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Gabriel Cohen, 81, Jewish Educator, Community Activist

June 28, 2007
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Gabriel Cohen, 81, a Jewish educator and activist, died May 18 in Bellevue, Wash.

Born in Montreal, he spent his childhood in Jerusalem and Brooklyn, N.Y. After graduating from of Yeshiva University, he joined the fight for Israel's independence, serving as a tank commander from 1947 through 1949. He eventually became an advocate for peace in the Middle East, and sat on the board of directors of the Compassionate Listening Project, an organization dedicated to Jewish-Palestinian reconciliation.

Cohen earned a master's degree in education, and later in life, a doctorate in gerontology from the University of Rochester.

His early career was devoted to Jewish education, where he served as education director at Germantown Jewish Centre from about 1958-1970. He was headmaster of Solomon Schechter Day School in Philadelphia from about 1966-1972. For more than a decade at that same time, he spent his summers running the educational programs at Camp Ramah in the Poconos.

Cohen left for Potomac, Md., then went to Rochester, N.Y., to become executive director of the Board of Jewish Education. He then moved to Seattle to take a similar position at the Seattle Jewish Education Council.

There, he was elected president of the Jewish Educators Assembly, an organization dedicated to the advancement of Jewish education, and was a member of the board of Temple B'nai Torah in nearby Bellevue, Wash.

Cohen is survived by his wife of 25 years, Anita Cohen; daughters Mina Cohen, Debby Tucker, Elaine Lipson and Judi Tamblin; son Michael Cohen; brothers Daniel Cohen and Joseph Cohen; and eight grandchildren.

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