A few years ago, I heard Edgar Bronfman, who had been president of his family business, the Seagram’s distillery business, and the head of the World Jewish Congress, speak as part of a multi-day program at which there were many speakers with impressive resumes.
I found Edgar Bronfman’s presentation especially uninteresting and unimpressive.
I found his book, The Making of a Jew, the same. Now, it is true that when you are an heir to the Seagram’s fortune, you (because in large part of expectation of financial generosity) have doors open for you. And when you have a father who had been very active with the WJC, it is not surprising when you are asked to take his place. And, once you do, you have more doors opening for you, meet the political leaders of the world, think you can speak for all the world’s Jews and tell political leaders what they should be doing and what the consequences of doing otherwise would be. And, you get involved in interesting situations – Holocaust reparation discussions, freeing Soviet Jewry, Israeli-diaspora relations, and so forth. You visit the leaders of the USSR and Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Brazil, Israel and various Arab countries. And you can make it look like you were an instrumental factor in what was accomplished.
But based on his egocentric nature, and what I perceive to be an overall intellectual weakness and parochialism, i would be surprised if this is in fact the case.
Now, I don’t know Bronfman of course, and do I think it is right for me to be so harsh in my opinion? That’s a good question, but you should see what he says of the people that he discusses in the book. Whew!
And what about his personal life? Bronfman has had five wives, apparently. Only three can mentioned, one because she was a Loeb, one because she was the mother of some of his children (but her mention is parenthetical), and one because she was his wife when he wrote the book.