The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America is pleased to announce that Rabbi Lauren Berkun has stepped into a new role as Director of Rabbinic and Synagogue Programs, leading the Institute’s signature educational initiatives for rabbis and lay leaders.
Rabbi Berkun has been a vital member of the SHI North America team for several years, most recently serving as Director of Educational Projects and a member of the Institute’s faculty. Since 2007, Rabbi Berkun has created strong connections with leaders in South Florida and taught to great acclaim in Hartman summer Community Leadership Program retreats in Jerusalem and throughout the year in Toronto, Boston, and New York. She led efforts to create and disseminate educational materials for several of the SHI video lecture series. Most recently, Rabbi Berkun was instrumental in the recruitment of the extraordinary fifth cohort of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative, a program of which she is also an alumna.
Rabbi Berkun graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, a CLAL Rabbinic intern, and a Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, she has served as the JTS Midwest KOLLOT Rabbinic Scholar, Director of Lifelong Learning at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Michigan, and Scholar-in-Residence for the Women’s Department of Federation.
Rabbi Berkun has written and taught extensively on the topics of mikveh, sexual ethics, and body image. She is also a certified Sivananda yoga instructor and teaches seminars on Jewish meditation and Jewish mysticism. She lives in Aventura, Florida, with her husband, Rabbi Jonathan Berkun of Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, and their children, Jeremy, Jonah, and Eliana.
“Lauren is a gifted teacher and a visionary thinker,” said Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, “She has been a great asset to the Shalom Hartman Institute for several years, shaping key aspects of our educational programs for rabbis and lay leaders. I am thrilled that in her new role in our organization she will be leading our efforts to take rabbinic and synagogue education to new heights, strengthening the Institute’s reach across North America.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to both study and work at the Hartman Institute over the past decade,” said Rabbi Berkun. “I am thrilled to assume the leadership of rabbinic programs at Hartman, because I know that these programs have an immeasurable impact on the lives of countless rabbis and help them bring a richer and more vibrant Torah to their communities.”