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Bernard Brachya Cohen, 93, psychologist, professor, writer, dies

After a career as a psychologist and professor, Bernard Cohen became a novelist in his 80s.

Bernard Brachya Cohen
Bernard Brachya CohenRead moreCohen family photo

Bernard Brachya Cohen, 93, a compassionate clinical psychologist, respected professor, and dedicated writer, died Saturday, Dec. 21, in his Center City home after a long illness.

Born in Jersey City, N.J., Mr. Cohen was the son of Rachel Cohen and Rabbi Jeremiah Cohen, who retired in 1963 as leader of Temple Rodeph Zedek in Logan.

Mr. Cohen considered becoming a rabbi himself, attending the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York, before deciding on a career in psychology.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and a Ph.D. in psychology from New York University.

Mr. Cohen earned a reputation as a caring therapist with a specialty in behavior modification, working in private practice and on the staffs of several hospitals and schools. He also taught psychology for many years at West Chester University, where was a professor emeritus. After retirement, he also taught in Israel.

Mr. Cohen was a writer throughout his life. He published short works of fiction in literary journals, in addition to writing extensively about psychology.

“As a young man, he won awards for his short stories,” said a daughter, Amy Cohen. “Then, in his 80s, he had two novels finally published.” His first novel, A Warning, was published in 2012 as an e-book. He followed that up two years later with A Marginal Man.

Mr. Cohen was devoted to his family, his daughter said. A lover of classical music, he was known for his sharp, quiet wit, frequent puns, and knowledge in many fields. He spoke Hebrew and was learned in the Talmud.

“He could have been on Jeopardy,” his daughter said.

In his addition to his daughter, Mr. Cohen is survived by his wife of 67 years, Selma; another daughter, Emily M. Cohen; and two granddaughters.

A private graveside service will be held Tuesday, Dec. 24.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, Har Hazikaron, P.O.B. 3477, Jerusalem 9103401, Israel, or at; or to a charity of one’s choice.