Hy Safran and Bill Berman, August 2016
Hy Safran and Bill Berman, August 2016

My Mentor, My Friend

Bill Berman was the closest individual I had to a grandfather as well as my primary mentor, adviser, supporter, synagogue seat-mate, political guide, philanthropic teacher and — perhaps most importantly of all — friend. 

Hy Safran and Bill Berman, August 2016

Outside of my immediate family, there is no one who knew me better or counseled me more wisely. I cannot think of a major personal or professional decision I made over the past decade in which I did not consult Bill for his advice. 

Exchanging stories, learning lessons, sharing laughs (he was absolutely hilarious), confronting the challenges facing the Jewish people, analyzing politics, admiring art, enjoying the beach, studying Torah, teaching me about my namesake and late grandfather — his mentor, Hyman Safran — all of these anecdotes occurred regularly, whether in Detroit, Florida or anywhere. 

Bill was my go-to source for all things wise and meaningful, and I am grateful for every moment I had with him.

I am stunned and heartbroken at this monumental loss, but feel so fortunate to have had this gentle titan in my life.  

He impacted my life in countless ways. Losing him is a devastating blow, but an immediate clarion call — like the shofar he loved — for me, and indeed all of us, to do more to help our fellow human beings.  

Jackie Headapohl


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