Nominated and written by Daniel Wiseman, Former NCSYer
During his five years as NCSY director in Vancouver, Rabbi Avi Berman inspired us with his passion, energy, warmth, dedication, and tenacity. As regional director for NCSY across Western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest, he inspired countless Jews in Seattle, Portland, Edmonton, and Calgary, in addition to Vancouver. He inspired us with his unshakable commitment to Torah, his deep caring for the Jewish people, and his authentic connection to Israel. He made each member of our community – children, teens, adults, and elders – feel cherished and capable of greatness.
Most inspiring was his radiant Shabbos table. Together with his wife, Pnina, each week Rabbi Berman would host numerous families, teens, and individuals in our community, sharing with them the warmth and beauty of a traditional (and delicious) Shabbos meal. Shabbos lunch was consistently a time where 20-30 teens would gather at his home to connect with each other and grow in their Jewish commitment. All were drawn to Rabbi Berman’s warm personality and his authenticity. Also inspiring was the loving way the Bermans raise their children and instill within them our Torah’s values.
Rabbi Avi Berman inspired us with how he seeks to learn from everyone and always strives to reach new heights. He inspired us because he never stops thinking about the challenges facing the Jewish people and looking for new ways to bring Jews closer to Hashem and Torah, closer to Israel, and closer to each other. He continues to inspire the Jewish people in his role as Executive Director of OU Israel.