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COHEN , family distinguished in Anglo-Jewish life for almost two centuries. levi barent cohen (1747–1808) went to England from Amersfoort (Holland) in the third quarter of the 18th century. He was presiding warden of the Great Synagogue, London, and the first president of the Jews' Hospital. One daughter, Hannah, married Nathan Meyer *Rothschild and another, Judith, Sir Moses *Montefiore; a granddaughter married Sir David *Salomons and a great-granddaughter Samuel Montagu, the first Lord *Swaythling. His male descendants included aaron *cohen, who was appointed a queen's counsel, and lionel louis cohen (1832–87). The latter succeeded his father, louis cohen (1799–1882), as head of the family firm of foreign bankers and brokers, and subsequently became a manager of the Stock Exchange. He was an authority on Indian railways and Turkish finance. A political Conservative, he was elected to parliament in 1885 and during his short but brilliant political career served on royal commissions on the trade depression, on gold and silver, and on endowed schools. In communal affairs, he became honorary secretary of the Jewish Board of Guardians (now Jewish Welfare Board) on its foundation and its president in 1878. He was followed in this office by his brother sir benjamin louis cohen (1844–1909), his son sir leonard lionel cohen (1858–1938), his niece hannah floretta cohen (1875–1946), and his grandson Lord Lionel Leonard *Cohen. He played a leading part in the founding of the United Synagogue in 1870. In 1881 he initiated the movement to help oppressed Russian Jewry, which led to the first relief fund being established in England on their behalf. His descendants include Sir Andrew Benjamin *Cohen (1909–1968), colonial governor and civil servant, and ruth *cohen (1906–1991), principal of Newnham College, Cambridge. The waley-cohen family are descendants of his brother nathaniel (see Cohen, Sir Robert *Waley).


jhset, 16 (1952), 11–25 (address by Lord Justice Cohen); V.D. Lipman, Century of Social Service, 1889–1959 (1959); C. Roth, History of the Great Synagogue (1950), index; P.H. Emden, Jews of Britain (1943). add. bibliography: C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (1961), 175–98, index; Michael Jolles, Directory of Distinguished Jews, 1830–1930 (2002), index; odnb online for Sir Andrew Cohen, Sir Benjamin Cohen, Louis Cohen, and Ruth Cohen.

[Vivian David Lipman]

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