Edgar Miles Bronfman, Sr. (1929 - 2013) MP

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Place of Burial: New York, NY, USA
Birthplace: Montreal, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, QC, Canada
Death: Died in New York, New York, United States
Managed by: Neil Rosenthal
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Edgar Miles Bronfman, Sr.

Biography See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Bronfman,_Sr.

Edgar Miles Bronfman (June 20, 1929 – December 21, 2013) was a Canadian-American businessman. Bronfman was born in Montreal into the Jewish Canadian Bronfman family, the son of Samuel Bronfman and Saidye Rosner Bronfman. His father was the founder of Distillers Corporation Limited, which in 1928 purchased what was then the largest distiller in the world, Seagram Company Ltd. He had three siblings: the late Minda de Gunzburg, the architecture maven Phyllis Lambert, and Charles Bronfman. Following his father's death in 1971, Bronfman took over as president, treasurer, and director of Distillers Corporation-Seagrams Ltd. His son Edgar Jr. succeeded him as chief executive officer of the company in 1994.

In April 2012, Bronfman joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Giving Pledge, a long-term charitable initiative that aims to inspire conversations about philanthropy and increase charitable giving in the United States. Bronfman and 12 others joined the 68 billionaires who had already signed the giving pledge.

Bronfman died on December 21, 2013 at his home in Manhattan. He was 84.

World Jewish Congress

When former World Jewish Congress President Philip Klutznick stepped down in 1979, Bronfman was asked to take over as acting head of the organization. Bronfman was formally elected WJC president by the Seventh Plenary Assembly, in January 1981. Together with his deputy Israel Singer, Bronfman has led the World Jewish Congress in becoming the preeminent international Jewish organization.

Through the campaigns to free Soviet Jewry, the exposure of the Nazi past of Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, and the campaign to compensate victims of the Holocaust and their heirs, notably in the case of the Swiss banks, Bronfman became well known internationally during the 1980s and 1990s. In the late 1990s, Bronfman championed the cause of restitution from Switzerland for Holocaust survivors.

Personal life

Bronfman was married five times (twice to his third wife):

• In 1953, he married the Jewish-American banking heiress Ann Loeb (1932–2011), the daughter of John Langeloth Loeb Sr. (a Wall Street investment banker whose company was a predecessor of Shearson Lehman/American Express) and Frances Lehman (a scion of the Lehman Brothers banking firm). They divorced in 1973. They had five children.

• Samuel Bronfman – On Aug. 9, 1975, Samuel (who was 21 at the time) was abducted from a family estate in suburban New York. He was held for more than a week before his father paid a $2.3 million ransom. He was later rescued by the FBI and New York City police from a Brooklyn apartment where he was found with his hands bound and his eyes and mouth covered with adhesive tape. The captors, a former limousine operator and a former fireman, were acquitted of kidnapping but convicted of extortion charges and spent several years in prison. The ransom money was recovered.

  • • Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
  • • Matthew Bronfman
  • • Holly Bronfman Lev
  • • Adam Bronfman – Managing Director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation.
  • • In 1973, soon after his divorce from Loeb, he married Lady Carolyn Townshend, the daughter of the 7th Marquess Townshend. The marriage was annulled in 1974.
  • • In 1975, he married his third wife, Rita "Georgiana" Webb. They divorced in 1983 but were later remarried and again divorced. He had two children with Webb.[30][31]
  • • Sara Bronfman (born 1976)
  • • Clare Bronfman (born 1979)
  • • In 1994 he married the artist Jan Aronson

Philanthropy

Bronfman is a philanthropist who has given large amounts of money to Jewish causes. His mother has a concert hall named after her in Montreal, the Saidye Bronfman Centre, and a building at McGill University is named after his father.

Bronfman was also the president of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. Major points of focus for The Samuel Bronfman Foundation are conversations around pluralism, intermarriage, community engagement – especially youth – and making Jewish knowledge accessible to Jews of all backgrounds. It is known for its work with the following grantees:

• In 1987, Bronfman founded The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel,[37] a network of 1,000 young Jews from Israel and North America that includes some of today's most inspiring Jewish writers, thinkers and leaders.[38] The Fellowships taps future influencers at a formative point in their lives, their final year of high school, and immerses them in an intensive exploration of Jewish text study, pluralism and social responsibility.

• Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, which is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, engaging Jewish students globally in religious, cultural, artistic, and community-service activities. Hillel's mission is "to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world".

• MyJewishLearning.com, which is the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education, offering articles and resources on all aspects of Judaism and Jewish life, along with Kveller.com, a Jewish parenting website that is a project of MyJewishLearning.com.

Awards

In 1986 Bronfman was honored with the Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur (Legion of Honour), from the Government of France.

Bronfman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Bill Clinton in August 1999[45] and the Star of People's Friendship by East German leader Erich Honecker in October 1988. In 2000, he received the Leo Baeck Medal for his humanitarian work promoting tolerance and social justice,[46] and in 2005 received the Hillel Renaissance Award.

Books

  1. • Bronfman, Edgar M., and Jan Aronson. The Bronfman Haggadah. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2012. ISBN 978-0-8478-3968-1
  2. • Bronfman, Edgar M. Good Spirits: The Making of a Businessman. New York: Putnam, 1998. ISBN 978-0-399-14374-8
  3. • Bronfman, Edgar M., and Beth Zasloff. Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-3123-7792-2
  4. • Bronfman, Edgar M. The Making of a Jew. New York: Putnam, 1996. ISBN 978-0-399-14220-8
  5. • Bronfman, Edgar M., and Catherine Whitney. The Third Act: Reinventing Yourself After Retirement. New York: G. P. Putnam, 2002. ISBN 978-0-399-14869-9
  6. ==Articles and videos
  7. Bronfman was a guest blogger for the Huffington Post and a regular contributor to The Washington Post.
  8. Bronfman has also made appearances on the Charlie Rose show.
  9. The following are video and press interviews of Edgar M. Bronfman:
  10. • Interview for Big Think
  11. • Tribute Video by the World Jewish Congress
  12. • Interview for NY1
  13. • Interview with Jacques Berlinerblau for Faith Complex Series
  14. • Interview with The New York Times Magazine
  15. List of References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Bronfman,_Sr.
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Edgar Miles Bronfman, Sr.'s Timeline

1929
June 20, 1929
Montreal, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, QC, Canada
1953
1953
Age 23
New York City, New York, U.S.A.
1955
May 16, 1955
Age 25
New York, NY, USA
1973
1973
Age 43
1974
1974
Age 44
1975
1975
Age 45
1983
1983
Age 53