Leonard Cohen’s Legacy for Jews — and Humanity
Many people know Leonard Cohen from the countless covers of his timeless hit, “Hallelujah.”
But to his legion of fans, Cohen was more than the purveyor of just one hauntingly beautiful song about the confusing, double-edged nature of love. Instead, he was an enigmatic composer and a deft wordsmith — a poet who delivered a voice unlike any other.
His death was a surprise to both his family and fans. The 82-year old Canadian Jew had just released his latest album, “You Want it Darker,” and was working on his next record.
Cohen was a man who sensed the end coming, and wanted to leave it all out there — like a basketball player in the waning minutes of the final game of his career, Cohen held nothing back. His most recent album included the lyrics, “Hineni (here I am), I’m ready my Lord.” The man who once took years to complete one song (the aforementioned “Hallelujah”) was pumping out song after song, and touring ceaselessly. He was always working, always striving.
Cohen was a signature artist, a true individual, and an iconoclast without compare or measure. He did his own thing, and he did it very well. He was a proud and spiritual Jew.
Cohen was best known for his dark wit and bitingly accurate wordplay; he deconstructed the human condition in a way that was both coy and in your face. He could write the line, “Everybody knows the dice are loaded, everybody rolls with their fingers crossed…” and yet deliver it with such subtlety that it made people smile.
An entire generation discovered the man’s work when another of his more famous songs, “Everybody Knows,” was covered by Concrete Blonde on the soundtrack to the Christian Slater movie, “Pump up the Volume.” The song seemed to capture the voice of that generation.
He was a great friend to Israel — notably, he gave a famous performance in 1973 for IDF soldiers in the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu noted on his passing, “Leonard Cohen was a great creator, a talented artist, and a warm Jew, who loved the people of Israel and the state of Israel will not forget how he came to Israel during the Yom Kippur War in order to sing to IDF soldiers, out of a deep feeling of partnership. His touching voice will continue to accompany us, like his prayer ‘Hallelujah.’ May his memory be a blessing.”
Leonard Cohen was a deep, meaningful man who stood with his people — and with all humanity.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s most well-respected Public Relations executives and a leader of the Republican Jewish Coalition Vice Chairman’s Council.