Max M. Goldberg
October 15, 1919 – November 21, 2007
Max M. Goldberg was born in Washington, DC, on October 15, 1919, and lived in Washington, DC, and in Montgomery County, Maryland, his entire life. He passed away on November 21, 2007, at age 88 as a result of complications from a brain tumor. His death occurred at the Casey House, a facility operated by Montgomery Hospice in Rockville, Maryland.
He attended McKinley High School in Washington, DC, and graduated as Valedictorian. In the days when a college education was generally reserved only for the wealthy, and was not a prerequisite for admission to law school as it is today, Max enrolled in the evening program at National Law School, now part of George Washington University, and received his LL.B degree in 1941.
He served in the Army during World War II with the rank of Sergeant Major. His duty assignment was as legal advisor in the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor to the CIA) under "Wild Bill" Donovan. He was stationed at their "secret" headquarters located on the grounds of Congressional Country Club.
After WW II he practiced law in Washington, DC, until his retirement in 1989. For many years he worked with his brother, Harry W. Goldberg, in Washington, DC, however, after passing the Maryland Bar examination at the age of 60, he moved to an office in Rockville and remained in practice for the next 10 years with his son, David S. Goldberg.
He loved the nobility of the law and the role of lawyers in society. His hero was Clarence Darrow. He emulated Darrow in his willingness to represent the poor and the disadvantaged. Fighting for the underdog became a way of life. He was active in the District of Columbia, State of Maryland, and Montgomery County Bar Associations.
He became a member of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC, at the time of his Bar Mitzvah in 1932. He was President of the Adas Israel Men's Club in 1959, and President of Adas Israel Congregation from 1979 to 1983. He also served as International President of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, an organization of men=s clubs in over 420 Conservative Jewish congregations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico and Israel.
Max served as editor of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Newsletter and as Associate Editor of "The Torch" a publication of the Federation containing scholarly articles by eminent Rabbis, professors and lay leaders. He was founder, contributor and Editor of the "Torchlight", another publication of the Federation, and also served the Federation as a lay representative to the United Nations for Jewish interests on an international level.
Additional positions held include President of the Seaboard Region of the United Synagogue of America; Board of Overseers of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Ritual Committee of the Hebrew Home for the Aged; volunteer for the Washington area United Jewish Appeal Federation and the Israel Bond committee; President of a Lions Club Chapter in Miami Shores, Florida; and member of the Jewish Community Counsel of Greater Washington.
Max was a member of the Rabbinical Assembly Commission on the Philosophy of Conservative Judaism which published for the first time in 100 years a statement of Conservative Jewish principles, "Emet Ve-Emunah", and Study and Teacher's Guides to provide a project base for Conservative congregations.
He also served as President of a national program, "The Art of Jewish Living", which published "Shabbat Seder" and other books on subjects of interest for use by synagogue based adult education programs.
He was a panel member for the American Arbitration Association, a Special Master for Code Enforcement for the Town of Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, and a member of the Board of Code Compliance for Kentlands in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Max's awards and honors include the Melvin Jones Fellow Award by Lions International for work on behalf of the Lions Clubs, the President's Memorial Award from the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs for his efforts on behalf of Judaism, and the Amuday Torah (Pillars of Learning) and Shem-Tov (Good Name) Awards, both from Adas Israel Congregation.
He was possessed of a great mind. Having grown up during the Great Depression, his family was so poor that he was forced to sneak into his elementary school at night to "borrow" the school supplies he needed to complete his homework assignments. He was a latter-day academic Jean Valjean. He put his intellectual skills to work on behalf of his family, his clients, and the Jewish and secular communities.
He was survived by his wife of 67 years, Reeva; three children, David S. Goldberg and Sharon A. Holtz of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Karen N. Thompson of Warwick, New York; seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren; and by his brothers, Harry, Leopold, and Samuel Goldberg, and a sister, Betty Duncan.