Zev Auerbach, 57

Zev Auerbach, 57

Popular former Aventura commissioner Zev Auerbach dies at 57


Special to the Miami Herald

Kind, caring and unselfish — that is how former Aventura commissioner Zev Auerbach was described by colleagues for a life of civic and philanthropic service.

Auerbach died Wednesday of cancer at a New York City hospital. He was 57.

Auerbach served on the Aventura City Commission from 2003-2012. Aventura Mayor Susan Gottlieb said Auerbach always helped others.

“You never heard ‘no’ from Zev,” Gottlieb said. “He was extremely pure of heart.”

Auerbach, who was a creative partner with Zimmerman Advertising, redesigned the logos of the city’s circulator buses, came up with a slogan and created an advertising campaign that increased ridership from 10,000 a month to 26,000.

“He didn’t get paid for anything,” Gottlieb said. “He just saw it as his civic responsibility. He was just that kind of person. He did everything he was asked and more.”

He also helped with creating the billboards that the city used to help garner funding for its charter schools, Gottlieb said.

“He was a great thought leader,” said Cliff Courtney, chief marketing officer at Zimmerman, where Auerbach worked for nearly 15 years. “He understood consumer trends and behavior. He was a strategic thinker and not just a creative thinker.”

He was sought out for his advice when he created the name for the Anchors Away Foundation, which provides sailing programs for physically and intellectually disabled children, said Elaine Adler, the president of the Aventura Marketing Council, who is also active with the foundation.

“He was involved in the crafting of the foundation,” said Adler, who has known Auerbach for 20 years. “He said we are taking anchors off of children that don’t have freedom on land and giving them freedom on water.”

Auerbach also worked with the City of North Miami Beach to collect food for the needy, said Aventura Commissioner Billy Joel.

“He was one of the finest young men that we ever had in the commission,” said Joel. “He was always helpful to everyone — adults and children.”

Auerbach left a legacy that will be remembered by friends and colleagues, Adler said.

“He was one of the most unselfish, giving people that I’ve ever met in life,” Adler said. “He lived by the saying ‘pay it forward.’ 

Auerbach was generous with his personal time as well. Adler recounted a time when he helped to cheer her up after an illness of a relative.

“He could sense when something was not right,” Adler said. “He became my personal rock and support with prayers and encouragement.”

Auerbach was a follower of Kabbalah — an ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and using esoteric methods — and opened his home to others to learn about the tradition.

He is survived by his second wife, Orly; son, Logan; and daughter, Ariel. Auerbach will be laid to rest in Israel. As of Friday, there were no scheduled plans for a memorial service in Florida.

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