Rabbi Melvin Goldstine, rabbi emeritus at Temple Aliyah, died Jan. 12 of a stroke at the age of 77.
Goldstine will be remembered by many as the driving force behind the construction of the congregation's modern-looking complex in Woodland Hills.
He was born in Chicago in 1924 and knew he wanted to be a rabbi from an early age. He studied at Northwestern University before attending the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 1946. His first posting was at Chicago's Anshe Emet, the same congregation he grew up in. He and his wife, Bella, moved to California in 1959 and for a time he worked in the Sunland-Tujunga area before becoming the spiritual leader of Temple Aliyah.
Goldstine, who served as Temple Aliyah's senior rabbi from 1968 through the early 1990s, made the synagogue a center of liberal learning, inviting a variety of local politicians and dignitaries to share his pulpit. Along with his wife, the rabbi fostered a warm, egalitarian environment that brought back several generations of temple members.
After retiring in 1993, the rabbi spent much of his time teaching seniors at the Jewish Home for the Aged and providing pastoral services on cruise ships.
In his eulogy at Goldstine's funeral, Rabbi David Wolpe emphasized the rabbi's kindness and intelligence. There was never a simcha he did not attend if he could help it. As a consequence, three generations of Aliyah-goers were touched by his gentle manner.
"It was a good gig," said his nephew, Ethan. "My uncle was the kind of man who just couldn't stop giving."
Goldstine is survived by his wife of 51 years, Bella; daughters, Deborah and Ruth (David); brother, Abner (Roz); and nephew, Ethan.