Smith, Gambrell & Russell, one of Atlanta’s oldest and leading law firms, announced today that partner Jay Schwartz has been named President of the Temple, Atlanta. Schwartz is the 47th person to hold the top lay position at Atlanta’s first Jewish congregation.
Schwartz has served a Trustee for two terms (’83-’85 and ’94-’99), Temple Treasurer (’99-’00) and as the Vice President of the Temple (’00-’02). Schwartz was selected by the congregation to serve as Temple President on April 16, 2002.
Schwartz’s father, Ambassador William B. Schwartz, also served as the Temple President from 1957 until 1960. This was an especially critical period, because it was during his term, in 1958, that the Temple was bombed in violence related to the civil rights movement. Jay Schwartz’s election marks only the third time in the Temple’s 135-year history that a father has preceded his son as President.
Like his father, Schwartz will lead the congregation during a major renovation of the Temple. The $20 million project will include a new wing, which will house a larger Friendship Hall, additional classrooms for adult education, and space for an early Childhood Learning Center. The Temple has been the foundation for Jewish life in Atlanta since the mid 1800’s.
“All of us at the Temple family are thrilled to have Jay become President of our congregation. The love and enthusiasm he has for his faith, his heritage, Temple, and the greater community are all attributes that we are confident will make Jay a great Temple President,” said Rabbi Sugarman. “His overall knowledge and keen insight are certainly welcome at this critical juncture in our Tempe history.”
Schwartz is a prominent Atlanta corporate attorney with SGR. He has held numerous committee positions as well as leadership positions at SGR, including Managing Partner. Today, Schwartz serves as both the finance partner and the Section leader for the firm’s largest corporate practice group.
Schwartz joined Smith, Cohen, Ringel, Kohler, Martin & Lowe, now known as Smith, Gambrell & Russell, in 1972 and was elected to the partnership in 1979. He is married to Joyce and has two daughters — Tracy and Allison.