Leonard Fein

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Leonard Fein
Born(1934-07-01)July 1, 1934
Brooklyn, New York, United States
DiedAugust 14, 2014(2014-08-14) (aged 80)
Manhattan, New York, United States
OccupationWriter, professor, publisher

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

Academic career[edit]

After studying at the University of Chicago, Fein later received his PhD from Michigan State University.

Fein taught Political Science at MIT in the 1960s. He was then 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.

Jewish community leader[edit]

He founded the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy and was co-founder and for 12 years editor of Moment Magazine.[2] He was characterized by Daniel Sokatch of the New Israel Fund as "the father of our Jewish social justice movement."[3]

Fein is the founder of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a Jewish hunger-relief organization started in 1985.[4]

Fein helped establish Americans for Peace Now.[5]


He was the author of four books and the editor of two, and he wrote extensively for newspapers, magazines, and journals. From 1990, he wrote a syndicated weekly opinion column for The Forward newspaper.

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.


His father was a professor of Jewish history.

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]

He was married twice and had three daughters.


Fein died at the age of 80.[8]


  • Ameinu Dreamers and Builders Award, November 2009.
  • Honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College, 1991[9]
  • 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.


  1. ^ Kinsman, C. D.; Nasso, C. (1975). Contemporary authors: a bio-bibliographical guide to current authors and their works. Gale Research Co. ISBN 9780810300279. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  2. ^ "Latest news briefs from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency", Cleveland Jewish News, July 27, 2004. Accessed July 29, 2011.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Daniel Sokatch, "Leonard 'Leibel' Fein" 2014-08-15, New Israel Fund. Accessed 2014-08-15.
  4. ^ Dana Evan Kaplan, Contemporary American Judaism: transformation and renewal, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009; ISBN 978-0-231-13728-7; pp. 82–83
  5. ^ Bryan Marquard (September 15, 2014). "Leonard Fein, at 80; illuminated roles of America's Jews". The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ "Rashi Fein, a 'father of Medicare,' dies". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. September 9, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  7. ^ "A brother's tribute to Leonard Fein". MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  8. ^ "Leonard Fein, Progressive Activist and Longtime Forward Columnist, Dies". The Forward. August 14, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Leonard Fein. "Speech to Hebrew Union College upon receiving an Honorary Doctorate in 1991". Berman Jewish Policy Archive, Stanford.

External links[edit]