Hazel Berman Karp, 94, died peacefully on Aug. 1, 2023, after suffering from Alzheimer’s for many years. Hazel was a devoted mother, aunt, and grandmother, children’s librarian, and leader within Atlanta’s Jewish community. An Atlanta native, she grew up in the Virginia-Highland/Ormewood Park neighborhood. She was the daughter of Samuel and Zelda Berman, immigrants who greatly valued education.
After graduating from Girls’ High in 1946, Hazel was accepted to Cornell University. She was not able to attend, however, due to the influx of returning GIs, who occupied all of the dormitory spaces. Instead, she matriculated at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, where she majored in English and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1950. During her freshman year, she met the love of her life, Herbert Rubin Karp, at a family friend’s engagement party. As the story goes, the two of them locked eyes above the crowd (both were quite tall!) and were married a year later.
In 1950, she began coursework for a Master of Arts in philosophy at Emory University, leaving after one year to begin her family. While she raised her three children, she volunteered extensively in the Atlanta Jewish community—active in both the Ahavath Achim (AA) synagogue’s Sisterhood and in the local Hadassah chapter, of which she became president in 1968. Additionally, she taught at the AA’s Sunday school and in Atlanta’s Hebrew High School for many years. She then returned to Emory to earn her Master of Library Science, graduating in 1973.
Meanwhile, she had begun working as the head librarian at the Hebrew Academy (which later became the Greenfield Hebrew Academy and is now the Atlanta Jewish Academy). During her more than 30-year tenure, she inspired a love of reading in generations of children. She augmented her dedication to Jewish children’s literature through her work in the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), becoming president and receiving the 1992 Fanny Goldstein Merit Award, which recognized her outstanding contributions to the AJL.
Later in her life, she treasured her summers spent in Jerusalem with her husband and close friends. Throughout her life, she was the glue that held her family and friends together, hosting every Jewish holiday celebration at her home with her legendary cooking. She loved traveling, classical music, chocolate chip cookies, and her many dogs.
Hazel is predeceased by her husband of 67 years, Dr. Herbert Karp, and brother, Dr. Jerome Berman of Atlanta. She is survived by her three children, Beth Karp (Richard Fischer) of Boston, Miriam Karp of Atlanta, and Benjamin Karp (Margie) of Lexington, Kent. She is also survived by her five grandchildren, Simon and Marlee Fischer, Jonathan and Aaron Karp, and Isabella Cantor, plus nieces, great-nieces and nephews, and cousins. The family wishes to express their sincerest gratitude to her devoted caregivers, Gwen Brown and Lurline Hypolite.
Contributions in Hazel’s memory may be made to PJ Library or Hadassah. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999
- Hazel Berman Karp
- Virginia-Highland/Ormewood Park
- Girl’s High
- Cornell University
- Agnes Scott College
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Emory University
- Ahavath Achim
- Hebrew High School
- Hebrew Academy
- atlanta jewish academy
- Association of Jewish Libraries
- Fanny Goldstein Merit Award
- Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care