A former Penn Law professor who became dean of the law school at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Stephen R. Goldstein, C’59, L’62, died in Israel on May 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 70.
Over the course of nearly 30 years Goldstein became a leading legal scholar in Israel. His familiarity with the U.S. legal system provided him the lens and the expertise to offer perspective on the differences between the two systems. A prolific writer, he wrote five books and published more than one hundred book chapters and papers on issues ranging from civil procedure to child welfare to the state school system.
“Steve was a major figure in both Israeli and comparative civil procedure,” said Edward B. Rock, the Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business at Penn Law and longtime friend of Goldstein’s who visited him regularly in Israel. “Over the years, as the Israeli legal system became more similar to the U.S. system, Steve’s ability to translate the U.S. experience was invaluable to the development of Israeli civil procedure.”
Goldstein was a member of the faculty at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1976 to 2004, serving as dean of the law school for three years. In addition, he served as a member of the editorial board of the Israel Law Review and international adviser to the American Law Institute Project on Transnational Civil Procedure.
Before finding a home in Israel, Goldstein called the University of Pennsylvania home. He graduated summa cum laude from the University in 1959 and from the Law School in 1962, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.
Following law school, he practiced law at Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg. He returned to the law school in 1966, teaching Civil Procedure until he left for Israel in 1976.
“It was difficult to leave Penn, which had been my academic and professional home for many years, but the attraction of moving to Israel was very strong for me and my family,” Goldstein said in an interview several years ago.
Goldstein left an imprint in his ten years as a member of the Penn Law faculty.
Howard Lesnick, the Jefferson B. Fordham Professor of Law, knew Goldstein as both a student and a colleague. He “took to the academic way of thinking and puzzling out things right away. He had a very fertile mind, and liked thoroughly working through a challenging legal problem,” said Lesnick.
Emeritus Professor Robert Gorman echoed the sentiment, saying that not only was he a great teacher with “amazing intellectual strength, but he was also one of the most down to earth, pleasant, and amiable people I’ve known.”
Rock, who met Goldstein while on sabbatical at the Hebrew University in 1995, said, “He loved Jerusalem, he loved moving to Tel Aviv near his kids and the beach, he loved life. He was a real mensch.”
Goldstein is survived by his wife Gertrude; his children Marcie Wattelman and Dr. Richard Goldstein; and his five grandchildren, Maya, Ben, Nitsan, Roey, and Daniel.