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The Power of One of Nietzsche's Teachings for Humanistic Living in the 21st Century

Guest Speaker: 

Rabbi Barry Cohen, Humanist Rabbi, will speak on the topic, The Power of One of Nietzsche’s Teachings for Humanistic Living in the 21st Century.  What if we learned today that we were to repeat each and every moment of our lives – from our birth until our death – again and again into perpetuity?  Would this news crush us or make us rejoice?  With his “Theory of Eternal Recurrence,” Friedrich Nietzsche asks us this question.   What kind of choices would we make if we did, in fact, face each day as though we would have to live it over innumerable times?  What kind of person would we choose to be?  How would we relate differently to family, friends, co-workers, and strangers? What aspects of our potential would we develop?  What aspects would we reject?


Barry Cohen was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee.  He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1992.  He then entered Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati where he received his rabbinic ordination.  Rabbi Cohen turned to Jewish journalism, where he became Editor of the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.  He returned to the congregational world, moving to Oklahoma City and then to Long Grove, Illinois where he became Associate Rabbi of Temple Chai.  He married Jennifer Cohen and they had two children.  Tragically, Jennifer passed away in 2015.  Rabbi Cohen’s rabbinical identity continues to evolve, and he recently joined the Association of Humanistic Rabbis and the Society for Humanistic Judaism.  He also founded “Right Hand Rabbi,” an effort to reach out to the unaffiliated through education, life cycle events and community building.  He loves story-telling, interfaith work and social action.