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Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Bronfman’

Philanthropist Billionaire Edgar Bronfman Dead at 84

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Edgar Bronfman, the billionaire former beverage magnate and leading Jewish philanthropist, passed away Saturday. He was 84.

As the longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, Bronfman fought for Jewish rights worldwide and led the successful fight to secure more than a billion dollars in restitution from Swiss banks for Holocaust victims and their heirs. As a philanthropist, Bronfman took the lead in creating and funding many efforts to strengthen Jewish identity among young people.

According to a statement, he died peacefully in his home in New York, surrounded by family.

Bronfman spent the 1950s and 1960s working with his father, Samuel, at Seagram Ltd., the family’s beverage business. He became chairman of the company in 1971, the year of his father’s death.

Just a year earlier, in 1970, Bronfman took part in a delegation to Russia, to lobby the Kremlin for greater right for Jews in the Soviet Union. He would later credit the trip for inspiring his increasing interest in Judaism, saying: “It was on those trips to Russia that my curiosity was piqued. What is it about Judaism, I asked myself, that has kept it alive through so much adversity while so many other traditions have disappeared? Curiosity soon turned into something more, and that ‘something more’ has since turned into a lifelong passion.”

In 1981, Bronfman became the president of the World Jewish Congress, stepping up the organization’s activism on behalf of Jewish communities around the world. From his perch at the WJC, in addition to battling with the Swiss banks, he continued the fight for Soviet Jewry, took the lead in exposing the Nazi past of Kurt Waldheim, and worked to improve Jewish relations with the Vatican.

Letters To The Editor

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Don’t Give Up Golan
   I hope Joseph Farah’s article on the Golan (“Whose Golan Heights?” op-ed, March 30) is widely read. The myth of Arab entitlement to the Golan is akin to the fables underlying Arab claims to the rest of biblical Israel. Farah should expand on what he wrote and The Jewish Press and other Jewish publications should run with it, since the debate over the Golan is fast approaching.
 
   Farah’s comment on Syria’s use of the strategic advantage of the Golan Heights to twice attack Israel should also be publicized. What other country has ever been asked to turn over to a sworn and bitter enemy such a strategic advantage?
 

Henry Kind

New York, NY
 

 

Church And State
 
   A news story in your March 23 issue (“Maryland Senate Rejects Get Law”) reported on the failure of the Maryland legislature to enact a get law you describe as a measure “that essentially would have compelled Jewish husbands granting their wives civil divorces to grant them a Jewish divorce (get) as well”
 
   The story went on to note the “profound disappointment” of Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, which supported the measure.
 
   Forgive me, but I thought a compelled get (get meusah) was invalid. I also wonder how a government law can force someone to perform a religious ritual.
 

Gloria Miller

(Via E-Mail)

 

Historical Parallel
   In defending Israel’s right to its land and opposing the concept of the two-state solution, we should emphasize the historical parallels between the U.S. in the Civil War era and Israel today.
 
   When the Southern Confederate states decided to secede, the North did not attempt to accommodate the South by agreeing to a two-state solution in the interests of peace, even though the South was never any military/terrorist threat to the North and never sent any suicide bombers or rockets against the North.
 
   The Southern states simply wanted to go peacefully their own way on their own land – their claim to which was certainly as good as that of the Northern states to their land. And there never was any dispute as to what constitutes the borders of the Confederate states.
 
   Yet the North attacked and invaded the South. The North did not compromise or make risky concessions for peace. They demanded total surrender. They invaded the South in an all-out, brutal, terribly destructive war, burning down many Southern cities, blockading and bombarding Southern ports, and completely destroying the South’s manufacturing and production infrastructure.
 
   President Bush and Secretary of State Rice are in effect telling Israel, “Do as we say, not as we – Lincoln and the Union states – did.
 

J.L. Greenberg

Seattle, WA

 

Thumbs Up
   I commend The Jewish Press on its editorial concerning the janitor falsely accused of violating a youngster (“The School Custodian Mistake,” March 30). I think it captured the complexity of an issue that requires prompt action on often incomplete information.
 

Rita Meyerowitz

Ramat Gan, Israel
 

 

Thumbs Down
 
   Once again The Jewish Press comes out on the wrong side of the abuse issue. If we are to err in a particular case involving charges of sexual abuse of children, shouldn’t we err on the side of a child who might have been abused rather than on an adult who might not have done it?
 

Shira Aronowitz

(Via E-Mail)

 


 

 

 

The WJC/Israel Singer Controversy

 

Singer Deserves Better
 
      As someone who has applauded the courageous stand taken by The Jewish Press against jumping to conclusions about the veracity of unproven accusations, I was sorely disappointed with your treatment of the WJC/Israel Singer matter. Mr. Singer has not been convicted of anything, yet you conclude that he is unfit for public service because of mere allegations made against him (“Israel Singer Redux,” editorial, March 30).
 
      Mr. Singer has done much for the Jewish community and he deserves better – certainly from a newspaper that prides itself as a staunch advocate of due process.
 

Samuel Rich

New York, NY
 

 

Red Flag
 
      You chide the Claims Conference for not getting rid of Israel Singer in the aftermath of his having been fired by World Jewish Congress president Edgar Bronfman. Yet in the same editorial you note that Bronfman acted only after Singer refused to support Bronfman’s son as his successor. Doesn’t this raise a red flag about the legitimacy of the charges against Singer?
 

Frieda Morgenstern

(Via E-Mail)

 

‘Arrogant Am-Haaretz
 
      So, Edgar Bronfman is to be believed over Israel Singer?
 
      Israel Singer is an Orthodox Jew, an ordained rabbi, and the man who actually put the World Jewish Congress on the map with his tireless efforts on behalf of Jews here and around in the world in the 1980′s and 90′s. Bronfman, on the other hand, has intermarried on more than one occasion; he’s just a rich man who used his billions to buy into the ranks of “Jewish leadership.”
 
      May I remind you of Bronfman’s own boorish and intrinsically un-Jewish mindset, as revealed in an interview he did with author Abigail Pogrebin and reported by your own senior editor, Jason Maoz, in an article on Pogrebin’s book Stars of David?
 
      “Synagogue bores me to tears. I don’t get any spirituality out of going,” Bronfman told Pogrebin. When she asked him if God gave the Torah to the Jews, he replied, “Please. Don’t try to give me any of that stuff.”
 
      And then, as Mr. Maoz so devastatingly related in his article, Bronfman, an arrogant am-haaretz if ever there was one, placed himself outside the camp of the God of Israel, declaring, “The problem is that in synagogue, we talk about this Avinu Malkeinu business ["Our Father, Our King"] all the time. I don’t do that. I mean, I can sing it, but while I’m singing it, I’m saying, ‘It’s not my father, it’s not my king.’ “
 
      The Wicked Son of the Haggadah couldn’t have said it better. So why should I care or give credence to anything a man like Bronfman says or does?
 

Jake Fruchtenbaum

(Via E-Mail)

 

Singer’s Good Works
      The hundreds of millions of dollars Israel Singer got for Holocaust victims – surely that counts for something, does it not? What about his pioneering work on behalf of Soviet Jewry? Or his aggressive pursuit of justice for Jews anywhere in the world for better than 30 years?
 
      Bronfman is just a dilettante who built on his bootlegger father’s fortune and realized that since money counts for everything in Jewish communal life, he had more than enough to sit at the table with all the other self-proclaimed “Jewish leaders.”
 

Brian Berger

Jerusalem
 

 

Old Boy Network
 
      The Israel Singer debacle made me think about the process by which people become leaders in the Jewish community. Edgar Bronfman’s big bucks enable him to take over the World Jewish Congress, and Israel Singer becomes a leader in that organization because his then-friend Edgar Bronfman makes him one.
 
      What you or I or any other Jew thought meant nothing at the time. Nor does it matter now. Jewish leadership is nothing but an old boys network. The fact that Bronfman and Singer had a falling out probably won’t affect Singer’s status at the Claims Conference – unless he gets into a personal tiff with one of the Big Boys over there.
 
      That the Claims Conference saw fit not to cut Singer loose when the attorney general’s findings raised serious questions about Singer speaks volumes about that group’s priorities. Singer must be on good personal terms with the powers that be at the Claims Conference – just as he was on good terms for so long with Bronfman, who also did not dismiss him at the time of the attorney general’s report.
 
      Personal relationships, power networking, wealth and titles – these are what make the world of Jewish leadership go ’round and ’round. Thus it has always been and thus it shall forever be.
 

Daniel Steinberg

(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-184/2007/04/12/

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