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God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen

September 10, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen

For the first time, Marcia Pally traces a consistent theology of covenant in Cohen’s work and in his provocative songs on women and politics, making both his Jewish heritage and his (our) struggles with it transparent. Cohen’s commitment to covenant–and his anger at the God who made us so prone to disregard it–provide the basis for Cohen’s faith, frustration, and sardonic wisdom from his earliest writing to his final theology, You Want It Darker.

Leonard Cohen’s troubled relationship with God is here mapped onto his troubled relationships with sex and politics.
Analyzing Covenantal theology and its place in Cohen’s work, this book is the first to trace a consistent theology across sixty years of Cohen’s writing, drawing on his Jewish heritage and its expression in his lyrics and poems. Cohen’s commitment to covenant, and his anger at this God who made
us so prone to failing it, undergird the faith, frustration, and sardonic taunting of Cohen’s work.

Both his faith and ire are traced through:

• Cohen’s unorthodox use of Jewish and Christian imagery

• His writings about women, politics, and the Holocaust

• His final theology, You Want It Darker, released three weeks before his death

A Conversation with:

NYU Prof. Marcia Pally, New York University / HU Berlin

Rabbi Ari Rosenberg, Rutgers University / Hebrew Union College

Musical performances by:

Bernie Kaplan, Mike Latini, Charlie Stokes, Suzanne Tanner & Chris Vlangas


Prof. Marcia Pally teaches at New York University and held the Mercator Guest Professorship in the theology faculty at Humboldt University-Berlin, where she remains an annual guest professor. She is the author of 14 books. Her book From This Broken Hill I Sing to You: God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen was published in 2021. Her most recent book is “White Evangelicals and Right-Wing Populism: How Did We Get Here?


Rabbi Ari Rosenberg holds a BA in English from Rutgers University as well as an MA and ordination from Hebrew Union College. He served as rabbi of Temple Sholom in New Milford from 2015-2020, a time in which the congregation enjoyed unprecedented growth in membership and revenue. Now, he serves as Executive Director of the Association of Religious Communities, preventing poverty, homelessness and domestic violence. He and his wife Aryn love life in New Milford, with their blended family of six.


September 10, 2022
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


JCC in Sherman
(860) 355-8050
View Organizer Website


JCC in Sherman
9 Route 39 South
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(860) 355-8050