The Republican Jewish Coalition mourns the passing of RJC Board of Directors member Sheldon Adelson. We have lost one of the most consequential figures in American Jewish history: an American patriot, a dedicated defender of Israel, an extraordinary philanthropist, and a dear mentor and friend.
From very humble beginnings as the child of immigrants in Boston, Mr. Adelson became a serial entrepreneur who created almost 50 different companies over seven decades, including the internationally famous Las Vegas Sands Corp. Mr. Adelson grew businesses that brought opportunities for success to others: his COMDEX tradeshow for the computer industry enlarged the field; his resorts integrated not just hospitality and gaming, but also convention and exhibition space, celebrity chef restaurants, and entertainment.
His business success made him very wealthy, and he used those resources to benefit others. With his beloved wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, Mr. Adelson was the largest funder of Taglit-Birthright Israel. The Adelsons built a $65 million campus in Las Vegas for the Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy and Adelson School, which serves students from preschool through high school. They have been significant contributors to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and Yad Vashem. The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation funds collaborative research programs to understand and cure cancers, fight immunologic diseases, and develop neural repair and rehabilitation therapies. Dr. Miriam Adelson works with drug addicts; the Adelsons built a clinic in Tel Aviv and Dr. Adelson has contributed enormously to addiction research and therapy. In the US, the Adelsons have hosted “Tribute to the Troops” weekends at their Venetian Resort for wounded American warriors -- all-expense-paid vacations to thank the veterans for their service by providing entertainment and encouragement to them and to their caregivers.
In addition to making large donations to foundations and organizations, Mr. Adelson was a caring and generous mentor to friends and others in need. Among many quiet acts of kindness, he made his planes available to people needing medical care and helped small businesses and individuals fallen on hard times. When the Covid-19 pandemic closed down casinos, hotels, and entertainment venues, Mr. Adelson refused to furlough or lay off his employees. The Venetian Resort Las Vegas company continued to provide full pay and benefits to every employee from March 17 onward.
Mr. Adelson’s political activities supported pro-free market and pro-Israel candidates and organizations. He was a passionate supporter of Israel – as the Jewish homeland and the only free and democratic state in the Middle East. Together with Dr. Adelson, he supported strong pro-Israel Republican leaders, as well as organizations working on free market and national security issues. He supported efforts to fight the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and anti-Israel activism on college campuses.
The Republican Jewish Coalition 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.
May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. May his memory be a blessing for us all.