When Steve and Candy Berman got married, they made a deal: He would go to Israel with her, and she would go to a Notre Dame game with him. Steve grew up in Indiana, while Candy hails from Alabama.
Candy hated Notre Dame, as the football team had beaten Alabama for the National Championship twice, but wanted to return to Israel, so, the deal was made.
Forty-seven years later, the pair is passionate about Notre Dame football and gets pleasure from their philanthropy. Berman Commons, the Jewish HomeLife’s assisted living facility, is named for Steve and his work on behalf of the aged.
Steve, a CPA, has been practicing for 50 years in tax, estate and charitable planning. Candy, an event consultant, has facilitated fundraising events that have raised some $100 million.
Read on to learn about how they became community leaders and their penchant for silly hats and fashionable shoes.
Jaffe: Which of you is the silliest?
Steve: We don’t take ourselves too seriously and aren’t above making fools of ourselves. For every special occasion, Candy writes parodies. She sings them in front of many folks. Her voice is terrible.
Candy: Steve collects silly hats and has duffel bags filled with them. Some of our kids like it when he puts one on, others are embarrassed. He puts them on regularly in public. I try to ignore it … hoping it will go away.
Jaffe: Others don’t know …
Steve: Candy’s shoes. We can never leave town without Candy coming back with at least one pair of new shoes. She built a larger closet to accommodate them.
Candy: Steve supports so many causes. If he receives an envelope with a nickel, he donates a miniscule amount to that cause. He attends every event where he knows the honoree or chairs it. He believes strongly in showing up.
Jaffe: Whom do you credit for influencing you?
Steve: When I first moved to Atlanta, I knew nothing about volunteerism. Then I represented many of the “architects” of our Jewish community, Meyer Balser, Milton Weinstein, Bill Breman and Erwin Zaban. They mentored me and taught me the value of giving back.
Candy: Betty Ann Jacobson. It was really hard to break into the Jewish community when I first moved here. She believed in involving new people and included us as part of her family.
Jaffe: Which issues are important to you?
Steve: Our endowments reflect the issues that impassion us … like career growth for staff at Jewish HomeLife, leadership development at the American Jewish Committee and Temple Sinai, teacher enhancement at Galloway School and a scholarship to encourage the matriculation of Jewish students at Notre Dame.
Candy: We began our marriage with Steve supporting the issues facing older adults, while I was interested in younger adults. Now that we have aged, we’re both invested in Jewish HomeLife and creating understanding between the Jewish community and the greater community. I am also passionate about organizations that address the socio-economic inequities.
Jaffe: My guilty pleasure …
Steve: Buying a smoothie for a special price every Friday.
Candy: Going to Costco and getting the samples.
Jaffe: My partner is better than me at …
Steve: Adapting to the computer age.
Candy: Patience! I have no patience. He attends functions and never wants to leave.
Jaffe: Our next exotic vacay will be …
Candy: Japan. We’ve been trying to get there for two years, but the pandemic …
Steve: Scotland. I attended the University of Glasgow my junior year in college and am looking forward to visiting the university this summer.
Jaffe: The Jewish community is important to me because …
Candy: It’s in my blood. If we don’t take care of it ourselves, no one else will. I also believe that we shape the entire community, modeling how we take care of our own.
Steve: It provides spirituality, meaning and purpose.
- The Lowdown
- I Bet You Didn't Know
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Steve and Candy Berman
- Notre Dame
- NCAA football
- Berman Commons
- Jewish HomeLife
- event consultant
- Meyer Balser
- Milton Weinstein
- Bill Breman
- Erwin Zaban
- Betty Ann Jacobson
- American Jewish Committee
- Temple Sinai
- Galloway School
- University of Glasgow