A credible report was posted on Facebook today, from one of Steve Rubenstein's close friends, that Steve has died in Liverpool, where he was a Reader in Anthropology at the University of Liverpool. His friend has left contact details on Steve's Facebook page,  in case anyone wants to get in touch. I've been in touch with him, and there is currently no firm information about what happened.
Anyone who came into contact with Steve will know what a wonderful human being he was. He was with Wikipedia from almost the beginning – his first edit was on 12 December 2001, registered with the User ID 98. He was active over the years on several sourcing policies; and on articles about race, anthropology, evolution, gender, feminism, Judaism, and Christianity. He was one of those editors who really understood Wikipedia, who really got it. He had the concept of a living encyclopaedia that anyone could edit in his bones, and was fierce in his defence of that idea whenever he saw it threatened.
That he has the novice editor's badge on his talk page says a lot about his attitude to Wikipedia. He never wanted to talk about who he was, and what he had done – not because it was a secret, but because he wanted to be judged by his edits alone.
He was one of the most erudite people I've ever encountered, and one of the most intellectually welcoming and generous. There wasn't anything that Steve didn't have an interesting perspective on, and he was happy to explain his views to anyone, if he felt he or they, or anyone else reading it, might benefit from the exchange. He was also one of the nicest people I knew. He was big-hearted, and he was brave, and he had humility. My heart goes out to his family and close friends. The world has lost someone very special. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 03:34, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
- I find myself in full agreement with SlimVirgin. This is quite a loss to the encyclopedia, and to the free culture movement. Rest in peace. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 09:00, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
- This is such a loss, not just to our wikipedia community but also, to the wider intellectual community. Steve was a great asset to this project and a fantastic colleague here. As SV said, he was one of the most generous people (of his time, his thoughts and his energies) that I've had the pleasure of encountering. My condolences to all who knew him - he will be sorely missed. Rest in peace Steve---Cailil talk 01:08, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- A great loss to all of us. Thoughts and prayers to his family and those close to him.Elen of the Roads (talk) 02:05, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- What a great loss. I always admired his work. My thoughts are with his family --Guerillero | My Talk 02:20, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. SirFozzie (talk) 02:50, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- I can't remember if we ever directly interacted, but I do remember watching your work from afar and being absolutely amazed. Thanks so much for all the time you donated to Wikipedia and maintaining a bit of sanity here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:12, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- This is very sad. Steve was a wonderful man, kind-hearted, helpful, thoughtful, giving. He was also a great wikipedian. A terrible loss; I'm just one of many who will miss him. Jayjg (talk) 04:11, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- This is shocking. And tragic. Steve was one of the few people who made that transition from "person I knew in Wikipedia" to friend. I learned a lot about being a Wikipedian from him. And I think I learned some important things about being an academic. And a person. You will be sorely, sorely missed. We are better for having known you, and diminished for no longer having your light in our lives. Guettarda (talk) 05:56, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- The encyclopedia has lost a dedicated and reliable wikipedian. Wapondaponda (talk) 06:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- What a great guy. I will miss him. A pity I never had a chance to meet him in person. My thoughts go out to his family. -- The Anome (talk) 11:05, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- I heard through the grapevine you are gone :'( Goodbye old friend xxoo --MPerel 12:05, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- This is very sad. My warmest sympathies go to any family he had, and all his friends. AGK [•] 13:47, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- I'm saddened by this. Bus stop (talk) 14:11, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- Some of my earliest interactions on Wikipedia were with Slrubenstein and he helped forge in me an appreciation for considerate, thoughtful dialogue even concerning charged issues. We had many cordial disagreements but his manner of explaining his views and his evident concern for doing the right thing always increased my respect for him. I will miss him. alanyst 14:46, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- My thoughts and payers go out to Steve's family and friends. He will be missed. Blueboar (talk) 15:06, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- This is very sad and much too soon. Best wishes to his family, friends and colleagues. FormerIP (talk) 15:46, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- I'd never interacted with SIr personally but have watched his interactions and so learned much from him over the years. I wish him, the peace beyond understanding, and send condolences to his friends and family.(olive (talk) 15:57, 11 March 2012 (UTC))
- So sorry to hear this. I admired his work and his thoughtful comments in discussions. He will be missed. Tom Harrison Talk 16:59, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- I knew him only as an exemplary WP editor: knowledgeable, helpful, humble. RIP. Yopienso (talk) 17:01, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- Through personal correspondence, Steve and I found out that we had been at the same university in England during different periods. Although Steve was younger than me (not so much), I valued his comments more than almost any other contributor to wikipedia, even if sometimes we disagreed forcefully in private. His parting leaves me desolate. Mathsci (talk) 18:07, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- Devastatingly bad news. Steve was one of the longest serving editors on this project and was willing to tackle some difficult articles...he always did so with wisdom and humility. Essentially one of the founders of this website, we owe so much to him for all he did. Steve will be sorely missed...all condolences to his family and friends.--MONGO 20:09, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- I too am terribly saddened by this news. My condolences to Steven, to his friends on and off this project, and to his family. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:13, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- SLR will be missed dearly. I have nothing but fond memories and great respect from my on-wiki interactions with him. He truly had a significant positive impact on many individual editors (which can be clearly seen by many of the above comments), and Wikipedia as a whole is better off because of him. -Andrew c [talk] 21:15, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
- An immeasurable and heartfelt loss. We are far, far better people for our time together. My sincerest condolences. Vieglas smiltis. VєсrumЬа ►TALK 01:22, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- While Steven Rubenstein's untimely passing is a loss for us, his family and his friends, we must also recognize that we have gained more than we have lost, immeasurably so with the precious time we have been privileged to spend in his presence, however brief. Let us then celebrate his life and the significant contributions he has made to Wikipedia and the world at large within the fleeting moments of a human life span. It may be appropriate to remember Steven by naming a barnstar after him for use on WikiProject Anthropology or some other award that might memorialize his presence into the future. Viriditas (talk) 02:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- I just don't have the words to describe how sad I feel about the passing of this wonderful man, I can only give my most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends who have suffered such a great loss - indeed a great loss to us all. Dreadstar ☥ 11:55, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- Deepest condolences... Wifione Message 15:02, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- Saddened by the news...Modernist (talk) 18:26, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- This is deeply saddening and untimely, condolences to Steves family and friends. A terrible loss. . . dave souza, talk 19:20, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- We are all diminished by this loss. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 21:17, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
- We will all miss you dearly. ☮Soap☮ 01:16, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- A great loss - now to the greater work of any Editor (per Ben Franklin) Collect (talk) 01:30, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- SLR was a Wikipedian who knew what he talked about. A sad loss. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:13, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- We never met, but I considered him a friend and will miss him. --JimWae (talk) 07:27, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- As per all of the above, my condolences to his family. A sad enough loss for us, but sadder still for them. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 13:31, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- I was not expecting this, and am sorry to hear it. Thank you for your long service to Wikipedia. Acalamari 13:55, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- You will truly be missed. Thank you for your time here... -- 220.127.116.11 (talk) 18:53, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
- I offer my condolences to his friends, family and loved ones. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 05:01, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
- A huge loss of a real encyclopedist. Some more info: . 18.104.22.168 (talk) 11:32, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
- Wow. Sorry to learn of this. -- llywrch (talk) 17:34, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
- Steve's passing is a big loss to the encyclopedia. He was a great guy and he will be missed. Ignocrates (talk) 16:59, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
- Such sad news. Thank you for everything you did here Steven, may you rest in peace while your work lives on. the wub "?!" 12:29, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
- Steven was a terrific man: his intelligence, interest, dedication and compassion shone through even the electronic communication of this encyclopedia. His death is a terrible loss to this community and to his wider real world one, but he has left us a great legacy. Let us learn from it and put it to use. --Slp1 (talk) 13:09, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
- Alas, one of the greats. bibliomaniac15 06:16, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
- Will be sorely missed. Exemplified the true Wikipedian. Rich Farmbrough, 20:18, 18 March 2012 (UTC).
- Wikipedia and the world by extension have lost a great source of knowledge and teaching. Condolences to those who loved him and those who learned from him. --brewcrewer (yada, yada) 04:44, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
- I'm shocked and saddened to hear that you are gone. You were one the the good guys, and worked hard to make WP better. You will be missed - Alison ❤ 05:43, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
- A great loss to the community and, I'm sure, to those who knew him personally. Slrubenstein was uncommonly clueful, refreshingly forthright, and had the best user page I've ever seen. Rivertorch (talk) 08:57, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
- I'm stunned by this sad, sad news. He was the quintessential wikipedian--devoting countless hours with no expectation of acknowledgement, reward, no self-promotion.-- Professor marginalia (talk) 07:49, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
- I only just heard the news. I'm not sure if we've ever met, but it's sad news nonetheless. Rest in peace, Steve. Master&Expert (Talk) 22:25, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
- I only just now noticed it myself. Steve was one of the best and most neutral and knowledgeable editors I knew of, particularly for material relating to Judaism and Jewish history. Those who knew him more closely than I did have my condolences. As someone who has some religious beliefs myself, he has my prayers. Also, Steve, hoping that you have achieved a better position now, I sincerely hope that when circumstances permit you might look down at what we do here. We could use any and all help from the side of the angels as we could get, and I hope that you might not be too disappointed with what you might see being done down here from now on. John Carter (talk) 23:56, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
- He will be missed. My sincere condolences to his family and close friends. • Astynax talk 06:39, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
- Sigh .. I also just noticed this. What a great person Steve was, and we are all the poorer for the loss, yet all the richer for having his input. My prayers to his family. You will be missed sir. — 13:06, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
- Condolences; he will be missed and remembered. Johnbod (talk) 09:31, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
- Very sad news. Steven was a valuable contributor. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:15, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
- Please, please no... Thank you for everything, Steve. Rest in peace. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 21:21, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
- I am shocked. I just learned about this today. I have known Steven through our edits on the Evolution talk page. There were times when we agreed on a range of issues and there were other times when we disagreed vehemently about a specific edit. I just wish our last few interactions on Wikipedia were more positive. Regardless of what one thinks of him, Steve was always force for good in Wikipedia. He will be sorely missed. danielkueh (talk) 22:30, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
- I am so saddened to hear of this. He was the first editor to greet me and I had immense respect for him.. One of the people that make Wikipedia worthwhile. I will really miss this man who was so gracious, supportive, and kind to me in this realm of Wikipedia. He had a "way" of recruiting you to contribute to articles because he was "all in" to make Wikipedia work and wanted to make great articles. He also had a great sense of humor from our interactions. He welcomed me to Wikipedia Aug 30, 2006 and over the years I called him a friend. GetAgrippa (talk)
- It is very sad. I learned from discussions with him, or reading how he discussed with others, Schwalker (talk) 19:02, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Free image Steven Rubenstein
Will it be possible to collect a free image of Steven Rubenstein, so that we can add it here: Wikipedia:Deceased_Wikipedians#Steven_Rubenstein_.28Slrubenstein.29. The only image I have found File:Steven L. Rubenstein.jpg is a copyrighted one, and we can not add it in deceased Wikipedian page! Anyone to help here? --Tito Dutta ✉ 18:43, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
We are Steve Rubenstein's parents. We have established a memorial to Steven through the American Jewish World Service. I am attaching the pertinent page at AJWS. For the contributor who asked for a picture of Steve, you will find one on that page Feel free to copy it on to the Wikipedia site. It is one which we personally picked because it shows so clearly the kind, loving person that was Steve. If I am unsuccessful in copying the web page, you can find it by going to American Jewish World Service web page and taking it from there. Perhaps one of you Wikipedians can find a way to spread the word. Next to Anthropology, Judaism and his close friends and family, we think Wikipedia was his greatest love.
Search Who We Are What We Do Where We Work Get Involved Emergencies GET INVOLVED Donate Fundraise Events Take Action eCards Global Circle Alumni Pursue Study Tours
Memorial Fundraising Pages In Memory of Steven Rubenstein
Steven Rubenstein Team Fundraising Goal: $10,000.00
Tell A Friend Create a page like this Please bookmark this page. About Steven: For the three years of his field work for his PHD. from Columbia, our son & brother Steven Rubenstein lived with the Shuar Indians in the Oriente, the Ecuadorean rainforest. He shared their food, their work, their living quarters, their way of life. The Shuar, the only indigenous people in all of Latin America never conquered by the Spaniards, adopted Steve into the tribe and gave him the name, Nanki (brother). They became his second family and one of his prime concerns was the preservation and protection of Amazonian peoples, their culture and their environment..
Steven's other great love was his Judaism. He was a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, had been accepted by the Rabbinical School, and for a time he was torn between that career and anthropology. Although he chose the latter, Steve never lost his passion for Jewish thought, Jewish tradition, and especially tikkun olam, "healing the world."
When Steven was in the midst of his field work, he travelled to the Oriente, where major oil corporations were exploring and drilling. We remember the shock he expressed at the disregard they exhibited for the effect of drilling on the environment and on a people whose lives depended on the ecological health of that area. You may, in fact, have read about various lawsuits here and in Ecuador that have resulted from this drilling.
Amazon Watch is an international organization that works to protect the rainforest, to advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the face of large-scale industrial development, including oil and gas pipelines, power lines and roads, to press for corporate accountability and to preserve the Amazon's ecological systems.
American Jewish World Service partners with Amazon Watch in its Northern Peru Project, which specifically works to accomplish these goals. Although the country is Peru, this specific area was once part of Ecuador and is in a region of the Amazon relatively near to the Ecuadorean Oriente, where Steven lived and worked. We, Steven's family, think that support of this effort is an ideal way to combine his two great loves, Judaism and human (including indigenous) rights.
American Jewish World Service will direct all donations in Steven's memory made through this web page to the Northern Peru Project of Amazon Watch.
We'd like to think that Steven is out there, cheering on our collective support of this project, one to which he would gladly lend his name, and a fitting way to carry on his work.
The Rubenstein Family Guest Book If you would like, you can add your name and a short message to our Guest Book. Thank you. Sign the Guest Book If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator. American Jewish World Service 45 West 36th Street New York, NY 10018