Steadfast Loyalty

George Steinfeld
Former temple president,Holocaust survivor; was active in community

SOUTHBURY — George Steinfeld died Sunday evening, Nov. 23, 2008, at the age 60 after an extended illness.

George was the son of Holocaust survivors from the Czech Republic. As teenagers, his mother survived Auschwitz concentration camp and his father escaped from a forced labor camp. George was born in Salerno, Italy, but with the help of the Zionist Youth Organization Hashomeir Hatzair, his family settled in Israel when he was 4 months old. At the age of 10, his family came to the United States and settled first in the Bronx section of New York City, where he attended Taft High School, and then in Bayside, N.Y. George returned to Israel after college to serve in the air force of the Israeli army as a pilot and remained very connected to Israel and committed to the Jewish people.

In 1971, George received a bachelor's of science degree in chemical engineering at The City College of New York, and in 1978 received an master's degree from The University of Connecticut in chemical engineering. George worked at Fuel Cell Energy Inc. in Danbury for nearly 24 years. He was the director of systems development, and with his experience as a senior engineer, he managed the company's Clean Coal Program which resulted in the design, construction and installation of its first fuel cell power plant in Terre Haute, Ind. He also managed test activities for the Ship Service Fuel Cell Power Plant Program for the U.S. Navy, among numerous other projects. George was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and authored or co-authored more than 40 reports and publications. He holds several U.S. patents.

George learned to play accordion at the age of 13, as well as the doumbek (Arab drum), and performed for Israeli folk dancing groups at Moshav Ben Ami in Nahariya, Israel, and in New York City. He was a co-founder of the B'nai Chaim Band of Southbury, which later developed into the Nefesh Klezmer Band, a group that has performed in concerts throughout the region and released the CD "Nefesh Unplucked." George was an active and well-respected member of the local Jewish community, serving as president of B'nai Chaim, chairman of the Security Committee, and member of the Israel Advocacy Committee of B'nai Israel of Southbury.

George was a devoted father to his three children and enjoyed spending time with his family coaching soccer, piloting commuter planes to vacation destinations and boating. He was athletic and, in addition to flying, loved to pursue thrilling sports like parachute jumping, scuba diving and skiing. He was skilled at auto mechanics, a trade he learned from his father. He took pleasure in doing woodworking and other projects inside and outside his Southbury home and taking daily early morning walks, plus hikes in the countryside and along beaches with his fiancée.

George will be remembered most of all for his steadfast loyalty to his family, friends, colleagues and community, his generous spirit, unassuming intelligence and moral character. He will be greatly mourned by those who were blessed to know him.

He is survived by his children, Michele, Naomi and Daniel of Southbury; their mother, Carol Steinfeld of Branford; his mother, Elizabeth Steinfeld of Beer Sheva, Israel; his sister, Nurit Steinfeld; nieces Alexandra and Oriana of Jerusalem, Israel; his aunt and uncle, Tamar and Eli Dagan; cousins of Nahariya, Israel; and his fiancée, Sharon Citrin of Woodbury. He was predeceased by his father, Alexander Steinfeld. Shalom Yigal.

A memorial ceremony will be held at B'nai Israel, 444 Main Street North, Southbury, on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Herzliya, Israel. A mourner's service will be held at the Citrin residence in Woodbury on Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., and at the Steinfeld residence in Southbury on Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.

Donations in George's memory can be made to: American Friends of Magen David Adom-ARMDI, 888 Seventh Avenue, Suite 403, New York, N.Y. 10106, (866) 632-2763; or online at


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