In the latter part of the 19th-century people were on the move, for many different reasons. Political and social upheavals in Europe continued throughout the turn of the century. This turmoil generated an intense longing, both for material stability and religious freedom.
It was during this time of tremendous change that a man was born in Berezna, a small town in eastern Hungary, whose life would become interwoven with these people on the move. The Orthodox Jewish community of Berezna was the birthplace of Leopold Cohn, who was destined for a momentous quest. In this part of Europe, Orthodox Judaism was a way of life. Traditional Judaism was all-pervasive in its impact on a daily existence and there was zeal for the Torah (Law). It was not surprising, then, that Leopold Cohn became a rabbi.