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 »

Updates From The Fund

  • Avi Shabbat 2016 - apply today!

    Thank you to those campuses who have participated with us over the past five years. Join us and apply for Avi Shabbat 2016!

    Loyola Marymount University students gather for Avi Schaefer Interfaith Dinner Series

  • Applications are now open!

    Thank you to the campuses across North America who have participated with us in the past! Please join us again in 2015-2016. Apply for Avi Shabbat 2016 & submit a letter of inquiry for Winter Innovation Grants.

    We are also delighted to announce a new exciting partnership with Resetting the Table. The Avi Schaefer Fund/Resetting the Table Challenge Grants are available to select campuses that are applying for an Avi Shabbat Micro Grant or an Innovation Grant this coming academic year. In order to apply, the campus is expected to commit to contributing some funds for the implementation of the program. For more information contact us.

  • Did you miss our January newsletter?

    2014-2015 was a busy year for the Avi Schaefer Fund and we are excited to share this past year's successes with you in our latest newsletter edition.