Remembering Edgar Bronfman



Tribute in memory of Jewish philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman:

When Edgar Bronfman Sr. passed away this month, a blazing star burned out. Like Senator Frank Lautenberg, another member of this great generation of Jewish leaders who left this life in 2013, Mr. Bronfman committed himself to the survival of Soviet Jews, campaigning to bring them to Israel or the United States and helping recover billions of dollars in assets lost during the Holocaust. Mr. Bronfman was inspired by a deep understanding of the power of our common heritage, drawn in part from a trip to the former Soviet Union in 1970, where, as he later told JTA, he found himself wondering how Judaism had stayed alive through so much adversity.

For the answers to this most central question, as we consider future generations of global Jewry, we would be well advised to look to the choices Mr. Bronfman made in his 84 years. He promoted Jewish learning, built bridges between Jews in North America and Israel, and as Dana Raucher, executive director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation named for his father, said, "was the first of his kind, a titan of industry that dedicated himself fully to advocating, advancing and encouraging the Jewish people."

We all could do no better than to follow in this titan's footsteps.

Stan Polovets
Chairman of the Board, The Genesis Prize Foundation