Myra was an original member of Midbar Kodesh Temple

June 23, 2020

 

Myra Slotnick Berkovits, a graduate of Loyola University-Chicago, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she taught at risk children for 14 years. Myra came to Las Vegas with her husband and two young children. She worked with Manpower, eventually buying a restaurant reservation service that made lunch and dinner reservations for most attendees at a variety of conventions.   After a divorce, Myra went back to UNLV to take classes. She became licensed to teach elementary school in the Clark County School District and earned a Master's degree in Educational Supervision. Myra became an administrator and for 13 years was in charge of Title I HOPE, which serves the homeless student population of the Clark County School District.

 

Myra was always interested in the Holocaust and after meeting Edythe Katz in the early 1990's, she began to volunteer at the Sperling Kronberg Mack Holocaust Resource Center. She served as the Educational Specialist for the Governor's Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust. The Council awarded her a grant to study at the summer institute at Holocaust at Yad Vashem which enabled her to write a curriculum. She also trained at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. While still a CCSD administrator, Myra began to teach both Clark County and Washoe County teachers how to teach the Holocaust, providing instruction to four classes a year. Upon her 2013 retirement from the Clark County School District, she was able to devote her energies to developing classes on a more regular basis. With the help of Susan Dubin, now in charge of the HRC currently housed at Midbar Kodesh Temple, and Doug Unger, who chaired the Governor's Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust, the spirit of the Sperling Kronberg Mack Holocaust Resource Center was renewed. Together with Sue, she created, developed and taught two to three classes during several fall and spring semesters for educators in the Clark County School District. The resource center was again being used by both teachers and others in the community who wanted to learn about the Holocaust. Myra said that "one of the projects which I am most proud of is the essay contest we ran through the Clark County School District. We asked students to write an essay about 'If you were able to interview a Holocaust Survivor, what questions would you ask him or her?' Our Holocaust Education Conference Committee chose 10 student essays. We paired each student with a Survivor and over the course of several weeks, Vegas PBS filmed the interviews. The interviews were made into a short documentary which still is shown at least once a year on Vegas PBS. I was the producer of the film."

 

Myra was also privileged to interview 35 Las Vegas Holocaust Survivors for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles. Myra said that was "a watershed moment in my life for many different reasons. It gave me insight into what bravery, courage, perseverance, forgiveness and fortitude looked like through the experiences of Holocaust Survivors. During this period of time I interviewed David Berkovits, who was a Survivor from Hungary. In 1998 our friendship became a relationship and we were married in January, 1999." David and Myra were married for almost 15 years until his death in 2013. "He taught me so many things," Myra said, "but most importantly, if you have love of family and freedom to be...life is beautiful."

 

Myra spends time traveling to visit her children and grandchildren who live in New York City and San Diego.  She also works on occasion as a substitute administrator for the Clark County School District. She is a member of Hadassah Southern Nevada. She enjoys traveling, needlepoint, quilting, reading, and swimming. For many years Myra was a member of the citywide annual Yom Hashoah planning committee. She has served on the board of Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Service Agency, the Holocaust Education Conference Committee, Southern Nevada Board member of the Regional Planning Coalition Committee on Homelessness, and Board member of E.O.B. Community Action Partnership.

 

Myra was an original member of Midbar Kodesh Temple and rejoined again in 2016. She was the synagogue's chairperson of the Yom Hashoah event held at Midbar Kodesh Temple and chaired the community event about the SS St. Louis, the German ship carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees who in 1939 were denied permission to land in several countries.

 

Myra said that she "likes belonging to Midbar because I always feel comfortable. I also like seeing old friends and familiar faces." She looks forward to new programs that will engage younger adults and their children in all the ways to appreciate their heritage and their Judaism.

 

 

 

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