The Jewish Federation Goldsmith Center -- reborn state-of-the-art headquarters of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles -- enjoyed a splashy grand-opening celebration on Dec. 10. Originally slated as a community-wide event, the Donor Recognition Ceremony served as a formal thank-you to lead contributors, such as Elaine and Bram Goldsmith, the building's namesakes. With an original $5-million matching gift, the Goldsmith family launched the capital campaign for the 12-story building's two-year refurbishing process, which corrected damage incurred from the Northridge quake.
Crucial to the campaign's success were Federation Chief Operating Officer Jack Klein, and Lionel Bell and Ed Sanders, campaign co-chairs and Federation past presidents.
Federation Chairman Todd Morgan opened the program, and Federation President John Fishel paid special thanks to the absent Carmen Warschaw, the former Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) chair, whom Fishel called "our very able advocate to FEMA after the earthquake."
From the lectern, Gov. Gray Davis, signator of $2 million toward the building's $20 million-plus budget, praised L.A.'s Jewish community for its continuity of tradition in the face of adversity.
"I don't know of another community that is so resilient," he said.
Special artwork commemorating the event awaited attendees inside the Bell Gallery, such as "Letters of Foundation," conceived by Lynn Small and Dennis Paul. Among those also in attendance: Dodger outfielder and KOREH L.A. spokesperson Shawn Green; Yuval Rotem, Israeli consul general for Los Angeles; and personnel from Federation's various departments, including JCRC leaders Michael Hirschfeld and Elaine Albert; Lois Weinsaft, director of community development; and Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. Videotaped kudos from President Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Richard Riordan, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres and others were screened.
The program closed with a proud Bram Goldsmith, with wife Elaine by his side, deeming the new 6505 "an example of how the fruits of our labor and the generosity of so many people have come into fruition."