Born in Poland, he became a rabbinical student in his youth. In 1941, he was arrested by the Russian police and taken to a concentration camp in Siberia. After he was freed, he spent several years in Kazakhstan. In 1946, he returned to Poland and then immigrated to the United States in 1947. After a brief stay in New York, he settled in Toledo, Ohio, and was employed by Congregation B’nai Israel. During his 36 years there, he served as assistant cantor, Torah reader, scribe and B’nai Mitzvah teacher. After retiring in 1984, he moved to Tucson. He became the Torah reader at Congregation Anshei Israel and continued teaching students for the next 25 years. As a member of the Holocaust Survivors group, he participated in many observances and also served as a classroom speaker. His memoirs were published in a book, “The Diary of a Holocaust Survivor.”
Rev. Berkowitz was preceded in death by his son, Gary (Lois), in 2011. Survivors include his wife, Betty; children, Chaya (Harvey) Jurkowitz of Tucson and Morris (Ellen) Berkowitz of Toledo, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Services were held at Congregation Anshei Israel with Rabbi Robert Eisen. Rabbi Arthur Oleisky, Nichole Chorny and Cantor Avraham Alpert officiating. Interment followed in the Congregation Anshei Israel section of Evergreen Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Congregation Anshei Israel, Congregation Bet Shalom, or the Holocaust Education fund at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.