Resisting taboos around discussing death, Rochel Udovich Berman has worked to educate people on Jewish funerary practices and encourage them to participate in the mitzvah of caring for the dead. Berman earned both a BA and a BSW in Winnipeg in 1956 and 1957 before moving to America, where she earned an MSW from the Hunter College School of Social Work. She spent a number of years working as director of community relations for the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, New York. In 1985, after her father’s death, she began volunteering with the hevra kadisha (burial society) of Congregation Rosh Pinah in Westchester, New York. As executive director of the American Society for Yad Vashem, she also honored those who died in the Holocaust by leading efforts to collect data from survivors on their deceased relatives. After retiring to Boca Raton in 2000, she narrated a segment on hevra kadisha for PBS in 2004 and wrote Dignity Beyond Death (2005), discussing Jewish burial practices and her experience of working in a hevra kadisha, and highlighting the extra sensitivity required for tending the bodies of Holocaust survivors and victims of terrorist attacks. In 2015 she began teaching classes on hevra kadisha work to teens at Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Rochel Berman." (Viewed on June 14, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/berman-rochel>.