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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman

Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman

April 9, 1924 - June 22, 2015

Service Information Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills - TaNaCH Chapel

Service Date: Thursday June 25th, 2015

Service Time: 12:30 pm

Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills - TaNaCH Chapel

5950 Forest Lawn Drive

Los Angeles, California 90068

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Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman graduated from the College of the City f New York in 1944 with the degree of Bachelor of Civil Engineering.  Not wishing to pursue a career in engineering, his love for Jewish studies led him to enroll in the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained in 1948.  He came to California where he served congregations in Sierra Madre, Burbank and Encino.

In addition to his congregational and community activities, Rabbi Bergman was involved in the establishment of the University of Judaism, serving as part-time faculty.  In 1964 he was persuaded to come to the University full time as Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer in Rabbinic Literature, an association that continued until his retirement as Professor of Rabbinic Literature.  During this time, Rabbi Bergman also acquired a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree and was admitted to the California Bar.  He also taught part-time as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Law School.

Chief among his local community activities was the founding of the Beit Din (rabbinical court) of the Western States Region of the Rabbinical Assembly in 1950, continuing to serve as Av Beit Din. On the national level, Rabbi Bergman served on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly for over 20 years and was a founding member of the Joint Beit Din of the Conservative Movement, serving from 1989 to 2008.  Most recently, with the renewed interest in the use of the mikveh (ritual bath), Rabbi Bergman has been able to combine his engineering background with his rabbinical scholarship,  helping communities to design and build new mikvaot, so that he has become known as the “mikveh-maven” of the non-Orthodox world.

Among the articles he has written and published in various journals, especially noteworthy is “Is the Cloth Unraveling: A First Look at Clergy Malpractice” published in University of San Fernando Valley Law Review, reprinted and included in several legal journals, and cited in a decision of the California Court of Appeals,.  Rabbi Bergman is the author of the excursus on the Civil and Criminal law of the Bible in Etz Hayim, Torah and Commentary, published by the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Most important of all, he married Bella Beer in 1946. Together they enjoyed their children, Aviva and Avi (Nancy) and their granddaughter, Alexa.