Cohen, Alfred Morton

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COHEN, ALFRED MORTON (1859–1949), U.S. lawyer, politician, and Jewish civic leader. Cohen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati Law School (1880), in the same class as his lifelong friend, William Howard Taft. At the age of 25, Cohen served the first of several terms on Cincinnati's city council and in 1896 he was elected to the state senate, where he served two terms. Cohen was a staunch advocate of equal rights for blacks and was active in the Urban League. In 1876, when he was only 17, Cohen organized a local chapter of the Young Men's Hebrew Association, and in 1890 he helped to create a national y.m.h.a. organization, whose presidency he held for several years. A member of B'nai B'rith for over 60 years, he was president of his Cincinnati lodge (1906) and served as international president of the order from 1925 to 1938. In 1933 he helped found the Joint Consultative Council, a body composed of B'nai B'rith, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Congress, whose purpose was to achieve Jewish unity in the struggle against Nazism. That same year he represented B'nai B'rith at the World Conference of Jews held in London on the subject of German Jewry. In 1936 B'nai B'rith funded the creation of a colony in Palestine named Moledet B'nai B'rith, in tribute to Cohen.


E.E. Grusd, B'nai B'rith (Eng., 1966), index.

[Robert Shostek]