Thursday, March 5

Obituary : Rev. John Steinbruck dies

The Rev. John Steinbruck, who participated in the Soviet Jewry movement and continually worked to improve the lives of the disadvantaged in Washington, died March 1 in Delaware. He was 84 years old.

Steinbruck was pastor at Luther Place Memorial Church from 1970 to 1997. There, he worked together with members of Washington Hebrew and Adas Israel congregations to get the homeless off the street, fed and cared for. He was instrumental in forming N Street Village, a haven for homeless women.

“He was somebody who was passionate in his search for social justice at all times,” said Schroeder Stribling, executive director of N Street Village. Steinbruck worked for “justice and inclusion for everyone with a special passion for people who were disadvantaged, dismissed or discarded.”

During the 1970s, Steinbruck threw mattresses down in the aisles of his sanctuary in an attempt to ease the blight of homelessness in the city. Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Joseph Weinberg, who died in 1999, assisted his members in bringing blankets and serving meals. The two clergymen became great friends and worked together for years.

Elaine Kremens knew Steinbruck for more than 20 years, often seeing him when she volunteered at the homeless shelter connected to his church. Kremens, along with other Adas Israel Congregation members, helped out at the shelter weekly and provided a meal once a month.

Inspired by his work, Kremens went on to spearhead Adas Israel’s creation of apartments for nine formerly homeless men and women who suffered from mental illness. It was Steinbruck who came up with the name, The Anne Frank House, for those apartments, she said.

“He was very, very outgoing. He was the kind of guy who could accept all kinds of people from all backgrounds,” she said.

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