August 14, 2014

MAZON mourns the loss of our founder


It is with tremendous shock and profound sadness that the Board and staff of MAZON mourn the passing of Leonard “Leibel” Fein.

Leibel was more than just the visionary founder of MAZON – he was our inspiration, our touchstone, our mentor, our friend.

Leibel leaves behind an incomparable legacy of commitment to creating a just world, motivated not simply by doing what’s “right,” but by his belief that working to make the world a better place was an inherently “Jewish” thing to do.

Leibel’s wisdom, his passion and his vision of Jewish social justice have inspired generations of Jewish social justice advocates. We will miss him every day.

May his memory be for a blessing.

Remembering Leonard Fein, by Abby J. Leibman

Reflections from MAZON’s Board of Directors:

When we decided that Leibel would be the honoree at MAZON’s 25th anniversary celebration, I had the responsibility of informing him about the Board’s decision. He was very pleased with the honor, and especially the opportunity to offer input about the program. At Leibel’s suggestion, his good friend Theodore Bikel was invited to attend the luncheon and to share a few musical treats with the assembled guests. What a joy it was to watch Leibel’s expression as Bikel spoke with love and admiration about the many extraordinary contributions that our founder had made through over five decades of effort working towards a more compassionate and caring world. My MAZON colleagues and I were beaming with pride that we could claim Leibel as our own!
– Ruth Laibson

We have lost a remarkable American Rabbi. Like most Rabbis I was very influenced by Leibel before I had the privilege of meeting him through MAZON. I pray that we will continue to bring his spirit and his honesty to all that we do. Zecher Zadik L’vrach. The memory of a Zadik is a blessing.
– Rabbi Michael Siegel

Leibel gave 100% of his being to the pursuit of peace and justice for Israel, the greater Middle East, and the United States. He was a prolific writer and thinker. He was courageous to take stands that were, and are, unpopular in many circles. He lived to “speak truth to power” and was an activist in all things. The loss of a towering figure of American Jewry.
Josh Levin

When I was invited to join the Board of MAZON, I knew no one of national importance in Jewish life. The first person to welcome me was the great Leonard Fein. I still remember how I stammered through the conversation, in which he invited me to call him any time with questions or concerns. Over my years with MAZON I learned to call him Leibel, to see his creative mind in action, to feel his deep commitment to the hard work of peace and justice. It is a sad day when we lose one of our giants.
Robin Thomas

I’m stunned and saddened. Leibel was one of the “gedolai ha-dor,” moral and intellectual giants of American and world Jewry. His loving critiques of contemporary Jewish life gave hope to so many that a better world was possible. He truly exemplified “tikkun olam” in word and deed. Zichrono livracha.
Rabbi Arnie Rachlis