The birth of baby Yaakov Shlomo brought a lot of firsts to the Cohen household. After three girls, he is the first boy in the family. He is the first American in the clan and the first baby not born in July. And last, but not least, he is the first Jewish baby of 2000 in the state of Washington.
His parents, Rabbi Michael and Devorah Cohen, moved to Seattle from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, four years ago to teach with the Seattle Kollel. Rabbi Cohen also teaches at Northwest Yeshiva High School and Devorah formerly taught 7th and 8th grade girls at Seattle Hebrew Academy. The couple’s older girls, 9-year-old Tzipporah and 8-year-old Leah, are both students at SHA. Five-year-old Tzivyah is a student at Menachem Mendel Seattle Cheder at Chabad. The family worships at all three Orthodox shuls around the Seward Park area, where they make their home.
Yaakov Shlomo was born at 6:02 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at Swedish Medical Center. He weighed 6 pounds, 12 1/2 ounces and was 20 inches long. All the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of the new baby make their home in Israel.
The Cohens are an international family. Devorah was born in Gateshead, England. Michael is from London. Two of the girls were born in Israel, one was born in Canada and their son, of course, was born in Seattle. Devorah’s father is internationally known scholar and teacher Rabbi Nathan T. Lopes Cardozo. Rabbi Lopes Cardozo and his wife Freyda flew from Israel to Seattle for the baby’s brit milah on Wednesday at Sephardic Bikur Cholim, along with great-grandmother Bertha Lopes Cardozo, who flew in from Holland, making a great effort to be in Seattle for this simcha. The baby’s other grandparents are David and Miriam Cohen, who were not able to fly in from Israel for the brit milah.
Yaakov Shlomo bears the same name as his great-grandfather, the late Jacob Lopes Cardozo, Devora’s grandfather, and he’s also named after Rabbi Shlomo Weil. Rabbi Weil, of Lakewood, N.J., was a cancer patient in Seattle who passed away a year and a half ago. “I went to visit him very often in the hospital and he became a close friend,” said Michael. “I felt it would be a great honor for my son to bear his name.”
About 14 rabbis attended Yaakov Shlomo’s brit milah, which was celebrated by about 225 people. The mohel was Rabbi Shmuel Feurst from Chicago, a teacher and mentor of Michael’s. Rabbi Lopes Cardozo was the sendak. Rabbi Simon Benzaquen of Sepharic Bikur Cholim Congregation officiated, and Rabbi Yamin Levy of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, Rabbi Moshe Kletenik of Bikur Cholim-Machzikay Hadath Congregation and Rabbi Avrohom David, Rosh Kollel of the Seattle Kollel, also were active participants in the service.
Other special guests included Rabbi Chaim Silver from Phoenix, and Mrs. Devorah Weil, the widow of Rabbi Shlomo Weil. “She brought all the cookies and the jelly beans,” Michael reported.