The Edmond J. Safra Synagogue located in Aventura, Florida was a project originally conceived by several members of the community from Brooklyn, New York and Deal, New Jersey. In the early 1990’s, under the leadership of Ossie Harary, Eddie Sitt z"l, Sam "Sonny" Gindi z"l, Lou Franco z"l and Amerique Ashear z"l, a group of men would meet in a small room in the North Tower of Turnberry, on Saturday Mornings, and say their prayers. During the week, they prayed at various synagogues along Dixie Highway or above the Police Station in Aventura Mall. That was the beginning of our vibrant and spirited Sephardic Synagogue of Turnberry which later became The Edmond J. Safra Synagogue.
In 1997 with the help of several community members including Messrs. Ralph Tawil, David Braka, Sr. z"l, Ivor Braka, Manny Haber and Lou Massry the acquisition of the land on which the Synagogue stands was completed. As talk of a Synagogue being built in Aventura began to circulate, in addition to the financial contributions received from families living in Brooklyn and Deal, we received funding from families living in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. We now truly had become an international Synagogue.
In September, 1998, early in the pre-construction stages, Mr. David Braka, Sr. z"l, Chairman Emeritus made the following statement: I wish to thank the numerous individuals who morally and financially support the project (of building this Synagogue) and the many friends who are committed to the religious values this synagogue shall represent. I appreciate each and every one of you.
During the construction, trailers were erected where prayers began and the day to day responsibility of running the synagogue fell upon Mr. Clement Soffer. While he resided in Aventura, he gave of himself unconditionally to better our Synagogue in any way possible.
This Synagogue is dedicated to the memory of one of the greatest philanthropist of the 20th century, Mr. Edmond J. Safra z"l. Since his passing in 1999, his wife, Mrs. Lily Safra has continued in his legacy of kindness and generosity.
In September 2001 we officially opened our doors and as a community celebrated the High Holidays for the first time in our beautiful water front sanctuary.
In our early years we had several Rabbis, namely Rabbi Chay Amar, Rabbi Meir Suli and Rabbi Aaron Lankry as well as Rabbi Elie Abadie during the summers, that helped us maintain our traditions and spiritual growth. As we grew, we learned that our Synagogue required a Rabbi that would guide us as a team to develop and support the growing needs of multi-generational and international community.
After a long and arduous search we were rewarded by the acceptance of Rabbi Yosef Galimidi as our Rabbi. We honored him and introduced him to our Community at a breakfast prior to Passover, 2008. He received Semicha from Rishon Lezion Rabbi Mordechai Eliahou, and Rabbi Yehuda Y. Yeruslavsky. He is multilingual; fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and some French and Arabic - a perfect match for our affluent national and international Syrian Sephardic community. He is also a member of the Kashrut department of the local Rabbinate of Miami, as well as the Erub Council, and is an active Mikveh and Beit Din Rabbinate member. He is recognized with the highest recommendations of the Sephardic Rabbinical Council of Brooklyn, as well as by the Great Chief Rabbis of Israel.
Rabbi Galimidi works with a marvelous Religious team. Rabbi Hanania Abisror has been essential in helping the community maintain its Torah values and traditions for many years. Morah Orly Dromi is our Early Childhood Shabbat and Holiday Program Director; she, together with volunteers, does an incredible job. The newest addition to our team is Rabbi Abraham Azancot who is coordinating classes and programs for our growing young adults and college age congregants.
Our Hazzanut department is very strong and has been enriched by a variety of Hazzanim. In 2008, our Hazzan, Jonathan Hen, arrived from Israel to enhance our enjoyment of the Sephardic liturgy. He was recommended by the famous cantorial synagogue in Jerusalem, Kenesset Ades. Hazzan Hen together with the master Hazzan Isaac (Cabbie) Cabasso, Hazzan Moshe (Moe) Tawil, the Legendary Mr. Mickey Kairey as well as Mr. Moises Frastai, our Torah reader for many years, have kept our beautiful prayers and tunes deeply engraved in our hearts and souls. Cantor Amram Lasri is the Hazzan and Torah reader of the Father & Son Minyan, as well as the weekday early Midrash Minyan. Additionally Cantor Lasri trains young member of the Father & Son in the weekly Torah reading.
Our Synagogue is blessed to have our very own dedicated Safra Florida Bikur Holim Program. The ladies reach out to those in need with compassion, discretion and loving kindness. Recently we launched the "Pauline Braka A"H Women's Committee. The wonderful volunteers are developing events and activities for the entire Community.
Our hard working Board Members who have together accomplished so much in the last decade, have been lead by extraordinary Presidents. We thank them profusely: Elie S. Sutton 2002-2004, Abe Franco 2004-2008, Jack Beyda 2008-2011, Abe Franco again from 2011 to 2013, Jack Beyda again from 2013-2015 and Abe Franco again from 2015 to present.
The Edmond J. Safra Synagogue is known throughout the world as one of the most magnificent Synagogues and visited by thousands of visitors from all over the world throughout the year. Our Synagogue is a jewel in South Florida and a proud Sephardic house of worship that demonstrates and projects the beauty and the dedication of the Syrian Sephardic community. It reflects the high standard of dedication to the Almighty.
In 2011, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary. This historical event was a testimony to the vision of our esteemed Chairman Emeritus, Mr. David Braka, Sr. z"l, and a dream turned into reality.
We welcome you and your families to participate with us in our services, classes and programs for all segments of our beautiful community. We are a unique Synagogue supported strictly LESHEM SHAMAYIM, similar to our original Beit Hamikdash that was supported by the people in beautifying and strengthening the house of the Lord.