Former Detroiter chosen to give a benediction at the convention.
On Thursday, Aug. 20, Rabbi Lauren Berkun virtually delivered the nightly benediction at the Democratic National Convention. Rabbi Berkun was the only rabbi chosen to deliver a benediction throughout the convention.
Rabbi Berkun currently serves as the vice president of rabbinic initiatives for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. For many years, Rabbi Berkun and her husband, Rabbi Jonathan Berkun, served the Metro Detroit Jewish community.
Her husband was previously a rabbi at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield. They currently reside in Florida, where her husband is a rabbi at a congregation in Aventura. Rabbi Berkun’s father-in-law, Alvin Berkun, is rabbi emeritus at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which was devastated by a shooting two years ago.
Rabbi Berkun was allotted only 40 seconds for her benediction. She wanted to ensure that in that short span of time, both Jewish audiences and non-Jewish audiences alike would appreciate and grasp the importance of spiritual connection and provide a message of hope.
“For me, presenting a prayer at the DNC gave me an opportunity to share with a national audience a message of hope from the Jewish tradition. I tried to be careful not to use that prayerful moment as a moment of political endorsement,” Rabbi Berkun wrote in a blog post. “As people of faith, we can contribute to a healthier society and a healthier political discourse if we embrace a religious humility that acknowledges that no single human being, school of thought, or political party can have a monopoly on divine Truth.”
— "When Rabbis Bless Congress" (@CongressRabbi) August 21, 2020