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Avrahm (“Avi”) Berkowitz

(1988 - )

Avrahm (“Avi”) Berkowitz was born on November 4, 1988. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home in the New York suburb of Lawrence, Long Island. Berkowitz went to the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway for high school before spending two years studying at Yeshiva Kol Torah in Jerusalem. He returned to the United States in 2009 to attend Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore and went on to Queens College.

Berkowitz met Jared Kushner on the basketball court at a Passover program at a Arizona hotel while he was attending Queens College. After he graduated, Kushner hired him to manage the apartment portfolio for his family’s real estate company.

Berkowitz went on to Harvard Law School and contributed articles to the Kushner-owned New York Observer. When he graduate in 2016, he intended to go to work for a law firm, but instead was recruited by Kushner be the director of a Facebook Live talk show called Trump Tower Live. He also became Assistant Director of Data Analytics for the Trump campaign after being allowed to postpone joining the Gibson Dunn law firm.

Following Trump’s victory, Berkowitz abandoned his plan to work in a law firm and moved instead to Washington to serve as Kushner’s deputy in the White House.

In September 2019, he was named Special Assistant to the President and assistant to Senior Advisor Jared Kushner. He was picked to replace Jason Greenblatt, one of the architects with Kushner of the administration’s peace initiative. While some questioned his experience for the job, Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Avi has been an integral member of this team since the beginning….He’s been to all of the trips overseas and in all the meetings, in a high-level capacity developing the administration’s plan.”

Sources: “Avi Berkowitz,” Wikipedia;
“How Avrahm Berkowitz Landed in the West Wing,” JewishInsider, (January 20, 2017);
Eliza Relman, “Jared Kushner's 28-year-old protégé is his right-hand man in the White House,” Business Insider, (April 5, 2017);
Josefin Dolsten, Meet the Jews in Donald Trump’s administration, JTA, (January 26, 2017)
Ron Kampeas, “Who Is Avi Berkowitz, the Kushner Adviser Stepping in to Work on Israeli-Palestinian Peace?” JTA, September 7, 2019).