Sheldon Adelson is one of the richest and influential men in the world. Beyond the recent headlines about his support for Gingrich, Adelson is the largest contributor to the largest program in the Jewish world, Birthright. We managed to sit down with Mr. Adelson for a couple of minutes as arrived to check-out TribeFest.
JEWLICIOUS: What do you think of TribeFest?
MR. ADELSON: I just got here. So I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going on. So, I canâ€™t give you a comment about tonightâ€™s event. If this is a gathering of young Jewish people, I salute it wholeheartedly. Because, Iâ€™ve never seen more than a thousand Jewish kids, young people, get together, ever.
JEWLICIOUS: Does it inspire you to see them together?
MR. ADELSON: Oh, I love it. I love it. You know Iâ€™m very heavily involved with Birthright. I think that Birthright is the greatest program in my lifetime….I think that Birthright is the breeding ground for tomorrowâ€™s future Federations.
JEWLICIOUS: I share your excitement.
ADELSON: Tomorrow’s adult participants is what will connect one generation to the other. These [young] people are the cement. Gatherings like [Tribefest] are the cement to connect generations.
JEWLICIOUS: Is that why you have put so much of your heart into Birthright?
ADELSON: Sometimes in business, some people are overwhelmed by their success. That has happened to me a number of times. Birthright is overwhelmed by its success. There are so many kids that want to go on Birthright. A big challenge for Birthright is to raise enough money to send all the kids that want to go. The demand is much higher than the supply.
I spoke to Gidi Mark yesterday and I found out that they didnâ€™t have enough money for 5,000 more kids. I committed to him over the phone that I will pay for the 5,000 more kids. Just for this summer.
It really tears my heart apart to leave so many kids on the ground. A lot of kids go, but a lot donâ€™t go.
I would send even more kids.