Avi Schaefer Fund named Brown RISD Hillel and HUC-JIR, LA as partner institutions to carry on programs in Avi’s memory. See description of these two programs below with links to their websites so you can donate and continue your support of our mission.
Brown RISD Hillel
Honoring Avi’s Legacy: A New Collaboration for Dialogue, Understanding and Justice
Brown RISD Hillel is honored and excited to announce a new ten-year partnership with the Avi Schaefer Fund. This special collaboration will build upon the shared values of both organizations and give shape to annual student programming focused on dialogue, interfaith understanding, and the pursuit of justice.
This partnership is in loving memory of Avi Schaefer z”l. In his all too short time at Brown, Avi was an influential bridge-builder, committed to bringing students together to learn and listen across difference. As Avi wrote, “I came to Brown looking for an environment that embodies the qualities of expression,open-mindedness and understanding. I arrived optimistically searching to meet others devoted to a common goal: forging lasting peace.”
Avi’s commitments to dialogue and reaching across divides inspired a decade’s worth of special academic and cultural programming at Brown University and Brown RISD Hillel. A legacy that now continues.
“We’re eager to see this collaboration nurture future generations of Brown and RISD students who, like Avi, are kept up at night by the most pressing issues of our day,” says Rabbi Michelle Dardashti, Associate Chaplain of the University for the Jewish Community, and Rabbi at Brown RISD Hillel.
The vision and generosity of the Gross-Schaefer family will enable students to engage deeply with precisely such issues–racial and economic justice, immigration, climate change, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and more–alongside people both like and unlike themselves, giving shape to broadened bases and more diverse and effective coalitions.
Avi’s legacy, in the words of Brown University Chaplain Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, instructs us in “how to live more lovingly, more righteously.” We are honored to be firmly establishing that legacy at BRH through this partnership.
Students, alumni, and community members interested in participating in work within these realms are encouraged to let us know.
Brown RISD Hillel is grateful to have been a home for Avi and is honored in its long partnership with the Avi Schaefer Fund and the Schaefer-Gross family.
Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles
With our family’s deep connection to HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, and our experience working with Resetting the Table, we have decided to seed the funding to give rabbinic students the effective training that we saw enrich the experience of participants over the years in many of our programs.
HUC-JIR presents Resetting the Table’s: Building a Culture of Dialogue Retreat in loving memory of Avi Schaefer z”l
In this multi-part training with Resetting the Table, participants will be trained in RTT’s celebrated methodology for transformative communication across political divides on Israel and other charged issues in Jewish life. Students will learn skills and tools for facilitating and convening difficult conversations, exchange views and experiences, and learn best practices for building dialogue and deliberation across divides in Jewish institutions. The training will be practice-based and experiential; students will walk through road-tested exercises that they can utilize in their own leadership and communities.
Our program at HUC seeks to manifest this strength through our students.
“We are proud to support the important work of HUC-JIR through this gift, which we hope will provide rabbis with the necessary tools and training to be successful communal leaders. HUC-JIR was a natural choice for such a program, as it has been an important institution and community for our family. Following our son Avi’s tragic death in 2010, the HUC-JIR community embraced our family and has supported our work in his memory over the years. We are therefore grateful to be able to establish a program in Avi’s honor and support the next generation of Reform rabbis.” – Rabbi Arthur and Laurie Gross Schaefer
To donate, please visit the HUC-JIR website.