Leonard Fein

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Leonard Fein
Born (1934-07-01)July 1, 1934
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died August 14, 2014(2014-08-14) (aged 80)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Occupation Writer, professor, publisher
Ethnicity Jewish

Leonard J. Fein (July 1, 1934 – August 14, 2014), also known as Leibel Fein, was an American activist, writer and teacher who specialized in Jewish social themes.[1]


He founded the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy, and was co-founder and for 12 years editor of Moment Magazine.[2] Characterized by Daniel Sokatch of the New Israel Fund as "the father of our Jewish social justice movement",[3] he was the author of four books, editor of two, and wrote extensively for newspapers, magazines, and journals. Since 1990, he wrote a syndicated weekly OpEd column for the Forward newspaper. Fein is also the founder of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a Jewish hunger-relief organization, started in 1985.[4] Fein taught Political Science at MIT in the 1960s. At this time he was also the Deputy Director of the MIT/Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies. He joined the Brandeis University faculty in 1970 as a Professor of Politics and Social Policy and the Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies.

Fein's books include Where Are We? The Inner Life of America’s Jews, and Israel: Politics and People. He was a contributor to The New York Times, The New Republic, Commentary, Commonweal, The Nation, Dissent and the Los Angeles Times.

Fein died at the age of 80 on August 14, 2014.[5]

He was the brother of Rashi Fein, Litt.D., Ph.D., a famed health economist termed 'a father of Medicare',[6] and Professor of Economics of Medicine, Emeritus, in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.[7]


  • Ameinu Dreamers and Builders Award, November 2009.
  • Honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College, 1991[8]
  • National Foundation for Jewish Culture award for achievement in Jewish scholarship, 1994.
  • Jewish Council on Public Affairs, Chernin Award for lifetime contributions to social justice, 1999.
  • University of Chicago Alumni Award for “creative leadership in public service that has benefited society and reflected credit on the University,” 2000.


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