January 12, 2021
Several Jewish groups issued statements mourning the death of GOP megadonor and Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson on January 12.
Adelson, 87, died after suffering complications from his treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; he had taken a leave of absence for the treatment on January 7. Adelson’s widow, Miriam, said in a statement that her husband donated “to charitable causes that may literally be countless, as he expected no credit and often preferred anonymity” and “crafted the course of nations. Some of the historical changes that he helped effect — in the United States, Israel and elsewhere — are publicly known. Others are not.” She concluded by calling his loss “colossal. Farewell, my darling, my one true love. After gaining and giving so much, you have earned this rest.”
Jewish groups also paid tribute to Adelson.
“I always told Sheldon that he’s the modern-day Moses Montefiore of our generation. Just as he who broke barriers and built Jerusalem, so did Adelson in Jewish education and connection to Israel,” Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said in a statement. “I had the honor of a close relationship with him for many years and he was no doubt among the greatest leaders of the Jewish people throughout this generation. His generosity, openness, modesty and accessibility always stood out. Even when we had differences of opinion, I always loved him.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “We join in mourning the passing of Sheldon Adelson whose philanthropy aided untold people in need, charitable organizations and above all his beloved Israel. Our condolences to his beloved wife and children.”
StandWithUs similarly said in a statement, “The generosity of Sheldon Adelson has resulted in support for vital medical research, advances in academia and solid support for initiatives that strengthen Jewish identity, invest in the future of the Jewish State and bring people closer to Israel. During the pandemic, and despite the effects of it on the hospitality sector, Sheldon Adelson ensured that his staff continued to receive salaries and benefits. He was a proud American and a proud Jew.”
Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) National Chairman and Executive Director Matt Brooks hailed Adelson, who was a member of the RJC Board of Directors, as “one of the most consequential figures in American Jewish history” and noted that the Adelsons “gave generously of their wealth, knowledge, and time to support causes they were passionate about, including education, addiction recovery, and medical research, as well as supporting pro-free market and pro-Israel candidates and organizations.”
They later added that the RJC “benefited not only from Mr. Adelson’s generous financial support, but very significantly from his leadership and his counsel. His friendship, encouragement, and wisdom will be sorely missed. His death leaves an empty place where a vibrant, committed, and caring man once stood. We are all diminished by his passing.”
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton Klein issued a statement calling Adelson “the proudest Jew I ever knew.” He noted many don’t know that the Adelsons have “funded hundreds of millions of dollars of medical research to fight cancer, heart disease, and other human ailments. His director for medical research (a high school classmate of mine) told me that Sheldon’s and Miri’s devotion to stamping out disease was almost as great as their unbounded love of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Klein added that Adelson had long wished to see the United States embassy in Jerusalem and recalled how Adelson “very excitedly told me that Donald Trump had just promised him he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem during his term in office. And he did. And Sheldon deserves a great deal of credit for that historic achievement.”
The ZOA president also praised Adelson’s work in “fighting against anti-Semitism, fighting on campuses against the anti-Israel propaganda, combatting lies against Israel and Jews, and making sure that we never forget the horrors of the Holocaust. A part of his legacy was to insure there would never be another Holocaust. Sheldon’s wife Miri lost many of her family members in the Holocaust, and was Sheldon’s partner in their commitment to ‘Never Again’ allow such a horror to happen.”
Toward the end of the statement, Klein said: “There was no one like Sheldon Adelson in all the world — even throughout history. The world can never be the same without the activism and force of nature that Sheldon Adelson was. People say that Sheldon was the Rothschild of this era. I say that Rothschild was the Adelson of his era.”
Former New York Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who also heads the Americans Against Anti-Semitism watchdog, tweeted, “Sheldon Adelson was a champion of Conservative, American and Jewish values and he never wavered despite endless challenges. He was a force that will be sorely missed. Baruch Dayan HaEmes.”
Bryan Leib, chairman of the Jewish millennials organization HaShevet and an insider for the conservative news outlet Newsmax, also tweeted: “To me, [Adelson] will always be a mega-human who used his wealth to support Israel, Jewish institutions, conservative politics & cancer research. BDE Sheldon Gary Adelson. We will never forget you.”
Students Supporting Israel praised Adelson as “an icon to the Jewish community. His generosity & kindness has made the world a better place. His legacy will continue on, and his memory will forever be a blessing. Thank you, Sheldon, for everything.”
IfNotNow, a Jewish group that calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, tweeted, “Adelson dedicated his life and wealth to empowering the far right in the US and in Israel. But our collective work—the work of building solidarity, of fighting for freedom and dignity for all—can undo that harm. Yimakh shemo. May his legacy be erased. And may we do it together.” This prompted Jewish writer Sarah Tuttle-Singer to respond: “It is one thing to disagree w/another human being, & Adelson’s legacy is complex. But to write something like this after his death is vile & antithetical to the peace & justice movement Israelis & Palestinians need.”
Similarly, former Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson tweeted that Adelson’s death is “a present for my birthday.” Democratic Majority for Israel retorted, “I fought Sheldon Adelson in campaign after campaign & issue after issue. But I refuse to rejoice at the death of any human being-especially one who’s also done good There is sickness at the heart of your organization. You’ve nothing to do w/peace. Remove this appalling tweet.”
Adelson’s funeral will be held in Israel — where Miriam was born — and a memorial will be held in Las Vegas on a date that has yet to be determined.
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