About Avi Schaefer
Avi Schaefer, z''l, was born June 11, 1988 to Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer and artist Laurie Gross. Avi was raised in a loving Jewish home in Santa Barbara, California, with his brothers Noah, Yoav, and Elisha. At age 18, Avi and his identical twin Yoav volunteered to serve as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. Avi served in the army for three years, first as a soldier in a special forces unit and later going on to train some of Israel's most elite units as a counter-terrorism instructor. Upon completion of his army service, Avi returned to the United States to begin his studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
In his few months at Brown Avi quickly distinguished himself as an accomplished student and a trusted voice for Israel and for peace. Avi gracefully balanced his two passions, championing the Jewish state while simultaneously establishing deep lines of communication with students who held differing perspectives. His life and work were tragically cut short on February 12, 2010, when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver while walking near campus. In just 21 years, Avi became a living testament to the idea that one committed individual can truly make a difference. His example leaves an indelible mark on this world in the lives of the people who knew him, and the thousands more inspired by his legacy of activism and compassion. It is now the task of his family and friends to carry on the work he began.
Remembering Avi »
Latest News From The Fund
Dear Friends of Avi z"l and the Avi Schaefer Fund,
The newspapers and radio waves are full of descriptions of the destruction wrought by the typhoon in the Philippines last week. As I listen to the stories and read about the losses, I find that I am missing Avi and bringing to mind his efforts in response to similar devastation in Haiti nearly four years ago.
I can still picture Avi in our living room as he talked about his plan to raise funds for relief efforts in Haiti, and I remember well the intensity of his purpose. He was meant to be relaxing on his winter break from school, but before his return to campus he had set himself the goal of not only making a difference in Haiti, but of doing so by increasing awareness of the important work of the Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID.
The Fund is dedicated to developing opportunities to foster Avi's values of empathy, mutual respect and active listening. The Fund is also committed to empowering students (undergraduate and graduate) to see themselves as change agents on their campuses and in their communities, and instilling them with tools to engage in open and civil discourse. Therefore, we are pleased to share the launch of Avi Shabbat 2014 and our new program, ASF Innovation Grants.
ASF is now accepting applications.
Thank you to all those who came to our second annual Celebrate Our Growth Open House! We continue to thrive off of your love, support and generosity.
Special thanks to Fresco Cafe, Jack's Bagles, Trader Joe's, Gelsons & Von's for the delicious food. As well, thank you to those who brought and shared decadent baked goods.
Lastly, thank you to all of our volunteers who helped before, during and after the event. We so appreciate your dedication.