Jewish Journal

This week in power: Bronfman legacy and Christmas fracas

by Danny Groner

December 25, 2013 | 7:14 pm

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Bronfman death
He as chairman of the Seagram company, but Edgar Bronfman's life may be bets remembered for his Jewish communal work. "Edgar's bold leadership and visionary philanthropy changed the Jewish world," wrote one rabbi in his tribute to Bronfman, who passed away late last week at the age of 84. "In the end, Edgar’s view of the Jewish tradition could serve as a metaphor for his own legacy — he was not without flaws, but he was grand, provocative, tirelessly generous and devoted. Most important, he was ours," added JTA.

Other reflected on Bronfman's personality. "His laughter and disarming, ribald humor; his joyful generosity; his steely realism and unparalleled support of youthful innovation in Jewish life; his constitutional inability to do anything other than tell the truth as he saw it; his love of learning--Torah, Talmud, philosophy, music, and art with his beloved Jan--which kept his mind open to the endless well of Jewish civilization's greatest ideas; his pride in family, his children, and grandchildren:  all these and more still don't adequately approximate the measure of the man," said Andy Bachman on his blog.

Christmas message?
Some have enjoyed the Christmas music that's relevant to Jews, while others have compiled the best Jewish moments in noel cinema. "I love the songs—many of which, anyway, were composed by Jews. I enjoy glad tidings as much as the next person, whatever their theological origin," wrote Marc Tracy at The New Republic. But not everyone is so jubilant over crossing religious divides and embracing the Christian holiday season. “'Merry Christmas' is a dark and hateful greeting, combining the celebration of a king of Israel that defiles the laws of Torah with the Eucharist substitute for the Jewish Temple sacrifices, to connote a final message of the much anticipated death of Judaism," countered Yori Yanover in The Jewish Press. This isn't a new battle, though, reminded Ryan Torok at the Jewish Journal: "Whether we are aware of it or not, as Jews living in a predominately Christian country, this tribalism-versus-universalism dilemma is something we all cope with, at all times of the year."

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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