BERNSTEIN, Stanley B.
Stanley B. Bernstein, retired federal judge and a leading bankruptcy scholar, passed away due to complications from COVID-19 on December 26, 2020, in Atlanta. The beloved father and grandfather was 79. Born in Los Angeles to parents Bess and Julius Bernstein, Stan was raised in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and received a B.A. from Brandeis in 1962, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. As a freshman, he met the love of his life who became his wife of 57 years, Jane (Hirschfield) Bernstein. His passion for learning took him to the University of Chicago where he received a Master's in Asian Studies; to Harvard, for a Ph.D. in political science; to the University of California - Davis and Rutgers, where he completed studies for his J.D. while also teaching civil rights and political science courses to undergraduates. Intellectually curious and committed to helping develop a generation of excellent attorneys, Bernstein continued to teach while building his own career, including courses at the University of Toledo, Wayne State and the University of Detroit law schools. Meanwhile, he worked for several private law firms across the country. In 1982, Bernstein was appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Michigan at the relatively young age of 41. Fourteen years later, Bernstein returned to the bench for the Eastern District of New York. A few of his significant decisions included cases involving Med Diversified, Photocircuits and Innapharma. He was particularly sensitive to the plight of pro se debtors -- those who filed for bankruptcy without attorneys. He felt a deep humanity for his fellow man and was a passionate defender of the voiceless. Respected as one of the country's top bankruptcy scholars, Bernstein authored and co-authored several books and legal articles, delivered dozens of seminars and presentations, and published more than 100 opinions -- many of which made news and were declared "must reads." While on the bench, he continued to teach law at Touro Law Center and philosophy at Hofstra University. He also enjoyed seeing his clerks move on to successful law careers. He thought of them as family. Stan and his wife raised three children. Following his retirement in 2007, they moved to Atlanta to be close to their daughter and her family. He taught at John Marshall Law School and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Emory. Bernstein challenged himself throughout his life. On any given day he could be found writing poetry, completing the New York Times crossword puzzle, translating ancient Greek, learning how to play various instruments or collecting tropical fish. He loved to engage his grandchildren in topics ranging from Shakespeare to the current political landscape. Bernstein once said, "I hope my legacy will be a reputation for integrity, good but often literal-minded humor, some witty and innovative and helpful opinions, hundreds of well-taught law and philosophy students, reliable articles published in referred law reviews, and a delight in just talking to so many different folks from all walks of life." He is survived by Jane; their children Mark Bernstein (Tess), Paul Bernstein (Stephanie Ruhl) and Julie (Bernstein) Roseman (Seth); and five grandchildren, Nick, Emily, Jed, Ava and Sonia. He also leaves behind his brother and sister-in-law Joanne and Eugene Bernstein, their children and families; his aunt and uncle Evelyn and Arthur Bernstein, and many cousins and family members. Donations in Stan Bernstein's name can be made to the Mentoring Initiative for New Americans (MINA) Program at https://international.gsu.edu/mina/ (Georgia State University Foundation, P.O. Box 2668, Atlanta, GA 30301-2668, Attn. M. Campbell). Arrangements by Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care, 770.451.4999.