Mandell Berman: Making Jewish Education a Priority

Mandell "Bill" Berman at the 2009 Simon's Award of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan
Mandell “Bill” Berman at the 2009 Simon’s Award of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.

Extremely rooted in his heritage, Mandell “Bill” Berman, who died last December at the age of 99, supported Jewish education and the study of the contemporary American Jewish community.

Berman was born and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. His mother was descended from Eastern European immigrants, and his father arrived in the US from Poland when he was still a child. After serving in the US Army and attending Harvard University, he then became a successful businessman.

  • For Berman, success meant giving. The list of organizations that benefited from his largess is long:
  • The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan
  • The Inter Agency Task Force on Israeli-Arab Issues
  • The North American Jewish Data Bank

And that is just a small sample.

He was also generous with non-Jewish causes, such as the Michigan Human Society; The Detroit Symphony Orchestra; the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute; and many more.

Berman passed away on December 21, 2016, in Long Boat Key Florida, of heart failure. As US Representative Sander Levin said after Berman’s passing that Mr. Berman’s legacy has left an immeasurable impact on communities across metro Detroit.

“Bill Berman brought home from his active service in World War II a deepened determination to live a good life and help others from all walks of life be able to do so,” Levin said in the statement. “Bill Berman helped in innumerable ways to build a better world, and for many, many of us the world will now be a very different place without him.”

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