Mr. Charles E. Smith
Charles E. Smith was a visionary leader who left his mark on the communities and institutions he created and on the people he touched in an extraordinarily rich and rewarding life. Born in a humble home in Russia in 1901, he came to the United states in 1911 and grew to become the leading builder in the nation's capital. He served his community and Israel with rare devotion, deep joy and a total natural humility. A passionate interest in education and learning informed his life. Schools, universities and community centers all felt his beneficent influence. The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD, which combines Jewish education with a general education of an extraordinarily high standard, remains, to this day, the prime school of its kind in the United States. Charles Smith had a deep sense of the history of his people and the place of Jewish ethic in a rapidly changing society.
The concept of the Israel Center for Psychobiology (now the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel) first surfaced in a casual conversation between Mr. Charles Smith and Joel Elkes in 1969. It had immediate appeal, both in terms of matter and concept. Brain chemistry - still a nascent science in those days - interested Mr. Smith deeply, and he wanted to know more. The concept of a national center, functioning under the aegis of the Hebrew University but serving the whole country and including representation from all leading institutions, appealed to his sense of cooperation and effectiveness in business. From its inception, Mr. Smith and his family have steadfastly and generously supported the Center, matching funds from the Hebrew University. The effort has yielded a rich harvest. Over the past 25 years, some 400 scientists among them a number who have since risen to international prominence, have received their initial support at a critical stage of their career from the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel.