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Michael M. Cohen

Travels from MA


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Rabbi Michael Cohen is a founding faculty member and Director of community relations at The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East. His writing has been featured in Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, The Palestine Times, The Jordan Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Huffington Post. He is a recipient of the Eliav Sartawi Award for Middle East Journalism from Search for Common Ground and is the author of Einstein's Rabbi: A Tale of Science and the Soul. Rabbi Cohen is the co-founder of the Green Zionist Alliance, the first environmental Zionist party to run in the World Zionist Congress elections, and co-founder of the Arava Power Company, an organization working to make solar power the main energy source for southern Israel. He teaches classes on Conflict Resolution, the Environment, and the Bible at Bennington College. He is rabbi emeritus of the Israel Congregation in Manchester center, Vermont.


  • Middle Eastern Relations

  • Positively Israel & College Campuses

  • Sustainability

Popular Speeches

1)  The Balfour Declaration & Resolution 242: A Dual Narrative Approach.

Resolution 242 and the Balfour Declaration are two seminal documents from the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In a conflict that seems overwhelming to understand these two documents provide a way to understand both sides when viewed through the Dual Narrative approach; or as Hillel said (Mishna Avot 2:4), “Do not judge another until you are in his place.”

2)  The Environment as a Bridge to Peace in the Middle East: The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies: A Case Study.

The Arava Institute is an environmental and academic institution located on Kibbutz Ketura dedicated to preparing future leaders from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and around the world, to cooperatively solve the regional and global challenges of our time by advancing cross-border environmental discourse and cooperation regardless of political conflict. For over twenty years these issues have been addressed in the southern Israeli Arava valley along the Israeli-Jordanian border at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies( Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, a founding faculty member of the Institute can share experiences and insights from the work of the Institute.

3) The Interrelated Structure of Creation: It's Spiritual, Environmental, and Political Messages. 

Explore the spiritual messages of Genesis and then pivot to the related outlook of Gandhi, 

King, and Mandela as a way unpackage their political attitude and use of nonviolence.

4) The Garden of Eden story: Learning Who We Are.

There are many ways to understand the Garden of Eden story. We will read it as an

exploration of what it means to be a human being; an unfolding of human self-awareness.

5) Judaism and the Environment

The Jewish tradition is filled with deep and profound messages about our relationship to the environment; our shared home.

6) Conflict Resolution Theories and the Bible

Explore the intersection of conflict resolution theories and the related Biblical stories and texts.

Prepared introduction download here