Rabbi Mikhael Cohen had an outsized influence on the world he left behind on April 3 after contracting COVID-19, having dedicated a lifetime to serving the French-speaking community of New York.

Born in Morocco and having studied in the Chabad yeshivah in Brunoy, France, he saw a need to cater to the French-speaking population of New York soon after he moved there, and set out to effect the change he wanted to see.

He founded and directed CCF New York, a center for French speakers which offers programs and classes to those crying out for Jewish influence. Together with his family, opened his home for lively meals, where Cohen guided and inspired attendees to commit to their Judaism with renewed enthusiasm.

French Chassidic singer Yoni Shlomo remembered those times fondly, saying “There were tables and tables ... everyone who traveled there (to Brooklyn) knew that on Shabbos, we eat by Mikhael Cohen.”

He is survived by his wife, Esther, and their children: Simcha Cohen, Chaya Zaetz, Miriam Barrocos, Sarah Bortunk, Yael Cohen, Rivkah Cohen, Menachem Cohen and Moshe Cohen.

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