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Topic: Cohen, Name

E. Robe wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What are Kohanim? Does it have any connection to the name "Cohen?"

Dear E. Robe,

Kohanim is the plural of kohen, which means "priest." In Judaism, the kohanim are the male descendants of Aharon, Moses' brother, and when the ancient Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, the kohamim were the ones who performed the service.

There are still many kohanim among Jews today. They get special honors in the synagogue, such as being called up first to read from the Torah.

Many people -- but not all -- whose last name is "Cohen" are indeed kohanim, meaning they are direct descendants of Aharon. Amazing to be able to trace your lineage to one particular individual who was born 3,396 years ago, isn't it?

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