Jewish Dynasties: The Safras
At the age of 15, Edmond J. Safra was sent by his father to Milan to buy gold. When he was just 24, he founded the Trade Development Bank in Geneva and swiftly quintupled its assets. And by the time he turned 25, he’d established Republic National Bank of New York, which in less than a decade held the third-largest share of branch operations in the New York metropolitan area, right behind Citigroup and Chase Manhattan.
Yet even as he became the greatest banker of his generation, with an empire reaching across Europe, the U.S., Brazil, the Far East and Israel, Safra never gave up his Lebanese citizenship, ownership of the bank his father founded in Beirut in 1920 or his commitment to the Jewish community.
In his new book, A Banker’s Journey, Daniel Gross explores the quintessential Sephardic story of an extremely private man who never cut himself off from his roots, donned tefillin daily, encouraged employees at all his banks to accept requests from Jewish institutions and championed Sephardic communities across the world.
The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Cultural Center is proud to welcome Gross to discuss the often-ignored dynasty Edmond Safra was part of, how he navigated his commitment to Israel even as he did business in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and the mark he left on the world Jewish community.
A writer covering finance, economics and business history, Daniel Gross has reported from more than thirty countries for The New Republic, Bloomberg News, Slate and Newsweek. The great-grandson of Jews from Aleppo and Damascus, he is the bestselling author of eight books.
In conversation with Academy Award winner Elinor Burkett, journalist, author, film producer and documentary director.