Michael J. Stern


Michael Stern died on Aug. 2, following a sudden illness. He was 81. His beloved wife of 60 years, Joyce (née Duran), was at his side.

Michael was born on Sept. 5, 1938, in Leipzig, Germany. His parents, Drs. Joseph and Leontina Stern, arrived in this country as refugees two months later, following Kristallnacht, bringing with them Michael and his 2-year-old sister, Raya, who survives him. The family settled in Clarence, N.Y.

Michael held a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in French from Columbia University. Commencing with positions in the budget and legislative branches of the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare, his career in government included serving many years as staff director of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee under Sen. Russell Long of Louisiana. He later worked as a legislative analyst for the Investment Company Institute.

Michael was a member of Adas Israel Congregation, where he and Joyce were among the founding families of the lay-led Adas Israel Havurah. Michael mentored hundreds of congregants, training them in Torah reading, leading them in study and teaching them synagogue skills. In 2018, the synagogue created a unique honor for Michael by designating him a Master Teacher.


In addition to Joyce, he is survived by his daughter, Lise Stern of Cambridge, Mass., and son, Avidan (Linda) Stern of Wilmette, Ill. His grandchildren are Gabriel Stern-Robbins, Shoshi Stern-Robbins, Joshua Stern, Emily (Jared) Kerzner and Zachary Stern. Grandson Eitan Stern-Robbins predeceased him in 2013.

Donations may be made to Adas Israel Congregation, 2850 Quebec St. NW, Washington, DC 20008 or to Our Place of New Trier.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here