David Gottesman, scion of Jewish philanthropic dynasty, dies at 96

Published date03 October 2022
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
Gottesman's involvement in finance and Jewish causes began with his birth, to Benjamin and Esther Gottesman, in 1926. Benjamin Gottesman was a banker who had already become a trustee of Yeshiva University, home to the rabbinical school that his own father, Mendel, a paper manufacturer, had helped found; he served in that role until his death in 1979. Mendel Gottesman had started a family foundation devoted largely to supporting Yeshiva University and its library, which ultimately was named for him

After a stint in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, Gottesman, who was known as Sandy, went to college and then Harvard Business School before heading to Wall Street. There, he got connected with Warren Buffet, then an up-and-coming investor, and the two struck up a fast friendship.

Gottesman was an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway, the company that for a time made Buffett the richest man in the world. The return on his investment was massive: This year, more than half a century after making the investment, Forbes estimated his net worth at $3 billion and placed him at No. 358 on its list of 400 wealthiest Americans.

Gottesman sat on Berkshire Hathaway's board, but his relationship with Buffett was far from transactional. "Absent Sandy doing anything financially for me, we would have been the best of friends," Buffett told The New York Times for an obituary.

Gottesman opted to remain largely out of the limelight. But through a family foundation he launched with his wife Ruth in 1965, he continued the Jewish giving that had long characterized his family. In addition to his father's giving, his mother Esther was largely responsible for securing the Dead Sea...

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