The Samuel Bronfman Foundation
The Samuel Bronfman Foundation Newsletter December 2009
In This Issue
Beyond the Headlines
Adam Bronfman Straight Talk
Edgar M. Bronfman turns over his gavel
TCI Expands its Reach
Bronfman Youth Fellows in the News
MyJewishLearning Raises $10,000
Edgar M. Bronfman Visits Montreal
Slingshot Awardees
The Samuel Bronfman Foundation in the News

The Real Struggle for Chanukah, Adam R. Bronfman
A Note From Dana Raucher

Dana Raucher

Over the past year, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation continued to be impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness throughout the Jewish community and among our grantees. As 2009 comes to a close, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation is proud to look back upon a year of collaboration and innovation. In the face of great economic challenges, it is reassuring to see so many Jewish organizations stepping up to better serve the community and each other. By thinking creatively about how to best meet the needs of their constituents, organizations on the vanguard of Jewish life have realized efficiencies in their operations and, more importantly, new and innovative methodologies for reaching their communities.


This year, more than ever, the Jewish sector has begun to internalize the understanding that an individual organization's own self interest is intricately connected with the collective interests of their greater communities.  The Samuel Bronfman Foundation is proud to be concluding 2009 as a member of such a resilient and forward-thinking Jewish community.


The Foundation is also proud to announce that our long-time Senior Program Officer, Ariel Groveman Weiner, has been named Associate Director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. We all look forward to working with Ariel in her new capacity.


Please read on to learn more about our recent work and the noteworthy accomplishments of some of our grantees. We wish you all a Happy Hanukah and a healthy 2010.




Dana Raucher

Executive Director
Beyond the Headlines
Elevating Jewish Ethics 

On October 19, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation hosted its fall 375 Series program, which featured Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, noted author and ethicist, and Alana Newhouse, editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine.Rabbi Telushkin and Ms. Newhouse explored the series of damaging and highly publicized scandals, which have plagued the Jewish community over the last year, and their to relation our community's standards of Jewish ethics.  The engaging conversation tackled issues of complacency and pride among the Jewish community and what cultural shifts might need to occur in order to elevate the importance of Jewish ethics and values.

Adam Bronfman
Investing in People and Straight Talk About Assimilation

Adam R. BronfmanAdam R. Bronfman, Managing Director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, together with Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, Felicia Herman, Executive Director of the Natan Fund , Ari Alexander of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Shawn Landres, CEO and co-founder of Jumpstart spoke at the Federations of North America's Annual General Assembly on a panel, "The Jewish Innovation Ecosystem: How Social Entrepreneurship Can Transform Communities."  Adam emphasized that investing in the right people and empowering them to pursue their vision of Jewish life has been The Samuel Bronfman Foundation's key tofostering Jewish renaissance and innovation. 


The Forward recently featured a dialogue about assimilation and intermarriage in North America between Adam R. Bronfman and Professor Jack Wertheimer. The dialogue was also discussed on both's blog and The Jewish Outreach Institute's blog.

Edgar M. Bronfman
turns over his Hillel gavel to Randall Kaplan 

KaplanEdgar M. Bronfman, who has served as Chairman of Hillel's International Board of Governors since 1994, turned over his gavel as Chairman to Randall Kaplan on December 2, 2009 and assumed his role as Founding Chairman. As the new Chairman, Kaplan will take responsibility for the operation and growth of the Board and Edgar will continue his leadership in the role of Founding Chairman, visiting Hillel campuses, recruiting individuals to the Board of Governors and serving as an ambassador for the global Hillel enterprise.


The creation of Hillel's International Board of Governors under the Chairmanship of Edgar M. Bronfman was one of a series of dramatic steps that ushered in a bright new period in Hillel's history as it transitioned to an independent agency. Working closely with then-President Richard M. Joel, Edgar helped to raise Hillel's profile on campuses, among North American Jewish organizations, and globally.

Edgar has enjoyed personally traveling to over 100 campuses in North America and abroad, meeting with students, community members and university presidents. Edgar and his son Adam have been deeply and passionately involved in Hillel's expansion to Latin America and its growth in Israel.  You can read a recent op-ed written by Randall and Edgar which discusses "Hillel's Open Tent Helping to Open Minds."

TCI Expands its Reach
 throughout the Northeast and gets a New Look Online
TCI The Curriculum Initiative has had a busy and exciting fall.  In September, TCI was thrilled to add a new team member, Deborah Leipzig. Deborah now servesas TCI's Associate Director, and is responsible for the national branding and communications strategy. TCI also launched its new website,, to create a fresh national look.

This Fall, TCI was proud to become one of four recipients of the Berrie Innovation Grant, awarded by the Berrie Fellows Leadership Program, a partnership between the Russell Berrie Foundation and UJA of Northern New Jersey. The grant "aims to assist organizations to make a significant transformational impact on the Jewish community through out of the box thinking." TCI was awarded the grant to extend its TConnect Student Empowerment Grants program to Northern New Jersey schools.  

TCI's annual national retreat, Jewbilee which brings together Jews, friends and allies for an engaging weekend exploration of Jewish identity, will be held on January 15-17th, 2010 in Boston. The theme for this year's program is Facing Global Challenges in Pursuit of a Better World.

Bronfman Youth Fellows in the News 
Bronfman Youth Fellows

BYFI alumna and novelist Dara Horn was recently selected as one of The Forward 50. In addition, two Summer 2009 BYFI participants were featured in The Jewish Week 's Teen Supplement: Michelle Bayefsky writes about Sex Education in Jewish Day Schools and Josh Rubin writes about Pluralism in Israel.


This month, BYFI alumnus Zohar Atkins '05 was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Zohar also won the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics in 2009 for his essay which refers to an artwork he first discovered during his BYFI summer. Zohar is the eighth BYFI alumnus to be awarded a Rhodes scholarship.


The second edition of theBronfmanim Alumni Magazine with articles written exclusively by BYFI alumni and staff, is available for download.  In addition, The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel is now accepting applications for the 2010 Summer Fellowship for eligible high school juniors. You can also now follow BYFI on Twitter .
MyJewishLearning Raises $10,000 
Through Small Donations
My Jewish LearingIn 2009, was awarded a $50,000 challenge grant fromthe Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds. After raising $40,000 from private donors and foundations, MyJewishLearning decided to try to raise the final $10,000 by running an appeal for small donations. MyJewishLearning asked its readers to give as little as $2 to help it conclude the challenge grant. In just a couple of weeks, MJL received over 800 donations from its readers, the vast majority of them coming from contributions of $10 or less and successfully reached its $10,000 goal, demonstrating that truly, every little bit counts.
Edgar M. Bronfman visits Hillels of Montreal and McGill University
McGill UniversityOn October 8, 2009, Edgar M. Bronfman visited Montreal, Canada where he met with students of Hillels of Montreal and also spoke on stage with Professor Antonia Maioni at McGill University about his book, Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissanceand the issues facing the Jewish community.  In his interview with Professor Maioni, Edgar urged greater acceptance of Jews from diverse backgrounds into the Jewish community and stated that in order for the community to remain relevant, it must provide positive outlets for young people. Edgar explained, "Being Jewish is a choice today, not a condition. I want to convince young people to be Jewish for positive reasons, not negative ones."
Slingshot 2009-2010 Awardees 

Sling ShotThe Samuel Bronfman Foundation wants to congratulate its grantees that made it into 2009-2010 Slingshot, A Resource Guide to Jewish Innovation, an annual compilation of 50 inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community. Included in this year's guide were The Curriculum Initiative,, American Jewish World Service, Birthright Israel Foundation, Hadar,, Keshet, Kivvunim and Limmud NY.

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