Joseph Berger (author)

Joseph Berger (born January 17, 1945 in Lysva, Soviet Union[1]) is an American journalist, author, and speaker. He was a staff reporter and editor for The New York Times from 1984 to 2014 and has authored four books.

Joseph Berger
Born (1945-01-17) January 17, 1945 (age 75)
Lysva, Russia
OccupationJournalist, author
EducationCity College of New York, 1966
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
SubjectsHistory, social science, ethnic culture
Notable worksDisplaced Persons: Growing Up American After the Holocaust

Early life and educationEdit

Joseph Berger was born in Lysva, Russia,[2] to Polish-born parents who had fled their hometowns to escape the Nazis.[3] Berger lived in several displaced persons camps in post-World War II Europe before immigrating to the United States in 1950 with his parents and younger brother.[4] A sister was born in the U.S. His book Displaced Persons: Growing Up American After the Holocaust describes his upbringing as a refugee child of Yiddish-speaking parents.[3]

Berger attended the Manhattan Day School, an Orthodox yeshiva, followed by a year at Yeshiva University, before enrolling at the Bronx High School of Science.[5] After high school he attended the City College of New York, graduating in 1966, and completed his M.A. in journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.[2]


Berger was an English teacher from 1967 to 1971. He then became a feature writer for the New York Post from 1971 to 1978. He next worked as a reporter and religion writer for Newsday from 1978 to 1984.[6]

Berger joined the staff of The New York Times in 1984.[2][4] He served as chief religion correspondent from 1985 to 1987, and as national and local education correspondent from 1987 to 1993.[2] He then served as deputy education editor and acting education editor, leading a 10-person staff.[2] Berger wrote a column on education from 2006 to 2008.[2] Articles that he wrote on New York's ethnic culture between 2004 and 2007 formed the basis for his book The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York.[2] He also served as a temporary assistant Metro editor and Times bureau chief in Jerusalem. He retired from the paper in December 2014.[5]

Awards and honorsEdit

Berger was a three-time winner of the Religion Newswriters Association's Supple Award during his stint at Newsday.[2] He received the 1993 Education Writers Association award "for exposing biases in bilingual education" and the 2011 Peter Kihss Award from the Society of the Silurians, for his reporting work and "his interest in mentoring younger colleagues".[2][7]

Berger is a popular speaker on the subjects of immigration, education, New York City, the Holocaust, and Israel.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Berger and his wife Brenda, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, have one daughter.[7] They reside in Westchester County, where he is a member of a Reconstructionist synagogue.[4]


  • The Young Scientists: America's Future and the Winning of the Westinghouse. Addison-Wesley. 1994. ISBN 9780201632552.
  • Displaced Persons: Growing Up American After the Holocaust. Scribner. 2001. ISBN 9780684857572.
  • The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York. Ballantine Books. 2007. ISBN 9780345487384.


  1. ^ "Ask A Reporter: Joseph Berger". The New York Times. 1999. Archived from the original on November 3, 2002.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Joseph Berger, Class of 1966". City College of New York Alumni Association. 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Getlin, Josh (July 10, 2001). "Revealing the Struggles of Holocaust Survivors in U.S." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Goldman, Ari L. (August 7, 2012). "The Times' Kosher Berger". The Times of Israel. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Resnick, Elliot (December 17, 2014). "'My Job As A Journalist Is To Tell The Story': An Interview with New York Times Reporter Joseph Berger". The Jewish Press. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Nemeh, Katherine H., ed. (2014). The Writers Directory. 1 (32nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press. p. 250.
  7. ^ a b Plaxe, Harriet (June 2, 2015). "Joseph Berger". Temple Sholom of West Essex. Retrieved October 21, 2018.

External linksEdit