Jewish Journal

Other VoicesIn Memory of Edwin N. Brennglass:

Posted on Nov. 6, 1997 at 7:00 pm

From President Bill Clinton

Hillary and I were saddened to learn of your husband's death, andwe extend our deepest sympathy. We hope that the love and support ofyour family and friends will sustain and comfort you during thisdifficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

From Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan

Los Angeles will miss Ed. His integrity and creativity are a modelfor all of us.

From Ben Zion Leuchter of Key Biscayne, Fla.

Ed Brennglass richly deserved tributes to him as a Jewishnewspaper publisher and a compassionate human being.

It's fascinating that this hard-bitten businessman would haveinstinctively understood and put into practice principles ofjournalistic freedom. Having assumed the role of "first among equals"(the 10 pillars of the Los Angeles Jewish community who made itpossible for the Journal to pay off its creditors and take on a newlife), Brennglass installed business discipline while the newspaperslowly crept out of the loss side of the ledger.

He had a vision that the Journal could publish in the black, so tospeak, while at the same time helping the Jewish Federation. One ofthe ways he did this was to give editorial freedom to the Journal'seditor-in-chief. How do I know this? Because we were colleagues in anumber of international Jewish enterprises, including HIAS, and wetraveled abroad together. He knew that I was a retired dailynewspaper editor; I subscribed to the Jewish Journal and found itinteresting reading even 3,000 miles away. He would discussstrategies for increasing the newspaper's income, and he understoodthat criticism of the Journal and/or the Los Angeles JewishFederation wasn't necessarily bad either for the newspaper or thefederation. It was a sign that the newspaper was being read, that itwasn't a federation house organ. The best gift an Anglo-Jewishnewspaper can make to its community federation is for Jews to lookforward to reading it.

Ed Brennglass wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He wasproud of his success in business, and he put his creative mind to useon behalf of the Jewish world. He was a good listener and a straighttalker. But behind his growl, I always knew he was a marshmallow.

My wife Magda and I will miss him.

From Judge Joseph A. Wapner

Brandeis Bardin Institute

Even as we mourn the loss of Ed Brennglass, we at Brandeis BardinInstitute consider it an honor to do homage to one of the true gentlegiants of our own BBI family and of our larger community.

In his founding and rescue of the Jewish Journal, he provided aplatform where all aspects of Jewish life in our community could beboth critically examined and applauded.

It was as if Ed Brennglass's vision in life and for the Jewishpeople coincided with our own at Brandeis Bradin:

To place education at the centerpiece of Jewish life.

To honor our people's continuity....

To put arts and culture into the mix with study to help young Jewsfind their voices as Jews.

He studied with us on many occasions....

It was here that he and Marjorie chose to be married.

And it was here where he showed us his innate modesty: while weasked him many times to let us honor him, he always refused.

We will miss him, his presence, his quiet strength, his beguilingsmile and the twinkle in his eye. But we will always honor his memoryas a partner in building our institution.

From Avraham Burg, chairman of the Executive, World ZionistOrganization

I can't think of any letter that is more difficult to write, forwhat words can be offered, what letter can be written that could inany way express my sorrow and condolences over the loss of Ed

Our condolences are sent from the Executives and the staff of theWorld Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency -- we all share inyour grief.

Ed was a true example of commitment to the Jewish people as awhole and we shall truly miss his presence. His work at the LosAngeles Federation, the Board of Governors and the numeroussub-committees are just a small example of his diligence towardsachieving his goal.

Please know that our thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow.

May his memory be a blessing, and may the Almighty comfort youamong the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

From Richard A. Siegel, executive director,

National Foundation for Jewish Culture

I was deeply saddened to hear that Ed had passed away. He was sucha vibrant and passionate man, who cared so deeply for his family, hiscommunity, and the Jewish people....

Ed will be deeply missed. We at the NFJC join with his family andfriends, his community and all those whose lives he touched, inmourning his loss. May his memory be a blessing.

From Jonathan W. Kolker, president, and Michael Schneider,executive vice president,

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee,Inc.

The board of directors and the staff of The American Jewish JointDistribution Committee note with great sadness the death of ourdevoted fellow board member and friend, Edwin N. Brennglass.

Ed was a great American Jewish leader. A dynamic man, he was anarticulate advocate for Jews in need across the world. Who can everforget his travels to distant places of JDC even during time ofpersonal or physical distress.

Ed played a significant role in establishing policy and providedvaluable leadership at JDC during a very exciting time when JDCconducted heroic rescue efforts from Ethiopia, Sarajevo, Syria andYemen: provided relief to hundreds of thousands in need, and nurturedthe reconstruction of Jewish life in the former Communist countries,as well as in many other places around the world.

He had a passionate belief in social justice and JDC's role inpursuing that ideal. We shall miss this extraordinary man who caredso deeply about the Jewish people.

The entire JDC family extends our condolences to Ed's wife,Marjorie, to his daughter, Cookie, and to his son, Gary.

From Nira Lerner, museum manager, Gedera Museum and EliahuRediya, mayor, Gedera, Israel

On a beautiful spring day in May 1983, Edwin and DorothyBrennglass turned up on our doorstep looking for "Uncle Moses'"previous home. They had finally come because their Aunt HelenMienarzevitch had begged them for years to come and see what hadhappened to it.

At that time Gedera was preparing to celebrate its 100thbirthday. The municipality decided to turn the place into a museumdepicting Gedera's history.

Moses Mintz was a leading member of the "Bilu" movement,founded in Kharkov in Russia after the 1881-83 pogroms. Theirmovement took its place in Jewish history as the first ideologicalmovement to plan and execute the idea of renewing sovereignty over"Eretz Israel" (then Turkish-ruled Palestine). In 1883, because ofstrong ideological differences of opinion within the group, MosesMintz left and joined his family in the U.S. On retirement, hereturned to Gedera where he built the house which served partially ashis private home and partially as the Community Cultural Center, andthis was what Aunt Helen had referred to. When they came, the house,which had stood empty for about 10 years, was in a bad state ofdisrepair. I, at the time, was in the process of planning therenovation of the building and was responsible for preparing a masterplan for the future museum which was to be an education establishmentaimed at educating towards the Zionism practiced by the "Biluim"founders of Gedera.

All the time I kept wondering what miracle would occur to payfor it all when, out of the blue that sunny day, the miraculousappearance of Edwin and Dorothy occurred to save the day. Theircontribution both morally and financially helped fulfill Gedera'simportant main goal: the preservation of its precious history. Themuseum was dedicated to the memories of Moses Mintz and his sisterDora Brennglass, Edwin's mother.

Since then, the relationship between us prospered and became asincere friendship with Eddie's continuing support. The terrible newsof his departure from our lives has hit us sorely. He will be missedand remembered not only by his children Carole Spinner and GaryBrennglass, but also by the community here in Gedera as long as themuseum he helped establish stands in what became the first street inGedera.

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