Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon


Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon became the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in June of 1999, and brought vigor, excellence, depth, and joy to Arizona's first congregation.  Rabbi Cohon's rich heritage and knowledge of Judaism have dramatically enhanced the Temple's congregational life. In the past twelve years at Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Cohon helped initiate the creation of the only Reform Jewish Early Childhood Education Center in Tucson (The Olga & Bob Strauss ECE), the writing of new Torahs in honor of Emanu-El's 90th and 100th anniversaries, and developed the Adult Education Academy, the largest, finest, and most comprehensive program of Adult Jewish education in Arizona, which serves over 1000 students every year. He has also spearheaded an outreach effort to unaffiliated Jews in Tucson, including the enormously popular Taste of Judaism series of courses which has taught over 4000 students, and the Northwest Halutzim Outreach Shabbat series, now celebrating 10 years of monthly Northwest services. He also created the Temple Emanu-El Youth and Teen Choirs, and the Avanim Rock Band. He also recorded 4 commercially-released CD’s of Jewish music, and edited and co-authored the "Promise Hagaddah" and the "Shabbat Reflections" prayerbook.

The "Too Jewish Radio Show with Rabbi Sam Cohon and Friends" airs on Sundays on KVOI 1030 AM and throughout the state, is now on its 10th year, and is one of the top-rated Jewish podcasts nationally at and on iTunes.

Rabbi Cohon became a certified Conservative cantor in 1987 (he is a member of the Cantors Assembly), and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1995. He is a third generation rabbi, following his grandfather who taught at HUC for 35 years, and authored the Columbus platform of the Reform movement, and his father, a prominent cantor at Reform and Conservative congregations for many years, and now an Orthodox rabbi.

Rabbi Cohon has been widely recognized for his contributions to the communities and congregations he has served. He is the founding chair of the Tucson Multi-Faith Alliance, and has served on the Metropolitan Education Commission, on the board of Handmaker, and Jewish Family & Childrens' Services, and a variety of national Jewish organizational boards. He has received variety of Jewish and secular awards as well. He brought spirit, joy and quality to Temple Emanu-El, resulting in an increase in membership from 350 to 700 families, as well as dramatically renewed enthusiasm and commitment among congregational members. Rabbi Cohon is married to Dr. Wendy S. Weise, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arizona, and has two sons, Boaz and Gabriel, and a daughter, Cipora. 

Rabbi Batsheva Appel
Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg


Rabbi Batsheva Appel is a native of Seattle and the rainy Pacific Northwest. Despite having lived in a number of different parts of the United States, moving to Tucson is a big change.

She graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences and Economics and entered the corporate world, first working in a research laboratory and then in sales and marketing. Rabbi Appel was an active layperson in her congregation, singing in the choir, taking classes, and serving on the Board of Directors, when she decided to become a rabbi. She attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and was in Israel the same year as Rabbi Cohon. Rabbi Appel was ordained from the New York campus of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Appel has served as a sabbatical rabbi, rabbi-educator interim rabbi, assistant rabbi and associate rabbi in congregations on Long Island, and in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 2006 Rabbi Appel was named the Director of Rabbinic Services for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life where she was the rabbi for more than 25 underserved congregations of all denominations in an eight-state area in the South. Rabbi Appel comes to Temple Emanu-El after serving as the senior rabbi of KAM Isaiah Israel in Chicago for the past four years.

She is involved in interfaith dialogue and was president of the Hyde Park Kenwood Interfaith Council, which is more than a century old.

Rabbi Appel wrote the chapter on how eating locally is a Jewish choice in the book The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic.  As soon as she gets settled here in Tucson, she will be checking out the farmers' markets and CSA possibilities.

She also enjoys reading, walking, swimming, knitting, cooking, and baking.




Marjorie Hochberg has been the full time Cantorial Soloist at Temple Emanu-El for 12 years. In addition to her role as officiant at Shabbat and Festival services and life-cycle events, she is primary B'nai Mitzvah coordinator and shoulders the primary responsibility for teaching Hebrew, liturgy and cantillation to B'nai Mitzvah students and adults. She teaches Kitah Hey/7th Grade Hebrew school, teaches Hebrew to adults, coordinates the Teen, Adult and High Holy Day Choirs, and as a senior staff member, participates in communications, advertising and marketing aspects of the Temple administration.

At Temple Emanu-El, Marjorie Hochberg is respected as a teacher of young people and adults. In the words of one Bar Mitzvah, “I have become a better Jewish person because of you. And in the words of one parent, “Your kindness and patience are what made it possible for our daughter to go through the process of becoming a bat mitzvah in a positive, deeply meaningful way…You made her feel capable of anything.”