I met Joel Elkes on my first day of arrival in Israel on July 1st 1974, together with Charles Smith, a well-known Washington D.C. builder and philanthropist. Joel Elkes was already a legend in psychiatry but I had not met him before. He had met Charles Smith by chance on an airplane flight and they talked about new understandings of depression as a biochemical illness. Charles Smith was intrigued, and Joel Elkes translated that opportunity into a 40-year relationship with the Smith Family Foundation that created the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel. I was an early recipient of grant support and a lifelong beneficiary of Joel Elkes' wisdom, friendship and generosity. A laboratory in Jerusalem of the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel is dedicated in the name of Charles Smith and Joel Elkes.
Joel Elkes came to Israel frequently, even in his later years. He skillfully and honestly maintained the Smith family as major private supporters of psychiatric research in Israel, due to his openness, optimism and willingness to give freely of his time. He was very proud of the successes of the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel and he served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for 30 years. He went through the list of young investigator grants personally each year with pride. We will sorely miss him
Robert H. Belmaker
February 4, 2016