Leaders from the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Limmud FSU gathered at the Harvard Club of New York City last night to honor the late Edgar M. Bronfman and pillars of the Soviet Jewry movement.
A letter was presented at the event from former President George H. W. Bush, who said he and then-President Ronald Reagan had considered the matter of Soviet Jewry “to be the highest priority” in the 1980s and that the cause “had sympathy at the highest levels of our government.”
“We are proud to honor the heroes of the Soviet Jewry movement for their strength, bravery, and unyielding commitment to fighting for Jewish rights in Russia, said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “On a personal level, I pay tribute to Edgar Bronfman, my predecessor as president of the World Jewish Congress, for his life’s work as an advocate for the Jewish people.”
Edgar M. Bronfman is celebrated for, among other accomplishments, initiating diplomacy with the Soviet Union, leading to the legitimization of the Hebrew language in Russia and the freedom for Soviet Jews to practice their religion and immigrate to Israel.
“As I travel, people come up to me wherever I go and start talking about my father and the great impact he had on the Jewish people,” Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chair Matthew Bronfman, Edgar’s son. “My father was dedicated to the Jewish people – and he was a great leader and an inspiration. He fought like crazy for Jewish justice. He was a giant in many ways – and in many ways he was just my dad.”