, she was honored as the National Foundation of Jewish Culture’s Laureate in Historical Studies.

Date of Birth
November 13, 1927
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Naomi W. Cohen." (Viewed on December 16, 2018) <>.


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