Pearl Berg – Oldest Living Jewish Person in the World – Born October 1, 1909

I have written about Pearl Berg several times over the years. She is a long-time member of my congregation, Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. She was born on October 1, 1909 and is now, at 113 years, according to all information available, the 15th oldest living person in the world and the oldest living Jewish person in the world. Pearl was born in the state of Indiana to Archie Synenberg and Anna Gerson Synenberg.

I first met Pearl 35 years ago when she was a spry 79 years old. Pearl is still sharp, though “slowing down a bit,” according to her son Dr. Robert Berg of Washington, D.C. Either Robert (age 83) or his older brother, Dr. Allan Berg of Philadelphia (age 86), 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 are 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 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 my mother was 25 years old. When Mark died 35 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, California during World War II, Mark gave her a going-away office party. She never forgot it. My mother died 8 years ago at age of 98, and I thought she was old – a youngster compared with Pearl.

See for the list of the oldest people in the world according to the Gerontolgy Research Group.

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 immediate past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the newly created Union for Reform Judaism's Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC). 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 two books - “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (Nashville: Jewish Lights Publishing, a division of Turner Publishing Company, 2017) and "Why Israel [and its Future] Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press, 2019). Both 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.