Three years have passed since the pedestrian accident that claimed the life of Avi Schaefer, a former member of the class of 2013, but family, friends and faculty members still remember him vividly as a transformative member of the Brown community.
The newly installed Interfaith Peace Garden is tucked away in a lovely corner of Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a Jesuit institution that lies mere blocks away from Los Angeles International Airport.
The garden is filled with rough-hewn stone pillars and benches, each carved with quotes that, when taken collectively, reference the need for cultural dialogue and peace in the world. One of the more prominent stones is etched with the phrase, “An enemy is someone whose story you have not yet heard.”
An Interfaith Peace Garden created in the memory of Avi Schaefer, son of Loyola Marymount University Professor Arthur Gross-Schaefer and his wife, Laurie, will be dedicated on Thursday, April 25, at 12:15 p.m.
Delivered by: Rabbi/Professor Arthur Gross-Schaefer, April 25, 2013
It says in the Book of Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”
This garden is a spiritual space. It evokes the presence of all whose words adorn its pillars and benches. And this garden is a blessing to their memories, as we, in turn, are blessed by their words and their deeds.
Every year, on the first night of Passover, millions of Jews worldwide gather together to celebrate our ancestors’ liberation from Pharaoh’s brutal regime. While telling that powerful story, we also remember the Ten Plagues that wreaked havoc on innocent Egyptians. The tradition of removing 10 drops of wine from each of our Kiddush cups is a profound expression of empathy that is deeply embedded in Jewish values that make me proud to call myself a Jew.
We all came out of Egypt. We just happened to end up in different places. But the future of Israel depends on engaging the attention and commitment of Jews around the world, and not pushing away a younger and more critical generation.
If a college student told you that as a child she studied violin with a strict Russian Jewish teacher, would you think that she’s Jewish … or Muslim?
In typical fashion, the Jewish Hillel group Grand Valley State University broke bread together Friday night as they celebrated Shabbat, or the Jewish day of rest. But this bread passed through different hands and had a deeper significance than usual.
Many know the general biography of Avi Schaefer. They know that he was thoroughly involved in Jewish youth groups and community work. They know that he joined the mahalim (volunteers from the Diaspora) with his twin after high school to volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces. They know that the global Jewish community mourned and continue to mourn his passing, so aware of the great community leader and friend they had just lost. But few know the details of Avi’s character that make his legacy so revered and so respected.
The esteemed, prize-winning Israeli writer and thinker, A.B. Yehoshua was the keynote speaker at the third annual Avi Schaefer Fund’s Jerusalem Symposium: The Meaning and Purpose of Israel as a Jewish State. The program took place on February 17, at Yad Ben-Zvi in Jerusalem.