Hope Not Fear, Edgar M. Bronfman and Beth Zasloff

A distinguished Jewish leader and philanthropist argues for openness and joy to reinvigorate Judaism in America.

After a lifetime of fighting the persecution of Jews, Edgar M. Bronfman has concluded that what North American Jews need now is hope, not fear. Bronfman urges North American Jewry “to build, not fight. We need to celebrate the joy in Judaism, even as we recognize our responsibility to alleviate suffering and to help heal a broken world. We need to understand Judaism as a multi-faceted culture as well as a religion, and explore Jewish literature, music, and art. We need to understand our tradition of debate and questioning, and invite all to enter a conversation about our central texts, rituals, and laws. We need to open our book anew, and recreate a vital Judaism for our time."

Through a reexamination of important texts and via interviews with some of the leading figures in Judaism today, Bronfman outlines a new agenda for the Jewish community in North America, one that will ensure that Judaism grows and thrives in an open society. He calls for welcome without conditions for intermarried families and disengaged Jews, for a celebration of Jewish diversity, and for openness to innovation and young leadership. Hope, Not Fear is an impassioned plea for all who care about the future of Judaism to cultivate a Jewish practice that is receptive to the new as it delves into the old, that welcomes many voices, and that reaches out to make the world a better place. (Purchase Hope Not Fear)


Good Spirits: The Making of A Businessman, Edgar M. Bronfman

“There was never any doubt in my mind as to what my life’s work would be. I started with Seagram the day I was born.”

It wasn’t the easiest thing imaginable to work for a famously irascible father and with a sometimes disputations extended family of siblings, cousins, in-laws, and later, sons, but not only did Edgar M. Bronfman survive, he triumphed, to help build one of the most distinguished companies in the world.

Good Spirits, is filled with anecdotes about the making of a businessman and the making of a business, as Bronfman learned Seagram from the ground up, and discovered, sometimes the hard way, just what worked and what didn’t. With wisdom and humor, he distills a lifetime of business lessons into a highly readable memoir, and furnishes us with stories both illuminating and cautionary about how to recognize opportunity, delegate wisely, analyze properly, keep cool in a crisis, and gain credibility (both inside and outside the company), and especially, how to achieve balance – in one’s business and in one’s life. Good Spirits is an inside look at innovative leadership for this generation – and the next. (Purchase Good Spirits: The Making of A Businessman)


The Third Act, Edgar M. Bronfman with Catherine Whitney

When many people retire, they discover to their dismay that they’re no longer in Who’s Who, but now in Who’s He? The psychological change is much greater than they’d expected, yet it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the Third Act can be the best party of anybody’s life.

“Old age has been transformed. Now when we talk about what it means to act our age, we’re not talking about sitting in our rocking chairs waiting for the sun-set. We’re talking about exploring new opportunities.”

With those words, Edgar M. Bronfman, former CEO of Seagram’s, sets out to explore the Third Act, challenging retirees not to squander what could be their most fulfilling years of all. The Third Act is a call to arms for a new generation of pioneers.

With humor, wisdom, practical advice, and inspiring stores from some of America’s most distinguished leaders and unretiring retirees, Bronfman reveals the most important lessons he’s discovered about planning what you will retire to: about the many different ways to learn, grow, and take on new challenges; about giving back through volunteerism, constructing a new career as fulfilling as the first – or simply following your heart.

“It’s not just the length of our lives that should concern us,” he says. “It’s the quality of those lives.” The Third Act is an invaluable guild to improving both. (Purchase The Third Act)


The Making of a Jew, Edgar M. Bronfman

The Making of a Jew is an illuminating memoir of the evolution of a Jewish consciousness, from one of the world’s most prominent Jewish leaders.

He grew up “a rebellious youth whose life gave secularity new meaning.” He became one of the world’s most noted Jewish statesmen, committed to both his people and his religion. In this candid, personal memoir, Edgar Bronfman traces the story of his political and spiritual evolution from his early days in the shadow of the formidable Sam Bronfman to his recruitment by the legendary Nahum Goldmann, and his emergence on the international stage as President of the World Jewish Congress.

In an anecdote-filled narrative, etched with telling portraits and impressions of such figures as Gorbachev, Thatcher, Meir, Kohl, Krushchev, Begin, Ceausescu, Rabin, Walsea, Bush, Peres, and Netanyahu, Bronfman takes us inside a life filled with even: his battles for the rights and freedom of Soviet Jews; his seminal role in unmasking Kurt Waldheim; his negotiations to restore Jewish property seized by the Nazis and the Communists; his efforts to rebuild after the murderous bombings in Argentina.

From the handshake in Washington that changed the Middle East, to the tears in Jerusalem over the grave of a fallen leader, he shares with us the history of a modern Judaism as it unfolds, and something else as well: a clarion call for a spiritual reawakening, for a renaissance in Jewish life that would embrace both of its great heritages, religious and secular. For while there has been so much accomplished, there is still so much to be done. “This is our legacy, and we must pass it on to those who will follow.” (Purchase The Making of a Jew)