It is with great sadness that MyJewishLearning, Inc. notes the passing of our founder Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr. He was a giant among Jewish leaders, a legendary visionary, and a mentor and friend to all who knew him. We at MJL would not exist without his tireless work, forward-thinking vision, and continued support of our work.
Below is the official obituary from the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, where he was the president.
Zichrono livracha–May his memory be for a blessing.
Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr., the son of legendary Canadian liquor magnate Sam Bronfman, who expanded Seagram Ltd. internationally and transformed the World Jewish Congress into a prestigious global advocacy force while separately fostering educational and social programs designed to promote a “Jewish renaissance,” died peacefully today at his home in New York surrounded by family. He was 84.
At the time of his death Mr. Bronfman was president of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. With offices in the landmark Seagram Building that his family built on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, the foundation’s mission is to “inspire a renaissance in Jewish life” through programs Mr. Bronfman described as designed to cultivate “a Jewish community that is knowledgeable, proud and welcoming, where everyone is invited to learn and grow.” Mr. Bronfman personally exemplified this mission by turning the foundation’s offices into a hub of study groups, seminars and special gatherings to promote Jewish learning, discussion and innovation.
Foremost among the initiatives he supported are Hillel: The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, and MyJewishLearning.com.
Mr. Bronfman was instrumental in reviving Hillel’s campus presence and leading its international expansion. He visited more than 130 college campuses on five continents and met regularly with students.
He was especially proud of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, a network of more than 1,000 young Jews from Israel and North America that includes some of today’s most inspiring writers, thinkers and leaders. The fellowships program, which Mr. Bronfman founded in 1987, engages future leaders at a formative point in their lives – after their junior year in high school – and immerses them in an intensive exploration of Judaism, including textual study and the examination of ideas about the Jewish experience, pluralism and social responsibility. The fellows and alumni embody Mr. Bronfman’s vision that young people who are enriched and energized by their Judaism are poised to contribute not only to Jewish life, but to the world at large.