The Jewish Press salutes Rabbi Julius Berman as he steps down from the presidency of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (widely known as the Claims Conference) after six years as the organization’s president and 12 years as its chairman.
Term limited, he turned over the reins of the presidency last week to Gideon Taylor. The Claims Conference secures funds from Germany for victims of the Holocaust, and over the years of Berman’s service, tens of billions of dollars have been distributed.
A formidable and highly regarded attorney, Berman is a sought-after mentor and counselor who has informed the work of countless officials in the Jewish communal world who have seeked his guidance and direction over the years. He has himself been widely recognized as one of the leading Jewish communal leaders of the last half-century.
In addition to leading the Claims Conference, he has headed such groups as the Orthodox Union, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA), American Zionist Youth Foundation, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
An authentic talmid chacham, Rabbi Berman received semicha from Yeshiva University’s affiliate RIETS (Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary) and was a devoted student of the great gaon Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, zt”l, whose divrei Torah he often sprinkles his conversations with.
He served for many years as the rav’s confidant and has been instrumental in the publication of his works. He has also served as chairman of the board of RIETS and a member of Yeshiva University’s board of trustees.
Rounding out the picture is his wife Dorothy, herself a magna cum laude graduate of Stern College for Women and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology who is heavily involved in Jewish communal work.
We are proud to acknowledge Rabbi Berman’s extraordinary contributions to the Jewish commonweal. Amush!