Cover photo for Jules Kerness's Obituary
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Jules Kerness

March 21, 1940 — June 17, 2023


Jules Kerness


Jules Michael Kerness, 83, of Charleston, South Carolina, husband of the late Phoebe Francis Eisenberg Kerness, his wife of 54 years, passed away on Saturday, June 17, 2023.


Jules was born March 21, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, son of the late Thomas Kerness and Nettie Klein Kerness. He was a summa cum laude graduate of Brooklyn College and studied International Relations at Syracuse University. Over a thirty-year career with the New York State Senate, he authored much of the state’s child welfare legislation and served as the head of the State Commission for Child Welfare. He and Phoebe made their home in the town of Delmar, New York – outside of Albany. While in Delmar, Jules and family grew up in Bethlehem Central Schools, were dedicated members and leaders at Temple Beth Emeth, and were actively involved in the school and local theater community. Jules and Phoebe also became dedicated foster parents.


In 1996, Jules and Phoebe relocated to Savannah, Georgia where they immersed themselves in the local community and Temple Mickve Israel. Jules served as Religious School Director for Savannah’s Shalom School and fostered his love of music, singing in Jewish and classical choirs. Jules moved to Charleston in 2019 and became an active member of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Congregation and the Charleston Symphony Choir.


Jules is survived by his partner Anita Rosenberg; his children Debra Kerness (Jeremy Wolf) of Charleston, SC; Karen Kerness (Rabbi Peter Berg) of Atlanta, GA; Jay Kerness (Dr. Lisa Kerness) of Potomac, MD; daughter-in-law Miriam Kerness (widow of Daniel Kerness) of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY; brother, Eric Kerness of Schenectady, NY; and his nine grandchildren, Ben, Jack and Eli Kerness; Micah and Tobin Kerness; Matan, Lior, Noah Berg; and Leyla Wolf.


His funeral service will be held at the graveside on Monday, June 19, 2023 in Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Cemetery, Huguenin Avenue at 11:00 AM. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. West Ashley Chapel.


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