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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 3, 2014 Bronfman From page 1A lobbied President George H.W. Bush to push for the rescis- sion of the United Nations resolution equating Zionism and racism. "In terms of defending Jews, I'm a Jew," Bronfman told JTA in a 2008 interview. "And I was in a position to do so, so I did so." Bronfman's final years as president of WJC were marred by allegations of financial ir- regularities revolving around his most influential adviser on Jewish political affairs, the or- ganization's secretary general, Rabbi Israel Singer. Bronfman was never implicated in any of the financial allegations, but the controversy and feud- ing surrounding his top aide dominated the final years of his decades-long stint as WJC president. The office of then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer issued a report in 2006 that found no criminal offense, but criticized the WJC's financial management, and it ordered that Singer be prohibited from making financial decisions in the organization. Bronfman initially stood by Singer be- fore ultimately firing him in 2007. Several months later Bronfman stepped down. But Bronfman did not disappear from the public stage. A staunch supporter of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he continued to be a vocal and public backer of liberal politicians in the United States and Israel. And as president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, he dedicated most of his final years to his Jewish philan- thropic causes. He founded the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in 1987, a young leadership program that brings together Jewish high school students from Israel and North America. In the 1990s he worked to revive Hillel, serving as the founding chair of the campus organiza- tion's board of governors. In 2002, he provided the funding to launch MyJewishLearning, a digital media entity that now also includes the Jewish par- enting site Kveller and boasts I million visitors per month. Bronfman and his firstwife, Ann Loeb, had five children: Sam, Edgar Jr., Matthew, Holly and Adam. He and his secondwife, GeorgianaWebb, had two daughters, Sara and Clare. In 1994, he married the artist Jan Aronson. He is survived by Aronson, his seven children, 24 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as a brother, Charles, and a sister, Phyllis Lambert. Schafer From page 1A "From the Isaiah text cho- sen by hundreds of WRJ mem- bers, to the over 250 voices that sing on the anthem itself, to the many artists who lovingly offered a song for this com- pilation, this project reflects the far-reaching support for Women of Reform Judaism. In honor of the sacred work of WRJ, we rejoice as God asks us to: with joy and gladness, with harp and drum, with every breath," said Schafer of the project. As the year came to a close, the Union for Reform Judaism held its Biennial Convention in San Diego, Calif. Schafer was tapped to produce the Saturday Evening Plenary, titled "Ex- traordinary Women Shaping the Reform Movement." The 90-minute show featured specially created videos and graphics, as well as the WRJ Jane Evans Pursuit of Justice Award being given to Anat Hoffman (Israeli Religious Action Center, Women of the Wall) and the WRJ itself re- ceiving the URJ's Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award; both the highest awards given by each organization. The show also kicked off NFTY's (Na- tional Federation of Temple Youth) 75th anniversary year. A celebratory musical concert where Schafer led an eight-piece band punctuated the evening. The anthem, "Limdu Heiteiv,"was debuted during this groundbreaking show, the first in the URJ to be produced by a woman. Rabbi Maria Feldman, executive director of Women of Reform Judaism remarked that, "Beth Schafer orches- trated a wonderful multi-me- PAGE 15A Beth Schafer dia program celebrating the role of extraordinary women in Jewish life. A highlight of that event was the WRJ choir singing our new anthem, along with a cadre of talented musicians and singers under her direction." Jet setter From page 2A than fighting battles on the world stage, particularly through his work with Hillel and the Bronfman Youth Fel- lowships. Other projects he champi- oned-some independently, others with a group of major donors informally known as the Study Group--include the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Birthright Israel, STAR: Syna- gogue Transformation and Renewal, the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Educa- tion, and MyJewishLearning. com. Such efforts coincided with Bronfman's own grow- ing embrace of Jewish ritual practice. "His involvement in Jewish things reflected a sense of, 'If Judaism has all these interest- ing things to say, why didn't I know more of it growing up?'" Marker said. In the last weeks of his life, as his health faded, Bronfman's love of learning continued un- abated. The weekend before he died, he apparently finishedAri Shavit's "My Promised Land" and had begun reading a book by Nietzsche. Four weeks ago, after Bron- fman's appointments were canceled because he wasn't well enough to come into the office, he called the executive director of his foundation, Dana Raucher, demanding to know why she cancelled his Talmud class. Raucher explained it was because he wasn't coming into the office. "What's wrong with my apartment?" Bronfman re- sponded. "He loved the discourse, dialogue, debate and strong characters of the Talmud, how they were human and made mistakes, how they pre- served the minority opinion," Raucher told JTA. Bronfman was also an ad- vocate for women, gay Jews and the intermarried long before such views became the norm. He liked to relate how in the 1970s a Seagram's human resource director had asked him to fire an employee because he was gay. "He fired the HR director on the spot," Raucher said. "He saw it as ethical, but also the right business decision. You fire people for what they do, not for who they are." Sharkansky From page 4A had not negotiated about the issue, meaning that they expect an increase in pay in exchange for any alteration of work rules. According to a contrary report, the reason for the strike was not really the safety vests, but a personal squabble between the head of the workers' committee (i.e., the local union) and management. Israel's ports have long been bothered by strong workers' organizations, with nepotism a prime element in the hiring of new personnel, Yorish and tendencies to sudden work stoppages on what seem to be trivial issues. One can dream of something like the Ronald Reagan drama of firing all the uppity flight controllers, but Israel's spirit of worker socialism may still be too strong for such a measure. Some delight, while others worry about the strong signs of individual initiative and anti-unionism in the burgeoning field of high tech. Most disturbing was the re- port of an abandoned package spotted in a bus serving one of Tel Aviv's suburbs, which ex- ploded and injured the police sapper called to deal with it. It recalls the bad days of 2001- 04, when exploding buses were part of the landscape. Combined with an increase of incidents in Jerusalem, throughout the West Bank, and on the borders of Gaza, this has begun to challenge security personnel who have yet to see indications of a coordinated uprising. Guessing the outcomes of these various activities is more art than science. The status quo should win most votes. Activists concerned with each of the issues noted above are working against those unconcerned and un- enlightened, along with laws and precedents that resist change. Individuals and or- ganizations who support what exists are not easily dislodged. The very number of issues getting attention may divide those wondering where to put their attention and efforts. The prominence of a religious nationalist in the campaign for marijuana reform, but not the campaign for gays and lesbians, suggests divisions within alliances that some may see as natural. The summer of 2011 was a time of high spirits and marches that attracted hun- dreds of thousands in behalf of numerous social reforms. The agenda featured lower- cost housing, the price of food and child care lumped under the heading of benefits for young middle class families. One can quarrel about the results, but few claim that they were anything more than partial. Still on the tables of com- mittees is the evening of military obligations, work and taxes between the ultra- Orthodox and other Israelis. Change may come, but it takes great work, persistence, and good luck. In a country always on cusp of a domestic or international crisis, bad luck can come in the form of an event that seizes the headlines, and destroys what- ever momentum may have been developing in behalf of something else. Another bomb in a bus may change everything, even for what moves John Kerry. Ira Sharkansky is a pro- fessor (Emeritus) in the Department of Political Sci- ence, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From page 5A munity organizations. Here, as in many other initiatives, JFGO will continue to play the role of convener, facilitator, and, with community's sup- port, funder. As we work to strengthen the local Jewish community, Eden we must also remember our obligations to Israel and to Jews around the world. The Jewish Federation is the only organization that connects us with every Jew in need in the world, from Argentina to the Ukraine. Even more directly, our relationship with the Partnership2Gether community Kiryat Motzkin in Israel is generating mutu- ally beneficial connections and enriching experiences for the entire community. There is a great potential in this relationship and we are committed to enhancing it. Yes, we don't do enough to support the local community. We know that we have to sup- port Jewish education and identity building. We know that we must bring the Jew- ish community together. All these goals are on our agenda but we can only achieve them with your help. We have set ambitious goals for the 2014 Annual Campaign and we continue to work very hard to achieve them. We have named the 2014 Annual Campaign "Shaping the Future," and this is indeed what we are about: shaping the future of the Orlando Jewish commu- nity. I invite you to join us in this exciting journey. We have set ambitious goals for the 2014 Annual Campaign and the next few months will be critical to its success. Get involved, participate, con- tribute. There is a place for everyone at the Jewish Federa- tion. To find out how, visit our website at www.JFGO.org; call me at 407-645-5933 or email me at oyorish@jfgo.org. From page 5A much as he answered, talked as much as he listened. There were other journal- ists, academics and rabbis with whom he spoke far more often. From time to time he would put us all in a room--when we were really lucky, at a resort in Park City, Utah--and it was the same as our lunches. Sure, he had his two cents, but he was there to learn, to be excited by new ideas. He would tell you what he thought, however crazy, but he always wanted to know what other people were thinking, however crazy. And in the diversity of bios and backgrounds of the people in those larger get-togethers, you could see the passion and concern he had for Jews of various stripes from around the world. In politics, he was an increasingly rare combina- tion-an unabashedly out- spoken liberal with a nearly unparalleled track record of sticking up for the Jews. You can find plenty of wealthy liberals ready to make the case for electing a Democratic president in the United States or dismantling settlements in the West Bank. But how many of them also can boast of having played a lead role in exposing Kurt Waldheim's Nazi past? Or fighting for the freedom of Soviet Jews? Or pushing for the repeal of the U.N. resolu- tion equating Zionism with racism? Or battling the Swiss banks on behalf of Holocaust victims? "In terms of defending Jews, I'm a Jew," Bronfman said. "And I was in a position to do so, so I did so." Unlike many liberals, Edgar was increasingly, deeply curious about Juda- ism itself. "As I was growing up, my knowledge of Judaism was limited to lessons for my bar mitzvah and atten- dance at a junior congrega- tion that I found dull and pointless, especially since I knew my father did not attend synagogue on Satur- days-he went to the office instead," Bronfman wrote in his 2008 book, "Hope, Not Fear." Not surprisingly, as an adult he avoided Jewish practice, privately raising his children in a home mostly devoid of Jewish life even as he publicly dove into Jewish activism. Over time, that involvement led to a religious awakening of sorts. "Starting in my 60s, I began to make changes in my life," Bronfman wrote. "I lit Shabbat candles with my wife every Friday night. I stopped eating pork and shellfish to assert my Jewish identity. I became a proud Jew, in my home and my heart." Edgar felt it was time for Jewish organizations and Jewish leaders to let go of fear as a selling point. He also believed ordinary folks needed to take an active role in reclaiming their heritage, to make personal commit- ments to Jewish religious observance and text study. In the end, Edgar's view of the Jewish tradition could serve as a metaphor for his own legacy--he was not without flaws, but he was grand, provocative, tirelessly 48631 51387 27956 94123 86579 73264 65492 327 1 8 1984,5 generous and devoted. Most important, he was ours. Goodnight, sweet prince. 2975 9462 4318 8756 1234 5891 3187 6549 7623