By Marna Schoen
Attending Harvard Business School was an extraordinary, transformative experience. The diversity of his class with its large international student body created a rich learning and social environment. The atmosphere and approach to learning, using the case method, set the stage for his life. Ed was graduated in 1959, and remains close to the University and the Business School, in particular.
As he was growing up in New York, Judaism was an important and largely secular experience for Ed. He belonged to a local synagogue where he had his bar mitzvah. “I always identified with Judaism, Jewish causes and tikkun olam.”
After Harvard, Ed enlisted in the Air Force Reserves. He entered as an airman basic, was commissioned as a first lieutenant and was later promoted to captain. He continued with reserve duty for a number of years.
Ed met his beloved wife, Arlene Petroff, in East Hampton in 1969. At that time, Ed was still in advertising and Arlene was Director of Home Fashion for JCPenney.
Ed and Arlene Grossman shared a love of the arts and bought a house in Sheffield, Mass., where they took full advantage of the cultural activities in the Berkshires, including Tanglewood Music Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. They commuted frequently from their Upper West Side apartment to their home in Sheffield.
When Arlene was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, the Grossmans decided to actively engage in estate planning, focusing their support on medical research, performing arts, social welfare, the environment and Judaism.
They selected the organizations to which they’d leave the bulk of their estates. The list includes the Weizmann Institute of Science, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Rockefeller University, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Harvard MD/MBA program, UConn Health Care, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, New York Community Trust, Juilliard and B’nai B’rith International.
“I always liked what B’nai B’rith did, and what they stood for. I’m big on tikkun olam, and it seemed that B’nai B’rith was a Jewish organization devoted to a lot of social welfare causes. B’nai B’rith struck a resonant note with us. I’ve been a supporter for almost 40 years.”
Ed and Arlene were together for 43 wonderful years at the time of her passing. Arlene’s legacy lives on in the organizations she and Ed so thoughtfully and purposefully committed to for generations to come.
For more information on how to leave a legacy with B’nai B’rith through your will or trust, please contact the Planned Giving office at (800) 656-5561; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.