Sunday, November 28th 2021   |

Attorney, community leader Sylvan Steinberg to be laid to rest today

SYLVAN JULIAN STEINBERG,  an attorney, civic and Jewish community leader, passed away on Friday, November 5. He was 88.


Steinberg was incredibly generous with his time and his talents, serving on numerous volunteer organizations across a variety of New Orleans area communities.  He was the chairman of the Community Improvement Agency during the administration of Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial. He oversaw the city’s efforts to helping the city’s homeless find residences while securing and renovating delinquent landlord-owned homes and apartment buildings across the city. 

Steinberg was an active leader in the New Orleans Jewish community for more than five decades.  He was the president of numerous Jewish organizations including B’nai B’rith and Tikvat Shalom Conservative Congregation (now Shir Chadash) and served on or advised the boards of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Greater New Orleans, Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Endowment Fund of Greater New Orleans (now the Jewish Endowment Fund of Louisiana), the Anti-Defamation League and Tulane Hillel. 

Born in New Iberia, he was graduate of New Iberia High School before moving to New Orleans to attend Tulane. He earned a bachelor’s of Business Administration in 1953 and then graduated from the School of Law School with a juris doctor degree in 1955. 

While on the Uptown campus he served on the Board of Editors for the Tulane Law Review and was awarded the Order of the Coif.  Steinberg joined the law firm of Rittenberg, Weinstein & Bronfin the same year, where he eventually became a full partner, working for the firm and its successor organization Heller Draper until he was 87. 

His legal work included protecting the constitutional rights of local figures while also assisting numerous clients, appearing before local and state courts, the United States Court of Appeals’ Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, United States District Courts for the Middle and Western Districts and, early in his career, having a notable case reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.

He also was a major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps for the United States Army and United States Army Reserve. 

Steinberg was very close to his alma mater, generously devoting his time to Tulane’s Alumni Association and being the president of the Tulane Emeritus Club, which focused on those who had passed their 50th reunions. He was a while a Tulane football season ticket holder for 65 years. 

Steinberg also  coached various youth basketball and baseball teams, teaching the value of hard work and encouraging team spirit.  He also loved physical fitness, fishing, Carnival parades as well as spending time with his immediate and extended family.

Steinberg is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judith Ann Benson Steinberg; his children Jeanne Wyn Clifford (Ralph) of Lexington, Massachusetts, Susan Beth Fischer of Baton Rouge and Jonathan Michael Steinberg (Elizabeth Barrekette) of Boulder, Colorado;his sister Carolyn Yuspeh and six  grandchildren.

The funeral service was conducted at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 8, 2021 at Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation, 3737 W Esplanade Ave, in Metairie. Rabbi Deborah Silver officiated with interment following immediately afterwards at Tikvat Shalom Cemetery, 11316 River Road in St. Rose, LA.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory be sent to the Jewish Federation of New Orleans, the Emanuel Steinberg Scholarship Fund at Shir Chadash Congregation or a charity of your choice.

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