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Goldstein Siblings

The children of Milton and Merle Goldstein wanted to honor their late parents’ memories by bringing together things the couple was passionate about. “Our parents believed so deeply in the power of pluralism and education as a gateway to opportunity,” says Joel K. Goldstein. “They achieved the American dream. Their parents were immigrants, but both of my parents went to college and graduate school and were successful. We wanted to help people who were less fortunate achieve their dreams.”

This desire led Joel and his wife Maxine Lipeles, his sister Deborah, his brother Ken and wife Maxine, and his brother Alan and wife Nancy to set up The Milton I. and Merle K. Goldstein Scholarship Fund. Each year, the fund provides a partial college scholarship to a financially needy graduating senior at Soldan International Studies High School, the much valued alma mater of both Milton and Merle Goldstein. “It has been a moving experience to talk to the beneficiaries, says Joel. “It is meaningful for us because those who have received the award came from backgrounds where they didn’t have the advantages my siblings and I did.”

What has made the scholarship more significant to the family is the fact that it is administered by Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). Milton Goldstein was President of the JCRC and a national officer on the board of its national organization. Both Milton and Merle Goldstein were active in the Jewish community and committed to community relations. Joel explains, “My parents’ beliefs fit in with what the JCRC is about—achieving social justice and improving relations with other communities as a way of expressing and promoting Jewish values and protecting Jewish interests.”

Joel says the process of setting up the fund was “painless.” The family began talking with Barry Rosenberg, then head of Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and Batya Abramson-Goldstein, executive director of the JCRC, about how to use the diverse resources of Federation and JCRC to honor the memory of their parents. Working with the Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis made sense to the family because of its expertise. “It’s been very pleasant working with the Jewish Community Foundation and the JCRC,” says Joel. “We basically wrote the checks, and they’ve done all the work and responded, promptly and professionally, when one of us has had a question.”

The family members hope that their gift will grow and continue to carry on the legacy of their parents. “It’s meant a lot to us to know that something in their names is helping others in a way that carries forward some of their values,” says Joel. “I hope it’s meaningful to their seven grandchildren as well.”