Legendary poet, songwriter, musician, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor, received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize. One of his most famous compositions is "Hallelujah", a song released in 1984. He received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010. Cohen died in 2016 at the age of 82.
In 2017, Limmud FSU initiated a special commemoration exhibition about Leonard Cohen's Jewish roots and art. It was curated by Dr. Joel Rappel, founder of Elie Wiesel archive in Boston University, and first launched in May 2017 in the framework of Limmud FSU New York.
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., opened the exhibition in front of hundreds of participants. Moreover, top Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb gave a special tribute performance to Leonard Cohen at the conference’s gala event on Saturday night.
“Aside from his remarkable musical achievements, Leonard was very much connected to his Jewish identity and roots, making him a role model for Jews across the world,” said Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler during the opening of the exhibition.
In November 2017, in order to mark first anniversary of Cohen’s passing, Limmud FSU held a special event in UCLA, Los Angeles in cooperation with Hillel House. The guests of honor included the Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis, who gave an emotional speech about Cohen, and Actor Mike Burstyn, who also performed several Cohen's songs at the event.
"Leonard Cohen was very attached to Judaism and Israel, a bond that became stronger especially after the great tragedy of the Yom Kippur War," stated Akunis in his speech to the participants, "So beyond my personal love for this legendary singer, I am excited to be here, in Los Angeles, the city where he was active and passed away exactly one year ago, to launch the exhibition on his Jewish identity”.