Bart Bookatz has been told he has a hard time saying “no,” and his list of organizations reinforces that claim. Bookatz, president of Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, has enjoyed involving himself throughout Cleveland’s Jewish community.
“I don’t just help families prepare for the funeral,” he said. “I help families in need throughout the entire grieving process.”
Bookatz never lets finances get in the way of someone receiving a proper funeral. He also helps mitigate financial difficulties in the community through the Hebrew Free Loan Association, where he provides financial help to those who can’t obtain conventional loans.
Recently, he has focused his time and energy on raising security in the Jewish community through his involvement in the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s security committee. “I want people in this community to feel safe going to any Jewish event or organization,” he said.
Bookatz has raised the security profile by increasing security guard presence at Jewish events and religious organizations, as well as increasing security training.
He focuses not only on local activity, but on global activity relating to Jews and Israel. Through the American Jewish Committee, he works with foreign dignitaries to promote Israel, while recognizing anti-Semitism exists around the world. Bookatz realizes the problem Jews face is not confined to Cleveland, but is a prevalent issue worldwide. He enjoys spending time advocating for Jews on a larger scale, but emphasizes the importance of locally supporting the Jewish community.
At a Glance
As a professional: Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz
Children: O Bryon; Dr. G Bradley
Synagogue: The Temple-Tifereth Israel, Park Synagogue, Young Israel of Greater Cleveland, Suburban Temple-Kol Ami and B’nai Jeshurun Congregation
In the community: Vice president of American Jewish Committee; Jewish Federation of Cleveland, where he is chair of its security committee; Hebrew Free Loan Association; Israel Bonds; ORT America; and Milestones Autism Resources.
Noteworthy: He has spent 45 years as a funeral director.