Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Bronfman Sisters Named As Members Of Shadowy Group That Branded Women

Two daughters of the late philanthropist Edgar Bronfman were named in a New York Times investigative story about a shadowy upstate New York group in which female members were branded to enforce loyalty to its leader.

It was unclear if Sara and Clare Bronfman underwent the painful procedure that burned a symbol into the bodies of some members of the group, known as Nxivm.

Sara Bronfman, 41, has reportedly poured millions of her family’s fortune into the group. Clare Bronfman, an accomplished equestrian, also ran programs for Nxivm.

The sisters’ involvement in the group led by a self-proclaimed self-help guru named Keith Raniere was revealed by a blog started by a Buffalo businessman whom they sued and who is facing federal fraud charges, the Times reported.

Other members of the group described it as a sort of human bondage pyramid scheme in which members swore loyalty to a “master” and handed over embarrassing information or photos that would be released if they ever tried to leave the group.

Members were then allowed to recruit new members as their own “slaves.” New members were taken to a secret location near Albany where they agreed to undergo the branding process.

No criminal charges have been filed against leaders or members of the group, and state medical officials ruled the procedures were voluntary, the paper said.

Sara and Clare Bronfman are the youngest daughters of Edgar Bronfman Sr., a legendary figure in the Jewish communal world who died in 2013.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.