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 multifaceted 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 re-create 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 open to the new as it delves into the old, that welcomes many voices, and that reaches out to make the world a better place.
Edgar M. Bronfman is a leading philanthropist and chairman of the Board of Governors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. He is the former CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd. and the former president of the World Jewish Congress. He has been recognized for his leadership by organizations, universities, and governments around the world. In 1999, President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.
Beth Zasloff is an alumna of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, and her collaboration with Edgar M. Bronfman has been a dynamic intergenerational partnership. She has taught writing at New York University, Johns Hopkins University, and in New York City public schools. She has a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.A. in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University.