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World Jewish Congress president and Hillel chair Edgar Bronfman Sr., Hillel president and international director Richard Joel to participate in site dedication for SU’s future Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life
World Jewish Congress president and Hillel chair Edgar Bronfman Sr., Hillel president and international director Richard Joel to participate in site dedication for SU’s future Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish LifeApril 01, 2001Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
Edgar Bronfman Sr., former chairman of The Seagram Co. Ltd., president of the World Jewish Congress and chairman of the board of governors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, will visit the Syracuse University campus April 4 for the dedication of the site on which the future Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life will be built.
The dedication will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of Walnut Place and Harrison Street, on the northern edge of campus. Bronfman will be accompanied by Richard Joel, president and international director of Hillel. Also participating in the dedication ceremony will be SU Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw; Benjamin L. Riemer, a junior in The College of Arts and Sciences, president of the SU Student Association and an active member of Hillel; the Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, dean of Hendricks Chapel; and SU alumnus and trustee David Flaum ’75, co-chair of the Winnick Hillel Center campaign.
In addition to participating in the dedication, Bronfman and Joel will speak to students about Jewish life in America during a seminar at 2:30 p.m. in the Bond, Schoeneck and King Courtroom, Room 300 in Winifred MacNaughton Hall.
A native of Montreal, Bronfman joined Distillers Corp.-Seagrams Limited in 1951. He became president of the company (renamed The Seagram Co. Ltd.) in 1971 and chairman in 1975. He relinquished the position of CEO in 1994 to his son, Edgar Bronfman Jr. The company operates in four global business segments: music, filmed entertainment (including Universal Studios), recreation, and spirits and wine.
Bronfman is president of the World Jewish Congress, an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations. He is also president of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which is devoted to ensuring the return of communal Jewish property confiscated by the Nazi regime in Eastern and Western Europe.
He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed by President Clinton in 1999; the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur from the French government; and the Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award of the 85th National Convention of the Zionist Organization of America.
Bronfman holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester (1999), New York University (1997), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1997), Tulane University (1995), Williams College (1986) and Pace University (1982).
Joel, who joined Hillel in 1988, is credited with engineering major changes that breathed new life into the organization. The Forward newspaper has written of Joel: “When people speak of resuscitating organizations that seem to have lost their relevance or passed their prime, they often invoke the metaphor of ‘doing what Richard Joel did for Hillel.'”
Under Joel’s direction, Hillel has implemented new initiatives such as the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps (JCSC). The program sends as many as 100 recent Jewish college graduates back to campus as professionals to engage Jewish students who might not otherwise participate in a Hillel program. JCSC fellows have been working with SU students for more than five years. The fellowship at SU is funded by the Winnick Family Foundation.
Joel is a former New York assistant district attorney, director of alumni affairs at Yeshiva University and associate dean at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.
Sivan Kaminsky, executive director of Syracuse University Hillel, says Bronfman and Joel visit four to six college campuses each year. Their visits not only energize the students, but provide Bronfman and Joel with a real connection to what is important to Jewish students. “Mr. Bronfman and Mr. Joel consider it a pleasure and a privilege to talk with students, and learn with them and from them,” Kaminsky says.
The Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life at Syracuse University is becoming a reality due to the generosity of many SU alumni and friends. Karen Winnick ’68, an author and illustrator of several children’s books, and her husband, Gary, a venture capitalist who chairs Global Crossing, gave the naming gift of $2 million for the building project. The Winnicks are the honorary co-chairs of the fund-raising campaign, currently under way, through which an additional $4 million will be raised to complete the building project and establish an endowment to provide building maintenance and program support funding. The campaign co-chairs are Flaum and SU alumnus and trustee Marvin Lender ’63.
Groundbreaking for the new center is expected to take place over the summer, and the center is expected to open during the Spring 2002 semester. The project architect is Fred Babcock of the Babcock Design Group in Park City, Utah. Babcock has participated in a dozen Hillel projects around the country. Student input shaped the design of the new facility.
Syracuse University Hillel, which has been on campus for more than 50 years, serves a majority of the some 3,000 Jewish students on campus, Kaminsky says. Hillel celebrates its relationship with Hendricks Chapel, where the organization is currently located, but strives for a larger space to accommodate existing and new program initiatives.
“The center will become a prime destination for students and will provide students with vibrant and meaningful Jewish experiences,” Kaminsky says. The center will allow Hillel to reach out to students where they are and deliver targeted programming that will engage them in Jewish life.
In addition to providing a symbol and sense of pride for the University’s Jewish community, the center will be a resource for the entire campus community, Kaminsky says.