Bronfmanim Listserv Statement of Values, Introduction of the Groundskeeper Committee, and Rules

Statement of Values, Introduction of the Groundskeeper Committee, and Rules

Last Updated: May 18, 2023


Introducing the Listserv Groundskeeper Committee (GC)

We are now entering our fourth decade of keeping the Bronfman Listserv, which comprises an ever-expanding, intergenerational membership of 700+ subscribers. Alumni are added to the listserv after they graduate high school, and there are alumni on the listserv from many walks of life, ages, life stages and more. The Listserv represents an extraordinary opportunity to learn with a pluralistic community.  As the number of alumni grows, we realize that a flourishing, varied, conversational landscape requires charging dedicated members of this community with fostering it. 

As such, the Bronfman staff and board have decided to create a Listserv Groundskeeper Committee “GC” —a rotating group of 3-5 alumni who promote conversation on the Listserv and, when called for, help mediate conflicts to ensure that engagement remains respectful and productive. Beginning in early 2021, a collaboration of board members, alumni, and staff led to the development of this committee and everything outlined below.

By and large, the GC’s role will be as gardeners tending the Listserv: seeding conversations, encouraging a variety of voices, and hosting live chats when threads will be better continued in real-time Zooms. The GC will also be the body that determines if a post has violated the Listserv’s Rules. 

In addition to these roles, the GC will also be charged with advising the staff if and when a thread should be ended or moderated (and/or migrated to a virtual face-to-face discussion), or if the full Listserv should be temporarily suspended—but our hope is that with values and guardrails more proactively articulated, these kinds of interventions will not be needed.

The inaugural members of the Listerv GC are:

  • Stephanie Berger ’17
  • Elisabeth Cohen ’01 (Chairperson)
  • Ellie Gettinger ’98
  • Amir Karger ’89
  • Amalya Sherman ’10
  • Staff Support: Elizabeth Ochs, Becky Voorwinde


Listserv Values and Best Practices

עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר, והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות. 

Appoint for yourself a teacher, and acquire for yourself a friend, and judge all people favorably.

The Bronfmanim Listserv is a virtual open space where members of our diverse, pluralistic community can share ideas, ask questions, read, and connect. 

We encourage you to look at the Listserv as an extension of your Fellowship experience; approach your outreach to its members with the same care, tact, and curiosity that you brought to your conversations on the Fellowship. Be prepared to have difficult conversations, offering your own opinions honestly, and considering the perspectives of others even if you strongly disagree. We invite you to enter each exchange with an open mind and a desire to widen your perspective and lens.

These are the values we hope to encourage, and which the GC and the Rules exist in service of promoting:

  • Variety of Conversation: Within appropriate guardrails of respect, all topics of general interest are encouraged. Though we are a Jewish community, not all topics need to cover something explicitly Jewish.
  • Openness: The best Listserv posts include opinions, perspectives, questions, ideas, and openness to not having a full understanding of a topic. To help others understand where you’re coming from, we encourage sharing some personal context and life experience. At the same time, be generous in how you read posts from others—do your best to assume good faith.
  • Inclusion and Experimentation: Everyone should feel comfortable posting to the Listserv. As such, we encourage everyone to remember that not every post must be perfectly articulated—posts should be received in the spirit of experimenting with ideas, in the same way you would treat a comment heard in a Fellowship text study. 

Remember, too, that you can always reply to someone privately if you are more comfortable doing so—or if you think they might be more comfortable receiving a private response. 

You can also request that the Groundskeeper Committee help set up a Zoom conversation about a topic where face-to-face conversation would promote more productive engagement and greater understanding. 


Listserv Rules 

Excessive Posting Limited Post Frequency: Community members are invited to post on any thread or topic of conversation (if happening across multiple threads) and are asked to limit posts to once in a twenty-four hour period. This rule is designed to ensure a variety of voices are heard in any given conversation.

Limited Self-Promotion: Community members are invited to promote projects, organizations and other efforts one time per calendar month. This will prevent the Listserv from being dominated by these forms of announcements that, while welcome, are less conducive to stimulating conversation.

Hurtful Posting No Personal Attacks or Ad-Hominem Arguments: Posts should focus on content and ideas, and should not attack the character or good faith of another member of this community. Any questioning of an ideological or religious belief, commitment, or observance should be performed without impugning the character of the person holding that belief, commitment, or observance.

No Discrimination or Harassment: Posts constituting discrimination or harassment of any kind based on categories protected by the law are not allowed. One’s membership in any of these groups does not constitute an ideological belief, commitment, or observance.

Privacy Violation Confidentiality: Members of this community should not share outside the Listserv content or posts shared by others without express permission from the author. This is a closed and private space for free exchange of ideas.

Acts of harassment, violence, threats of violence or material injury, doxxing or retaliation, and other malicious attacks on another member of this community will not be tolerated.  

Remember, too, that job listings should be sent to jobs@bronfman.org and housing offers/requests should be sent to housing@bronfman.org. These messages will be compiled and sent in a separate email.

Listserv members can contact the GC with questions, comments or to forward a message you want to “flag” by emailing listservGC@bronfman.org.


The Role of the Groundskeeper Committee

We recognize that the rules above are subject to interpretation and disagreement, and therefore will review cases as a GC. 

If a GC member or staff member observes posts on the Listserv that may violate one or more of these rules, they will post to the WhatsApp group citing the nature of the violation and a recommendation for next steps. Posts may also be “flagged” to the GC by any member of the Listserv by forwarding it to listservGC@bronfman.org

If a majority of the GC determines that a poster has violated a rule, an intervention will be initiated. The type of intervention will depend on the severity of the violation, past violations of the poster on the Listserv, and other contributing factors. 

Interventions can include any of the following: 

  • A warning/explanation from a GC member
  • A request to engage in off-line dialogue with another community member
  • Being muted from the relevant thread. 
  • Suspension from the listserv for a set amount of time, or permanently. (This would be reserved for serious violations. The decision would be made by the Bronfman staff after the GC determines other interventions are insufficient.)

The GC may also determine that the thread from which a certain post comes should be ended or migrated to Zoom, that moderation should be introduced, or that the full Listserv should be paused. These decisions may be made in concert with Bronfman Staff. 

We do not expect any of these processes to happen often. Our hope is that a defined process visible to all will function like clear traffic signs and speed limits: all members of the Listserv can feel confident posting and participating knowing that there are rules that will be enforced. 


This is provided as a service of the The Bronfman Fellowship (Bronfman). Bronfman accepts no responsibility for the opinions and information posted by others. Bronfman disclaims all warranties with regard to information posted, whether by Bronfman or any third party; this disclaimer includes all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Bronfman be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, arising out of, or in connection with, the use or performance of any information posted. Bronfman administrators nor the administrators of the host site can verify the content of postings for accuracy or be held accountable for message content.

Parties submitting messages bear sole responsibility and liability for the content of their postings. This includes any information or other material protected by copyright without the permission of the copyright owner. By posting such material, the posting party warrants and represents that it owns the copyright with respect to such material or has received permission from the copyright owner. In addition, the posting party grants Bronfman and users of these services the non-exclusive right and license to display, copy, publish, distribute, transmit, print and use such information or other material.

Bronfman does not actively monitor these services for inappropriate postings, and does not on its own undertake editorial control of postings. However, in the event that any inappropriate posting is brought to Bronfman’s attention, Bronfman will take appropriate action as described below. Bronfman reserves the right to terminate the access of any user who does not abide by these guidelines and rules.

Limitation of Liability and Indemnity

All subscribers must accept responsibility for their own acts, and to accept that an act by another subscriber that damages them must not be blamed on us, but on the other subscriber. Therefore, as a condition of participation, participants must agree as follows:

You agree that Bronfman will not be responsible to you for any indirect, consequential, special or punitive damages or losses you may incur in connection with our listserv or boards or any of the data or other materials transmitted through or residing on our listserv or boards, even if Bronfman has been advised of the possibility of such damage or loss. In addition, you agree to defend and indemnify Bronfman, its officers, directors, employees, and agents and hold Bronfman, its officers, directors, employees, and agents harmless from and against any and all claims, proceedings damages, injuries, liabilities losses, costs and expenses (including attorneys fees) relating to any acts or omissions by you or materials or information transmitted by you in connection with our listserv or boards leading wholly or partially to claims against Bronfman, its officers, directors, employees, or agents or our listserv or boards by other users or third parties.