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Jewish Journal

A Giving History

by Ed Sanders

October 14, 1999 | 8:00 pm

The $5 million gift that forms the cornerstone of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation's refurbished headquarters is the most recent in a four decade history of philanthropy from the Goldsmith family.

Bram Goldsmith is a prominent member of the L.A. business community in both real estate and banking. He and George Konheim founded Buckeye Construction Company in 1951 and its affiliate, Buckeye Realty and Management Corporation. These companies became the largest privately owned developers of real estate in Southern California

In 1975, he withdrew from activity with the Buckeye Companies and started his fourth business career by becoming chairman of the board and chief executive officer of City National Bank. In 1975, City National's assets were $650 million; today, they approach the $7.5 billion mark. Elaine and Bram Goldsmith's son, Russell, succeeded Bram Goldsmith as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of City National Bank in 1995. Bram remains chairman of City National Corporation, the bank's holding company, a director of both companies and active in management. He has served as a board member for six years on the L.A. Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

During his entire business career, Bram has been prominently engaged as a community leader and a strong supporter of the Jewish community. He served as president of the Jewish Federation Council in 1969 and 1970, and chaired the 1965 United Jewish Welfare Fund Campaign. He served as the national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal for several years, and has been a board member of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since 1979. He is a long-standing board member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and had previously been a board member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and Chairman of the board of region of the United Way and a member of its central board. Bram and Elaine Goldsmith are members of both Wilshire Boulevard Temple and Temple Emanuel.

Elaine Goldsmith has served as a member of the board of the Otis College of Art and Design and was president of the board of governors from 1983-1987, and continued as chairman of the board of trustees through 1998. During that period, the Goldsmith Family was instrumental in the acquisition and the funding of the new campus of Otis College, which is identified as the Goldsmith Campus.

Throughout Elaine Goldsmith's many years of service, she has been active in leadership roles for the United Jewish Welfare fund, including chairing all of the top categories of the women's division. She has been a board member of the Blue Ribbon of the Music Center and on the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Women's Guild. She was also an active member of the Los Angeles County Museum Art Museum council, 1970 to 1993, and chaired its Art and Architecture tour in 1979. She was also active at Vista Del Mar and the Weitzmen Women of Science in the 1950s.

In addition, Bram Goldsmith is a long-term member and past president of Hillcrest Country Club, organized the Los Angeles branch of the American Friends of Weizmann Institute and continues as a very active board member. He is also a member of the international board in Rehovot, and was the past president of the American Committee of Weizmann. He was honored by the Weizmann Institute with the prestigious Weizmann award of Science and Humanities.

In addition to the business and philanthropic activities, Bram has always maintained a high profile in Beverly Hills, and is currently involved in the Beverly Hills Cultural Foundation's effort to convert the former post office to a cultural center and theatre.
Other Stories on the Federation's return to 6505:   A new Jewish Federation headquarters is rising at 6505 Wilshire.
   What young leaders say about the move.
   The Federation building: past, present and future.

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