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COHEN, JACOB RAPHAEL:

American ḥazzan; believed to have been born in the Barbary States; died in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept., 1811. Cohen lived in London, England, during the earlier years of his life. He is known to have been in Quebec, and also in New Orleans, in 1777. He was the minister of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, Shearith Israel, of Montreal, Canada, from 1778 to 1782. In the latter year Cohen was elected minister of the Sephardic synagogue of New York. He lived there until 1784, when he accepted the appointment of ḥazzan of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation of Philadelphia, Pa.

Cohen married Rebekah Luria, of a family which had lost more than one of its members through the Spanish Inquisition. He left descendants in Philadelphia. After Cohen's death his son, Abraham Hyman Cohen, acted as reader for a time.

Bibliography:
  • Hyman P. Rosenbach, The Jews in Philadelphia Prior to 1800, Philadelphia, 1883;
  • C. I. de Sola, History of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, in Borthwick's History and Biographical Gazetteer of Montreal, 1892;
  • idem, in The Star, Montreal, Dec. 30, 1893;
  • Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, 1894.
A. C. I. de S.
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