Mandell Berman

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Mandell "Bill" Berman
Receiving the 2009 Simons Prize from the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan
Born 1917 (1917)
Detroit, Michigan
Died December 21, 2016(2016-12-21)[1]
Long Boat Key Florida
Cause of death heart failure
Resting place Clover Hill park cemetery
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Businessman, Philanthropist
Home town Detroit, Michigan
Spouse(s) Madeleine "Madge" Brodie, married 1950
Children Ann, Jon

Mandell "Bill" Berman (1917–2016) was the businessman (housing construction industry) and philanthropist behind the Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation,[2] which supports Jewish education, and research and study of the contemporary American Jewish community. His philanthropic focus was on the storage, dissemination, and preservation of Jewish data, as well as Jewish education and special education.[3]


Berman was born (1917) and grew up in Detroit, Michigan, one of four siblings. His mother was from Toledo, OH, descended of Eastern European immigrants. His father immigrated from Poland at a young age, and with a grade school education, served in the American Army as an officer and worked as a successful businessman. Berman was raised in a religiously traditional home, but was allowed to spend money and travel on shabbat in order to get to Hebrew school and religious services. He married Madge, née Madeleine Brodie, in 1950. They have two children and three grandchildren.[2][4][5]


Berman attended Detroit Central High School and Shaarey Tzedek High School. He briefly attended the University of Michigan, but then completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard College in 1940 graduating Magna Cum Laude, and graduated Harvard Business School in 1942. In 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.[2][6]



  • President: Bert L. Smokler & Company (1946–1975), Dreyfus Development Corporation (1969-19872), South Eastern Michigan Builders Association
  • Partner: Bert L. Smokler & Company (1946–1975)
  • Chairman of the Skillman Foundation
  • Chairman: Board of Trustees of the Michigan State Housing Finance Authority, Supervisory Board of Euroad
  • Board member: Dreyfus Corporation (NYSE), Guardian Industries (NYSE), Lennar Corporation (NYSE)

Berman also served 4 years in the United States Navy, including a posting in Okinawa.


Philanthropic Work[edit]

Selected Supported Projects[edit]


Positions Held[edit]

Current and/or Past:




  1. ^ Welch, Sherri (2016-12-21). "Developer, philanthropist Mandell 'Bill' Berman dies at 99". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h McGinity, Keren. Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry Lifetime Achievement Award Announcement, December 19, 2010
  3. ^ a b c A Philanthropist Crunches The Numbers, Tamar Snyder, New York Jewish Week, November 25, 2009
  4. ^ Speech, on reception of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry's first Berman award, December 19, 2011
  5. ^ a b Interview with Mandell Berman, Detroit Jewish Spirit: the Aish Detroit Community Magazine, Fall 2008
  6. ^ a b c Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit Annual Report 2003-2004
  7. ^ The Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner
  8. ^ Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner
  9. ^ North American Jewish Data Bank
  10. ^ Inter Agency Task Force on Israeli-Arab Issues
  11. ^ Life Members - Membership/Donations, The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, retrieved February 2, 2011
  12. ^ DSO Annual Meeting, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Blog, December 9, 2010
  13. ^ Frankely Speaking. Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, April 2008.
  14. ^ Our History, University of Michigan Hillel
  15. ^ Honor Roll of Donors, Perlman Music Program
  16. ^ Donors, Artserve
  17. ^ a b c History of the Berman Center, JESNA
  18. ^ Volunteer and Professional Leadership Biographies, JESNA National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01
  19. ^ a b c Confronting the Future of the Jewish People Iggeret Newsletter, June 1995
  20. ^ a b Press Release, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, May 5, 2009.
  21. ^ Board of Trustees, University of Michigan Hillel
  22. ^ Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry Lifetime Achievement Award, December 19, 2010