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Joanna Berger

Joanna Berger, 83, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, died on 12 May 2017.

The Funeral was held at IRA KAUFMAN CHAPEL on Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 11:00 AM .

Rabbi Robert Gamer, Rabbi David Nelson and Cantor Samuel Greenbaum officiated.

Click to watch a video of the recorded service.

Interment at Adat Shalom Memorial Park.

Click for Directions for Cemetery

The family of Joanna Berger will be gathering through the evening of Tuesday, May 16 at the residence of Karen and Dr. Dan Ockner, 4358 Yale Ct, Bloomfield Hills MI 48302. The phone number is 248-851-3310.

The family will gather on Sunday following interment until 4:30 p.m. and from 6:30-9:30 p.m. On Monday and Tuesday the family will gather from 12:00-4:30 p.m. and from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Religious services will be held at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Click for Directions to Shiva

Family members include:
Beloved wife of 62 years of Dr. Eli V. Berger. Cherished mother of Jeffrey (Susan Kessler) Berger, Wendy Berger (Glen) Pickover, and Karen (Dr. Dan) Ockner. Loving grandmother of Sherri Berger (Ian Gardiner), Tracy (fiance Jovette Estrellado) Berger, Aaron Pickover, Jamie Ockner and Rachel Ockner. Adored sister of Dr. Richard Collens.. Dear sister-in-law of Anita Epstein (the late Henry), Stanley (Phyllis) Berger, and the late Blanche Walters (the late Beryle). Daughter of the late Dr. William S. Collens and the late Clara Lerner Collens. Daughter-in-law of the late Adele and the late Sol Berger. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, on December 6, 1933, Joanna graduated from the University of Michigan and became a medical illustrator; her illustration credits include several anatomy textbooks, as well as a dental exhibit that was on display at the Detroit Science Center for many years. But Joanna found her true calling in the early 1970's, when she volunteered to teach English as a second language to the many new immigrants who came to Detroit from the former Soviet Union. The opportunity to help the new Americans learn English and transition into living in the U.S. became her passion, and over the years she became the head of the ESL department; obtained a Master's Degree in Linguistics to further her efforts to aid the immigrants; developed new textbooks and teaching methods that helped the new Americans adapt; worked with JFS and JVS to help the immigrants obtain jobs and pursue careers; and started the Circle of Friends program at Congregation Beth Shalom to help the new Americans become comfortable in their community.

Joanna was an active member (and officer) of Congregation Beth Shalom; a Life Member of National Council of Jewish Women, Hadassah and ORT; an active participant in Federation campaigns and other events and activities; and a volunteer in a variety of other causes. Joanna was recognized by many organizations for her dedication and service; she received the Retiree Award from the O.C.C.A.E., the Shin award (with Eli) from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and was an Eight Over Eighty award recipient in her first year of eligibility. (Her mother, Clara Collens, was also an Eight Over Eighty award recipient, making Joanna a second-generation recipient of the award.) Joanna was an avid lover of music and art. But first and foremost, Joanna was devoted to Eli, her children and grandchildren, her extended family, and many friends.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Joanna Berger may do so by making a contribution to:

Congregation Beth Shalom
Circle of Friends Fund
14601 W. Lincoln
Oak Park, Mi 48237
Click to Visit Charity Website

Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network
6555 West Maple
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Click to Visit Charity Website

University of Michigan - LS&A
500 South State Street, Suite 5000
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382
Click to Visit Charity Website

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