Jeremy J. Bruder was a well- loved and respected senior at Downers Grove South High School. On June 2, 1996, Jeremy was tragically shot and killed by a fellow classmate. During Jeremy’s high school career, he excelled academically and as a true humanitarian. He was an active participant in the school’s mentoring and peer mediation programs, as well as several varsity sports. He was a friend and mentor to many, constantly volunteering his time. His grades, his attitude, and his high moral outlook allowed him to achieve many of his goals. His biggest goal, one that will never be accomplished, was to attend the University of Arizona, where it was his dream to attain a BS in Finance and JD in Law. He saw his future through optimistic eyes and would have flourished in any academic environment.
He applied the 3 D’s: dedication, desire and discipline, in all aspects of his life. Jeremy was so persistent in training for Triathlon, that at 13 years old, there had to be a rule change to allow him to compete with adults in a race in Wisconsin. Not only did he finish in the top 20% overall, he proudly accepted the trophy for 1st place in his age group. He was an advanced Scuba diver, active in Scouting, an active triathlete, and had earned his Brown Belt in the Martial Arts at an early age. He never let the fact the he battled exercise induced asthma stand in his way. He climbed to the summit of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State over a period of 21 cold and rainy days when he was only 15. As an Honor Student, Jeremy had a voracious appetite for knowledge, and always had at least one novel or mechanical operation manual in process.
While Jeremy is no longer with us in body, he remains with us in spirit. The Jeremy Bruder Scholarship Fund was established in Jeremy's memory to provide scholarships for OSRUI and the Youth Israel Trip for young people who would otherwise not be able to participate. Both of these programs had a major impact on Jeremy. The Library will also remind us of him. Hanging on the wall in the Library is a collection of photographs of Jeremy. In each photograph, we can see his wonderful smile and expressive eyes. Every time we enter the room we will see Jeremy’s smiling face, that smile expresses the joy of his life. The Library will enrich the lives of the members of our community in many ways. It houses an ever expanding collection of books about every aspect of Jewish living. Fiction and non-fiction, classics and newly published volumes. Books for young children and books for teenagers. Books for adults who are beginners at Jewish learning and books for adults who are advanced learners. All of our members can come to the library to find something of interest to them. Our library will be a place of study where we gather each week to study our sacred texts. The committees of our congregation will sit together in the library to plan the future of our synagogue, while our teachers will find the resources for teaching our children in the religious school.
In keeping with Jeremy’s zest for life, and his quest for knowledge, we felt it only fitting and proper to memorialize the Library in his name. We’re confident Jeremy is beaming with pride, knowing that this Library in his memory will serve as a cornerstone for the future of learning at Etz Chaim.
The Bruder Family