Rabbi Abelson bio for Web

The Jericho Jewish Center is excited to welcome Rabbi Matthew Abelson to our synagogue and community.  

After spending 2 years in New York City teaching high school, the Rabbi moved to Israel and studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.  He also interned at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.  His passion for Israel developed while a junior at Harvard University.  The Rabbi earned his B.A. in post-World War II American history in 2002.  In 2015, Rabbi Abelson graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Jewish Thought, and received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.  From 2015-2018, he served as Rabbi of Kesher Zion synagogue in Reading, Pennsylvania.  While living in Somerville, MA with his wife, Dr. Shiri Cohen, they attended Temple Beth Shalom in Cambridge.

Rabbi Abelson hails from the great state of New York, was raised in Scarsdale with two younger brothers, roots for the Mets, Knicks, and Giants, and attended Scarsdale Synagogue Tremont Temple.  The Rabbi graduated from Scarsdale High School in 1998, is an avid reader of history, and his favorite author is Saul Bellow.

Rabbi Abelson met Dr. Shiri Cohen in February 2017.  Shiri is the daughter of Israelis from Haifa, has two sisters, and was raised in California and Pennsylvania.  She is a couples therapist specializing in care for military families.  One of Shiri’s hobbies is cooking, and she makes terrific humus and shakshuka.  Rabbi and Shiri were married in January 2018 at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, and have been living in Somerville, Massachusetts, for the past year.

Rabbi Abelson becomes the fourth Rabbi in the Jericho Jewish Center’s six decades of existence.  

Rabbi Emeritus Marvin Richardson was the Rabbi of Jericho Jewish Center from August 2002 to May 2013.. He received his undergraduate degree in Physiological Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, and his M.A. in History and Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After serving as educational director for congregations in St. Louis and Chicago, he returned to the Seminary to obtain his ordination. Following a six-year tenure as Assistant Rabbi at Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia, Rabbi Richardson moved to Israel where he worked with various educational organizations sponsoring programs for American students in Israel. In 1996 he returned to the United States to accept a position as Associate Rabbi at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, where he served for six years before accepting his position with the Jericho Jewish Center. Rabbi Richardson passed away on February 13, 2014. He will be remembered as a beloved Rabbi, a dedicated teacher and a kind and decent man.