(photo credit: Dina Guna / Lotan)
Andrea Bronfman "lived every moment and didn't miss any," said Director of the Charles R. Bronfman (CRB) Foundation Janet Aviad of her close friend on Tuesday, whose passing on Monday afternoon shook the Jewish world.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Aviad glowingly recounted Bronfman's passion for life. "Andrea had more energy than everybody else put together," she said. "She didn't write a check and sit back - she was very interested in details."
Describing Andrea as "extremely dynamic," Aviad stressed Andrea Bronfman's fondness for the arts, and her desire to cultivate Israeli arts and crafts and expose the nation's artists to the rest of the world.
Aviad met Andrea in Canada in 1996, and described her as a close friend since their first meeting. Traveling to Israel every summer with her husband, philanthropist Charles Bronfman, Andrea lived a hectic life in Jerusalem where she worked alongside Aviad.
Describing a day in the life of Bronfman, Aviad gave the impression that Andrea never stopped moving. Waking up at 6 a.m. to walk her dog in the Jerusalem Forest, Aviad said that by 9:30 a.m. Andrea was making sure that everybody at the CRB Foundation was working well, only to travel a bit later to a Tel Aviv gallery while passing through the Keren Karev Foundation. She trekked back to Jerusalem only hours after that, Aviad recounted.
The last connection between the two friends was on Sunday, when Aviad wrote her an email about the winner of the Andy Prize, an award given by the CRB Foundation to an outstanding Israeli crafts artist. The idea of the Andy prize was Charles's gift to Andrea, since crafts were "her favorite," said Aviad.
Keren Hayesod UIA World Chairman Avi Pazner described Andrea's passing as a "terrible loss for her family, the Jewish people, and Israel."
"She was a very intelligent, forceful person," said Pazner. "She always knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it with much grace and elegance," he added.
Pazner emphasized Andrea's kindness, and highlighted her devotion to assisting Israel. He said that she "was very supportive of the birthright program," an initiative of the Keren Hayesod foundation of which Charles Bronfman was a significant donor.
Jewish Agency chairman Ze'ev Bielski, who knew Bronfman through her many Israel-centered charitable efforts, called her passing "a tremendous loss for the Jewish people," adding that she was "a proud Jew who cared about her brothers and her sisters."
"She was really the salt of the earth, and down to earth," said Hirsh Goodman, who directs the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Program on Information Strategy at Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center.
He was also the founding editor of The Jerusalem Report
, of which Charles Bronfman was one of the founding owners. "She just cared about people in a very deep way," Goodman said.
Andrea Bronfman succumbed to injuries she sustained when a car skidded off the road and struck her while she was enjoying a morning walk near her home in New York City. She was 60.