Max at Ninety!!!
8 October 2006
It was ninety years ago in Chicago that the world first took notice of Max Berkovitz…and since that time, the world has had ample reason to notice Max Berkovitz
Max was raised in a loving home; he’s often spoken of the warmth and security he felt from the love of his parents. Here is Max in one of his soulful poems telling of his remberances of home:

The Visit

All are asleep when I return
But I do not feel alone.
The kitchen is a quiet welcome, chapel lit
By the glass encased memorial candle
For a grandmother I had never seen.
My father's words, her only photograph,
"Suffered much. Always gentle."

The glass is almost empty now,
Flashing wild hunger for tallow
To neutral walls.
I sit and watch. Finally,
Resignation, a tiny flame.
The last weak flicker
Fades to a thin smoke wisp
Curling gently
Around my finger
As I reach for arms
That never held me.

At a tender age, he attended Cheder (sp?); an orthodox Jewish school where being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler was part of the curriculum. Max has many amusing stories to tell of that time.
I wish I could fill in the many years before I knew Max. I know, only, that he finished his schooling and university studies majoring in English and Literature and, along the way, found and nourished his remarkable gift for poetry.
When WW II came along, Max put on a uniform and served his country training pilots for the U.S. Air Force.
Fortuately for us, Max settled in Los Angeles after the war, taught school and raised a family which includes his daughter Lisa and sons David and Robert.

As a teacher, Max had no peer. We’ve heard from his former students of their admiration and love for this man. This is what one of his former students has to say about Max’s book, “The Byte and Bits of Language”…(how many of us have written…much less published and sold…a book?)…

"The Byte and Bits of Language is a rare gem, remarkable for the brevity and clarity in which the author unfolds the basic tools of sentence writing(and reading) in the simplest terms possible. Max Berkovitz has devoted a lifetime teaching young students how to write. Having been one of those students (over 25 years ago), I can assure you that young men and women will come away from this little volume with a feeling of enlightenment and all the power and confidence that a mastery of the English language can provide." Robert H. Kohn

And here from another of Max's students....

For Max...

[Who made so much possible
With abiding love and gratitude]

What chance delight I take in days,
In facing vagaries of fate,
Or laughing in denial’s face,
Whatever skills I have to glean
The sunspot in the deepest fog
To know that I deserve good care,
Was gleaned in some odd mystic path
From love your parents gave to you
So richly and abundantly
There was enough to shower me -
[and God know many others too]
To change my world from pain and rue
To self appreciation due
To every one - but in my life
A gift from you
It always, only, came, from you
And this is Max and this is love
And nothing else is quite as true.

With love, always
Rowena [Silver]

Max, we’re here to celebrate a great life…a life that has given so much to so many…a life that we are grateful to have shared for a few moments. We love you, Max….

Finally, Marion, we thank you for letting us celebrate this time together. We all know of the care and devotion you’ve given Max and, praise the Lord, we’ll have more happy times to come….

Ellis Katz