After nearly 71 years calling Fort Wayne and Achduth Vesholom home, Leonard and Rikki Goldstein have relocated from Fort Wayne. During a Shabbat service in September 2016, we offered our best wishes and gratitude to them for their involvement, generosity, and commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world). (News-Sentinel on the Goldsteins: Giving Back to Fort Wayne)
We also congratulated Len on being named to the 2016 Hoosier Jewish Legends – A Hall of Fame, which was inaugurated this year by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society as part of the Indiana Bicentennial. Len was recognized at the IJHS annual meeting in October for making “a significant and lasting impact to their profession, community, and the fabric of our cultural heritage in Indiana.”
In nominating Len for the award, Congregation Achduth Vesholom, the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne, and Congregation B’nai Jacob jointly submitted the following thoughts:
Leonard Goldstein is an extraordinary role model of philanthropic leadership. He is a tireless public servant, dedicated to higher education, to Jewish culture, and to developing the next generation of leaders. Len has been a strong voice in support of Israel, in favor of human rights, and promoting public education. Giving and volunteering is tradition to Len Goldstein. He is a generous donor, as well as giving equally of his time and talents. Leonard Goldstein is a mensch in every sense of the word and a true model of the person we should all aspire to be!
Leonard Goldstein is a major reason why the IU Jewish Studies program at IU Bloomington has kept growing in the last decade. Not only did Len spearhead the campaign to establish an endowed chair for the Jewish Studies department, but he and his wife also established the Leonard M. and Ruth K. Goldstein Matching the Promise Scholarship in Jewish Studies, a four-year scholarship that was initiated in the fall of 2010 to be awarded to an incoming freshman at IU. Giving and volunteering is a tradition to Len Goldstein. He is a longtime board member of the Indiana ACLU, and was honored with its Founders Award in 2004, ‘given to a person who has seized an opportunity to make exceptional gains in the enhancement of civil liberties.’ As a civil rights advocate and community elder, Len has been honored by numerous civil and human rights organizations including the Fort Wayne Urban League as an Urban League Lion. He also is a well-known activist in the Jewish community.
He has served on both the Temple (Congregation Achduth Vesholom) and Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne boards and been a very generous donor to both, as well as giving equally generously of his time and talents. He has been a strong voice in support of Israel, in favor of human rights, and promoting public education with frequent, articulate letters and op-ed pieces in both Fort Wayne newspapers, averaging about 4 or 5 a month since 1948. Although not everything he writes gets printed, The Journal Gazette has given twice Len the monthly Golden Pen Award for most effective letter under his name and a third time when he wrote under a nom de plume for a fellow congregant.
Len served on the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board and was, in fact, board president in the late 1970s. It was a tumultuous time, including a lawsuit filed against Fort Wayne Community Schools over segregation; and under Len’s leadership, the district established magnet schools that helped resolve the dispute and desegregate the schools.
Over the years Len has contributed his time, talent and resources to many, many Jewish organizations, as well as other organizations in the community, including the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Arts United, Allen County Public Library, Rotary, FAME (Foundation for Art and Music in Education), and Fort Wayne Center for Learning, to name a few. Leonard Goldstein is passionate about tikkun olam, “repairing the world” and once said that someday “I hope to make a difference.” We know that he has already made a difference and are proud to nominate Leonard Goldsteinfor The Hoosier Jewish Legends – A Hall of Fame 2016.
Rikki, too, has made innumerable contributions to the Jewish and larger community.
For many years, she taught cooking to our Religious School students and served on the Temple Board of Directors. She recalls that when she was vice president years ago, the nominating committee told her that “there had never been a woman president because women didn’t have secretaries to do that work so I wouldn’t be asked to move up.” Rikki received her bachelor’s degree at age 50 from IPFW.
She was a founding mother of the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau in 1976, where she worked as Director of Peer Counseling for 20 years. She moved to the Neighborhood Health Clinics in 1996 as Coordinator of the Social Services Department. She just retired on Friday, August 12. She and Len also were jointly appointed Sagamores of the Wabash by then-Governor Evan Bayh.
The Goldsteins have four children (Michael Goldstein, Steven Goldstein, Jan Goldstein, and Lisa Post), eight grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.