Update: Community informed of the death of Avi Schaefer ’13

UPDATE: The driver of the car that struck and killed Avi Schaefer ’13 Friday morning was charged with drunk driving, according to vice president for public affairs and University relations Marisa Quinn. Read browndailyherald.com for more. The original post is below.

Avi Schaefer ’13 was struck by a car on Thayer St. this morning, dying from injuries sustained in the accident, President Ruth Simmons wrote in an e-mail to the Brown community just before noon on Friday.

“By all early signs, he was a student who was going to make the most of his time at Brown and his mark on the world after Brown,” she wrote.

Simmons’ message included details on grief support and Schaefer’s time at Brown. Below, the full text of her e-mail.

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I am profoundly saddened to write you with the news that, early this morning, Avi Schaefer ‘13 was struck by a car on Thayer Street, and died from injuries sustained in the accident.

A young man of inordinate strength and integrity, Avi had already begun to have an impact on the Brown community. In his first semester he distinguished himself in courses in political thought, religious studies, and Arabic.  By all early signs, he was a student who was going to make the most of his time at Brown and his mark on the world after Brown.

An American who had become an Israeli citizen, he served for three years in the Israeli Defense Forces before coming to Brown. Here at Brown, he was a passionate voice for improving Israeli-Palestinian relations. Well known, loved, and admired in the Hillel community, Avi worked to foster cross-cultural dialogues to help others understand better the complex politics of life in Israel, and, just as importantly, he worked to understand better the views of others. This semester, he was at work with Professor David Jacobson on a project to prepare a new course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members who would like to gather in memory and celebration of Avi are invited to the Brown/RISD Hillel at 80 Brown Street today (9 am – 11 pm) or tomorrow (10 am – 8 pm).  Individuals from the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life and from Psychological Services are available for support throughout the day today at Hillel.  As usual, the Chaplains and the clinicians at Psychological Services are also available in their offices at J. Walter Wilson until 5 pm.  For information and support evenings and weekends, please contact the Administrator-on-Call (863-3322) or Psychological Services Clinician-on-Call (863-3746).  The campus community will be notified when a date is set later this spring for a campus memorial service honoring Avi’s life.

We deeply mourn the loss of this brilliant student in our community. I have spoken with Avi’s family and expressed to them our concern and collective grief.  Our thoughts and sympathy will remain with them and all of Avi’s friends throughout this difficult time.


Ruth J. Simmons


  1. Sara

    I love you Avi… and always will

  2. you friends from israel

    Thank you for this outreach. This tragedy has truly proven that life is short and we can only look to Avi and what he has accomplished as an insparation for all of us to do what we believe in and always strive to make the most of our time in this world. We want him to be remembered for all the good he did and the smiles he put on peoples faces. He will be missed more than words can express.
    Avi we will love and remember you always.
    Your absence will be profound.
    Love and miss you, your friends in Israel

  3. California friends

    חבר, אתה חסר

  4. Mike

    I’m going to miss you Avi, you were one of the most kind and honest individuals I’ve ever met. You’ve touched so many people in your life, we will never forget you.

  5. you friends from israel

    Dear Avi,

    Your influence will always be felt in our lives. From the first moment we met, you made it clear that you were going to make your dreams a reality. You refused to give up when faced with hardships and most of all you always put your heart into helping others. You believed that peace can be achieved and fought hard to promote mutual understanding and respect. Your heroic and gallant actions say more about you than any words can express. You have inspired us to believe that with hard work and a vision this world can one day be a beautiful place. Thank you for being a part of our lives and for shaping us into the people we are today.

    We love you and you are always in our heart and thoughts.

    Your family in Israel.

  6. Staci

    You will always be in my heart Avi. It’s me that was sitting “7 minutes away from a person that truly blew my mind.” Mensch.

  7. Seth, Shavit

    אחי, אתה ממש חסר פה….. אני אוהב אותך…..יהי זכרך ברוך my heart can only shed so many tears of mourning. Instead I will linger on the time we shared and the teachings and love that you brought and offered to me and the Olam’o… I love you Avi, Now it is our turn to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, with you to help pick us up, when we feel most weighted down…WE can never let go or forget. It is what we are taught and inevitably know most of all-naturally.

    With all my love,
    Seth שביט

  8. This is a tragedy to all people of good will.
    Our love goes to Avis family and friends.
    May his memory be a blessing to everyone who knew him.
    The staff and Board of Directors at StandWithUs is
    completely shaken by this horrific news.
    With Deepest Sympathy
    Roz Rothstein

  9. Avi was one of my son Sean’s first friends at Brown. I felt I knew Avi. Sean spoke so highly of Avi and what Avi had already done in life. Courageous and positive. My heartfelt sympathy to Avi’s friends and family. Sincerely, Don Yancey

  10. Audrey


    Here’s some information about funeral services 🙁

  11. Cohen family in Israel

    We were Avi and Yoav’s adopting Family when they came to Israel to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces.
    We loved Avi and Yoav so much and had a great time with them.
    We’re sending our condolences to Avi’s family and wanted to let them know they’re in our thoughts and prayers all the time.
    Avi , we are and always will miss you , and we will never forget you.
    May you rest in peace.

    Arie,Sigal,Stav,Eyal,Soof and Agam Cohen, Kibbutz En Harod Ihud , Israel.

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