Monday, February 27, 2012

Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO Mourn Respected Lawyer, P.S. 8 Dad

Michael Rothenberg, executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) and local dad, was mourned at a memorial service Sunday at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights.

He died at age 47 after a plunge from the 29th floor of 100 Jay Street in DUMBO, landing on the fourth-floor terrace over a Chase bank.

Rothenberg's death shocked a wide swath of people across DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, who knew him as a kind man, a competitive squash player, and a thoughtful neighbor. According to the extensive obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle, Rothenberg was a dedicated volunteer at P.S. 8, where his children attend school.

Rothenberg oversaw the team of attorneys and activists fighting to remove toxins (including PCBs) from more than 700 public schools across the city. Other issues he worked on included ending Medicaid discrimination and winning aid for the families of union workers killed on 9/11.

An extended tribute written by Beth Rasin describes Rothenberg's razor sharp wit and penchant for puns, his chocolate chip cookies, his vision for NYLPI and how he made himself available to law students and young lawyers.

His family and colleagues at NYLPI issued a joint statement reading in part:

“Michael was the kind of person we all strive to be: a fearless advocate for those less fortunate, a wonderful role model to his young children, and a dedicated friend,” said Jonathan Kopp, a close family friend. “This is a great loss for everyone who was touched by him."

"A man with an enormous heart, a compassionate soul and a burning desire to better the lives of others, Michael Rothenberg is survived by his wife, Zerline Goodman; their children, Brice, Garon and Zaya Rothenberg; his mother, Eleanor; and his brothers, David and Seth. "

Brooklyn Activist Lawyer Dies in Fall From Roof Brooklyn Eagle

Top photo courtesy NYU; bottom photo by MK Metz

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