On November 11, 2016 the world lost one of the most loved and prolific musical artists of our times—Leonard Cohen. Cohen spent more than 50 years in the music industry, penning classics, such as: “So Long Marianne”, “Bird on the Wire”, “Everybody Knows”, “Suzanne”, and of course the international anthem—“Hallelujah.” He attended McGill University in 1956 and began writing poetry. In fact, it was poetry that captured Cohen. The music came a little later—Songs of Leonard Cohen was released in 1968. In 2008, Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots
Born in 1934 in Montreal, Canada, Leonard Cohen grew up in the neighborhood of Westmount, home to Montreal’s wealthier Jews. His father was a tailor who died when he was nine years old. Cohen was raised in a conservative, observant Jewish family. His maternal grandfather was from Lithuania and a student of the Talmud. His paternal grandfather was the founder of the Canadian Jewish Congress, helping countless Jewish refugees make it to Canada from the pogroms and Russian oppression. His family were scions of the Montreal Jewish community. They built the synagogue where Cohen spent his early years. (more…)