A Call for Jewish Renaissance

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Hope, Not Fear (cover detail)
Jewish leader and philanthropist Edgar Bronfman has a message for the Jewish community of North America.

After centuries of building identity on fear of anti-Semitism and persecution, he says, it’s time for a new way. Time for a Jewish life built — in his words — on "hope, not fear."

Bronfman is heir to the Seagram liquor fortune and was longtime president of the World Jewish Congress. He knows many Jews are worried about interfaith marriage and declining identification with the faith.

Open the doors, he says. Don’t close them.

This hour, On Point: A call for hope, not fear, and a Jewish renaissance.

You can join the conversation. At just two percent of the U.S. population, can the Jewish community afford to open its doors and welcome all comers? Can it afford not to? Share your thoughts.Guests:

Joining us from New York is Edgar Bronfman, prominent Jewish philanthropist and leader, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Born and raised in his native Canada, he was CEO of Seagram Company for 23 years, and president of the World Jewish Congress until last year. His new book, written with Beth Zasloff, is "Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance." You can read an excerpt from the book at

Joining us from Newton, Massachusetts, is Sylvia Fishman, professor of Contemporary Jewry and American Jewish Sociology at Brandeis University and author of "Double or Nothing? Jewish Families and Mixed Marriage" (2004) and "The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness" (2008).

This program aired on September 26, 2008.


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