Moise Safra, Brazilian Sephardic Billionaire, Dies at 79

Scion of Famed Jewish Family of Financiers

By Reuters

Published June 16, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Moise Y. Safra, a billionaire member of the Safra family of financiers, who for over half a century have catered to an affluent clientele spanning from São Paulo to New York and Monte Carlo, died on Sunday, two sources with knowledge of the situation said. He was 79.

Moise Safra
yeshiva u.
Moise Safra

One of the sources said Moise, the second of the three Safra brothers who founded the Safra Group in the mid-1950s in São Paulo, had been under observation at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein for a few days. The financier, who suffered a heart attack on Friday, had struggled with Parkinson’s Disease in recent years, said the source, who was not allowed to discuss the matter publicly.

Moise Safra was buried in São Paulo on Sunday, a second source told Reuters.

As a member of Brazil’s most prominent Jewish business clan, Safra was deeply involved in Jewish community affairs in Brazil, spending a great deal of his time and fortune funding health, education and charity projects and paying for the construction of synagogues and community centers.

Efforts to reach several spokespeople for the Safra family in New York and São Paulo were unsuccessful.

The Safras stood out among a number of Brazilian families whose businesses grew transnational but also remained loyal to their local roots. Moise Safra was born into a wealthy banking family, of Jewish tradition, in Syria. The Safras moved to Brazil in 1952 and in 1955 he joined his father Jacob and older brother Edmond in the business of trade financing in São Paulo.

Years later, Moise became a Brazilian citizen.

His younger brother Joseph reportedly paid $2.5 billion for Moise’s 50 percent stake in Banco Safra SA in 2006, putting an end to years of disputes over direction of the bank. Edmond, the family’s older sibling and one of the most prominent private bankers of the past century, died in December 1999 in an arson attack at his Monte Carlo penthouse that shocked the banking world.

Moise Safra’s fortune was estimated at $2.2 billion by Forbes Magazine this year. He was married to Chella Cohen Safra, with whom he had five children.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.