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The Making of a Jew Hardcover – October 15, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399142207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399142208
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,653,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

President of the World Jewish Congress since 1981, Bronfman, born in Montreal in 1929, rebelled against his Zionist father in his youth and early manhood by rejecting Judaism altogether. But Bronfman, who lives in New York City as an American citizen, did a complete turnaround by becoming president of Seagram Company Ltd., the distillery his father founded, and by actively embracing the Jewish faith. The high point of this straightforward autobiographical memoir details the WJC's detective-like exposure of ex-Austrian president Kurt Waldheim's Nazi past; the congress charged that as a German army officer, the former U.N. leader helped deport Greek Jews to Auschwitz and executed hundreds of civilians and hostages in the Balkans. Bronfman chronicles the WJC's ongoing campaign for the restitution of Jewish property stolen by the Nazis and their successors, the communists in Eastern Europe. A modest yet courageous crusader against anti-Semitism, he records his trip to Argentina, whose Jewish community has been shaken by terrorist bombings. Incisive close-ups of Lech Walesa, Golda Meir, Jesse Jackson, Pope John Paul II, Khrushchev, Yitzhak Rabin and other luminaries enliven the narrative. Bronfman discloses that his seven children married outside the faith, but most of his grandchildren are being brought up Jewish. He sets forth proposals to counteract the erosion of Judaism both in the diaspora and in Israel. Jewish Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Despite its somewhat pedestrian style, this is a most interesting memoir by the scion and heir of the famous Bronfman family, owner of one of the world's largest distilleries. At present, Bronfman is chair of their mainstay, the Seagram Company, Ltd. Bronfman traces his life story, describing a rebellious, assimilationist youth running away from his ancestral Judaism to his subsequent spiritual and cultural regeneration as a religiously and politically involved Jew. The person mainly responsible for this regeneration was the late Nahum Goldmann, cofounder of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), an umbrella for Jewish organizations devoted to Zionism, charities, and the fight against anti-Semitism, who greatly influenced the course of Bronfman's life. Bronfman himself has been president of the WJC since 1981 and has been influential in furthering the causes of world Jewry and the state of Israel. His accounts of his relationships with Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, Kurt Waldheim, Lech Walesa, and others are fascinating. Of interest to general readers.?Robert A. Silver, formerly with Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Born in Montreal in 1929 and raised in a proudly Jewish home, Edgar M. Bronfman dedicated his life to Jewish causes. His love for the Jewish people informed his work at The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, named for his father, and dedicated to inspiring a vibrant and joyful Jewish future. Bronfman's experience as the CEO of Seagram Company Ltd. for more than thirty years, informed his work as the Founding Chairman of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

For many years, Bronfman served as the as President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), where he advocated for the release of the Prisoners of Zion from the USSR and convinced Pope John Paul II that the establishment of a Carmelite convent near Auschwitz would be an affront to Jews worldwide. In 1998, Mr. Bronfman succeeded in winning restitution for Holocaust victims whose assets had been held in Swiss banks. He had also served as President of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which is devoted to the return of property and wealth owned by Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

For his philanthropic efforts, Bronfman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor by President Bill Clinton in 1999. He held honorary doctoral degrees from various institutions of higher learning, including Tel Aviv University, McGill University and Williams College.

Mr. Bronfman passed away in New York City in December 2013.

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