by Emily Minton
Local philanthropist and writer, David Bruce Smith is set to receive an honorary fellowship from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the university’s 76th International Board of Governors meeting and annual convocation on June 17 in Jerusalem.
Smith, of Bethesda, is one of three Americans to receive the honorary fellowship that recognizes the honorees’ constant dedication and devotion to Israel and the university.
A long-time American Friends of The Hebrew University board member, Smith has held various leadership roles over the years and currently sits on the university’s Campaign Committee, International Board of Governors and is the president of the National Institute of Psychobiology in Jerusalem.
Smith’s long and impressive philanthropic record stems from his family roots, as his father, Robert H. Smith, was instrumental in the creation of the university’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
“One of my father’s dreams was to feed the world, and he was able to work towards that with the school of agriculture in Rehovot,” Smith said.
Smith’s grandfather, Charles E. Smith was not only a philanthropic force in the Greater Washington community, but actually co-founded The Hebrew University’s National Institute of Psychobiology in the 1970s.
“My grandfather always used to tell us that we are a very fortunate family, and that one of our responsibilities is to give back to the community. I heard that for a very long time and it had a huge influence on me to the extent that I always strive to give back to the community and have always wanted to emulate the work of my father and grandfather.”
The father of two and Adas Israel Congregation member explained that he was shocked and humbled to learn of the honorary fellowship.
“I was beyond surprised and so appreciative that the university could view my contributions in those terms,” Smith said. “It’s a huge honor and is so unbelievable, it feels like winning the Nobel Prize. I just wish my father and grandfather were here to see it.”
In addition to his work with The Hebrew University, Smith is the president of David Bruce Smith Publications, LLC and specializes in writing, editing and publishing books.
He is an active board member and supporter of a long list of organizations including the Washington, DC Jewish Community Center, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Charles E. Smith Life Communities and the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.