September 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Press Releases | 1 Comment

Lenore Berke, a 102-year-old resident of Montefiore, is signing the Jewish Federation’s Endowment Book of Life at a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, in the atrium at Montefiore, One David N. Myers Drive, Beachwood, Ohio.  The Endowment Book of Life contains personal messages from those who, through their foresight and generosity, have made provisions for the future of the Jewish community through their estate plan.  Signees have created an endowment of $100,000 or more at the Jewish Federation.


The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, established in 1904, is just slightly older than Lenore Berke.  It is a nonprofit charitable organization that supports social service, educational and humanitarian efforts that improve lives in Cleveland and around the world.  In the past year, it helped 40,000 people in Cleveland’s Jewish and general communities.


The following is Lenore Berke’s personal Endowment Book of Life statement:


My husband, Norman Berke (1916-2007), liked to tell the story of his near-death experience at age 16. After a strange virus put him in a coma, he awakened to hear clergy administering last rites over his St. Vincent Charity Hospital bed. To their shock, he opened his eyes and said, “Stop! I’m Jewish!”  And then he vowed that if God spared his life, he would spend the rest of his earthly days performing acts of tzedakah.

Over the next 75 years, Norman kept that promise. The son of Polish immigrants Mollie and Joseph Berke lived his gratitude every day. And as husband and wife, we committed leadership and financial support to dozens of Cleveland institutions. Much of that support went to Montefiore Home, where we have funded countless patient and staff services, as well as public spaces. In 2010, I celebrated my 102nd birthday as the home’s oldest resident and also dedicated the new Norman and Lenore Berke Orthopedic Annex.

We are honored to include the Jewish Federation in our estate planning. Blessed with long life, security and love, we never forgot how God kept His part of that long-ago bargain. And we proudly link our names in the Endowment Book of Life, sharing our good fortune with future generations.

Lenore Berke



– JFC –


1 Comment »

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  1. she is such a joy to be around every time i see her i smile

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