Seth, whose Hebrew name was Shmuel, came from a long line of Rabbis on his father’s side. His great grandfather, Shmuel Mordechai Berman, was the final arbiter (Chief Poskin) of Jewish issues in Denver, Colorado, until his death in 1947.
Seth’s great great grandfather, Zvi Hersh Berman, was the Chief Rabbi of Baltimore, Maryland, in the early 1900’s (he is known to have taught Hebrew to Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah.) His third great Grandfather, Wolf Samuelson, was a leading Talmudic scholar of his time, and passed away in the home of a younger cousin, the famed Rabbi Aryeh Levin, in Jerusalem, during World War I. Another relative in that generation was Yisrael Meir Kagan, the “Chofetz Chaim.” Finally, Seth’s 5th great grandfather, Shmuel Porush (“Shmuel of Ragola”) was a student in the Yeshiva of Chaim of Volozhin, the leading disciple of the Gaon of Vilna. Shmuel Porush walked from Vilna, Lithuania, to Jerusalem and upon his arrival in 1840 was immediately appointed Av Bet Din (Chief Rabbi.) He passed away in 1855 and is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
The following poem was written by Samuel Frommer, a grandson of Wolf Samuelson, for Seth’s great grandfather, Shmuel Mordechai, in 1947. The sentiments expressed in the poem apply equally to Seth. Slightly altered, it was read at his funeral on August 29, 1993 –
A Soul has left for realms we know not,
A Soul so fine, so dear,
That oft I think this soul was sent,
to show that God was near.
A saintly soul within a man, who in his earthly span,
proves once again that God’s within us,
since Cosmic time began.
From dust thou come, to dust returneth,
a speaker of words has said.
Not but the ashes complete the journey,
the Soul is never dead.
And so, take comfort family mine,
our Seth lives on high.
Embraced in Heaven, his soul was lent,
to teach that God is nigh.