It is with the heaviest of hearts that APN today grieves the loss of our dear friend and longtime APN Board Member Leonard “Leibel” Fein. We know that Leibel will be mourned by the countless people he touched through his writings and his personal contacts across a life that spanned eight decades of extraordinary professional accomplishments, including as a writer, a teacher, and a prolific columnist; as the founder of Moment Magazine; as the founder of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger; and as the founder of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy.
In 1981, Leibel was one of the founding members of Americans for Peace Now and was an active and energetic member of APN’s Board of Directors right up until his death. His dedication to APN derived from and reflected his deep love for Israel and his ardent conviction that Israel can and must be a state that is Jewish, democratic, and characterized by true progressive Jewish values of pluralism and tolerance. All of us at APN were grateful for Leibel’s vast wisdom, intellectual prowess, and clear-eyed, principled courage and honesty as we grappled with the challenges of promoting Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace. All of us were inspired by his relentless energy, buoyed by his irrepressible and often mischievous humor, and humbled in the face of his eloquence, both spoken and written.
Leibel’s passing is a terrible loss. On this sad day, we take a measure of solace in recognizing how fortunate we were to have known Leibel as we did – as a friend, a colleague, and a comrade-in-peacemaking. We are honored to have had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with him in the effort to repair the world – to make tikkun olam. Today we smile as we remember him lovingly as a combination of philosopher and reformer, organizer and agitator, truth-teller and joke-teller, irrepressible idealist and hard-boiled realist, and one of the finest men we have had the honor to know.