Pearl Berg celebrates her 113th birthday – Perhaps the oldest Jew in America

Pearl Berg's 109th birthday
Pearl and I at her 110th birthday celebration (image courtesy of author)

Each year, for more years than I can recall, I offered a blessing to our oldest congregant at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles, Pearl Berg. Pearl is the oldest human being I have ever known. I met her 34 years ago when she was a spry 79 years old.

There are perhaps 1000 people in the world who reach 110 years of age.

Pearl is still sharp, though “slowing down a bit,” according to her son Bob Berg of Washington, D.C.. Either Bob (age 82) or his older brother, Dr. Allan Berg of Philadelphia (age 85), come to visit their mother regularly.

Pearl is a marvel not only because of her age, but because she remains a positive clear-thinking kind woman whose wit and sense of humor is a constant, who welcomes graciously all visitors, who reads every day,  and plays gin rummy remembering the cards her opponent picks up – most of the time.

My connection with Pearl and her family precedes my own birth. Pearl’s husband Mark (z’l) employed my mother in the early 1940s as an office worker in his Los Angeles scrap metal business when she was 25 years old. When Mark died 33 years ago and I prepared my eulogy, my mother told me that Mark was the kindest of bosses. When she departed from his business to volunteer at an army base in San Luis Obispo during World War II, Mark gave her a going-away office party. She never forgot it. My mother died 7 years ago at age of 98, and I thought that she was old – a youngster compared with Pearl.

Happy Birthday Pearl! We looking forward to celebrating your 114th birthday next October 1.

See article published in the LA Jewish Journal, “113 year-old Pearl Berg may be the oldest Jew in the world”

Pearl is listed below as the 12th oldest American, but adjusted to her real birthday of October 1, 1909 (according to birth records), she is the 8th oldest person in the United States and the 2nd oldest in California. Pearl is likely the oldest Jewish person in the United States and possibly the world!

About the Author
John L. Rosove is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and a past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the Advisory Council of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of 3 books - "From the West to the East - A Memoir of a Liberal American Rabbi" (2024), "Why Israel Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to the Next Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (Revised edition 2023), and “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (2017). All are available at John translated and edited the Hebrew biography of his Great Granduncle – "Avraham Shapira – Veteran of the Haganah and Hebrew Guard" by Getzel Kressel (publ. by the Municipality of Petach Tikvah, 1955). The translation was privately published (2021). John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (married to Marina) and David. He has two grandchildren and he lives in Los Angeles.
Related Topics
Related Posts