Spotlight on…Norma Cohen: An Interfaith Life Well Lived

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Norma CohenIn February, we lost one of Interfaith Alliance’s great organizers. Norma Cohen, a retired clinical social worker, founder of Interfaith Alliance of Long Island, national Interfaith Alliance board member, a leader at the Shelter Rock Unitarian Universalist Congregation and a voice for pluralism and religious freedom, passed away.  A 2009 recipient of the Interfaith Alliance President’s Award, Norma brought diverse groups of people together to battle against hate crimes and to support interfaith dialogue in her community and on a national level. Every month or so, I would get a call from Norma, asking for an update on hate crimes prevention legislation (the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act passed Congress with the help of a decade of Norma’s hard work and was signed into law in October), or to send out an update to our membership, or to let me know about an issue on Long Island that threatened our work.  At the service celebrating her life our president, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, was quoted, “Let us on our own pick up the work to which Norma would have summoned us in the days ahead and devote our lives and our work to advancing the political agendas and social values essential to experiencing the beloved community.” She will be greatly missed, but dearly remembered.