Our Brilliant Clergy
Clergy Of Faith, Wisdom, And Care
In contemporary America, the rabbi’s role is constantly growing. They are expected to be scholars, leaders, speakers, ambassadors, supporters, cheerleaders, organizers, and listeners. Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center is honored to have built our community around a clergy team that rises to these incredible expectations. The foundation of that team are our rabbis.
Rabbi Berkun’s warmth, passion, and compassion have created an energized congregation that constantly evolves to make Judaism’s proud traditions relevant and alive for our members and others in the community. Since his arrival in 2007, both the synagogue and its school, Tauber Academy, have grown in size, vibrancy, and vision. Rabbi Berkun is a role model of rabbinic bearing: as a teacher, he insightfully connects the wisdom of our ancestors to the lives we lead today; as a spiritual leader, he provides comfort and inspiration.
Rabbi Berkun received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2001. Born in Connecticut and raised in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Berkun completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Columbia College of Columbia University.
Rabbi Berkun is a senior rabbinic fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where he completed the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative, a three-year program of study and training for leading rabbis of all denominations. He is also a 2009 colleague of the Kellogg Management Education for Jewish Leaders (KJL) at Northwestern University and the 2014 chairperson of the International Rabbinical Assembly Convention in Dallas, Texas.
Previously, Rabbi Berkun served as a rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Michigan. Rabbi Berkun served as President of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami and served as the Chair of the Synagogue-Federation Relations Committee. He is a member of the board of directors of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the National Rabbinic Cabinet for Israel Bonds, the National Council for AIPAC, and JNF’s Rabbis for Israel.
Rabbi Berkun utilizes his guitar playing and vocal skills to enrich the weekly popular “Friday Night Live” service. He has led several missions to Israel for teenagers, families, and adults, including a Rabbinic Mission to Poland to help Ukrainian Refugees fleeing the war.
A special focus of Rabbi Berkun’s has been interfaith relations. He participated in a unique 10-day interfaith mission of rabbis and African-American ministers to Senegal, West Africa, and Israel. He has spearheaded many interfaith initiatives designed to promote understanding and respect among all races, religions, and cultures.
Rabbi Jonathan Berkun is married to Rabbi Lauren Berkun, who was also ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary. A graduate of Princeton University, Rabbi Lauren Berkun was a Wexner Graduate Fellow, a CLAL Rabbinic intern, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. She currently serves as the Director of Rabbinic and Synagogue Programs for the Shalom Hartman Institute, teaching classes and leading seminars for lay leaders in South Florida. Rabbis Berkun are blessed with three children, Jeremy, Jonah, and Eliana.
Rabbi Cohen joined as a full member of our clergy team in 2017. He has a wide array of responsibilities ranging from youth and adult education, pastoral care, ritual, outreach and engagement.
Rabbi Cohen’s draws on an eclectic alchemy of hasidic and neo-hasidic thinkers in his approach to Judaism, along with influences of Heschel, Kaplan, Buber, and Gillman. He views rabbinic leadership as an educational and spiritual service, and that Jewish communities are the sacred space in which Judaism becomes meaningful and inspiring. “For me, being a rabbi is leading such sacred space through teaching Torah and motivating others to find relevant meaning in our ancient wisdom that encourages us to fix our lives and our world,” he said.
Rabbi Cohen was born in Buenos Aires, where the strong influence of his grandparents drew him to Judaism from a young age. Rabbi Cohen served as the senior rabbi of the Asociacion Israelita Montefiore, a Conservative/Masorti congregation in Bogota, Colombia. He previously served as rabbi and director of Jewish Studies at the Colegio Tarbut in Buenos Aires, a Jewish day school of more than 1,500 students, and was the assistant rabbi at the Libertad Street Synagogue in Buenos Aires. Rabbi Cohen was ordained from the Seminario Rabinico Latino Americano, the Conservative Movement’s Latin American Rabbinical School, and is also a graduate of the Universidad de Buenos Aires School of Law.
Rabbi Cohen enjoys traveling, watching movies, and reading. He is married to Dafne and together they are raising three children, Tobías, Amós and Eden.