clickAdam Sandler’s all about the presents, boys and girls. So Hanukkah came early this year for children whose lives recently had actually not been much of a holiday of lights.

The JTA reports that the L.A.-based Sandler, responsible for Jewishly outing many of today’s most celebrated celebrities through his “Hanukkah Song” and its seemingly infinite number of spin-offs, donated 400 PlayStation consoles and games to children in “Israeli conflict zones.” The games were distributed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Yes, it’s a lovely gesture, and I hope those children will be very happy playing Grand Theft Auto or SpongeBob SquarePants, or whatever the kids are doing these days. But everytime I hear that Adam Sandler makes $50 million a film, such trifles seem like luxuries. My criticism is not of Sandler per se, but of the wacked-out salaries of Hollywood people. If each of, say, the Oscar honorees made it their mission to donate a percentage of their per-picture salaries to a cause–either of their choice, or the Academy could pick one for them–I’m pretty sure we could cure cancer, or stop slavery and oppression, or put an end to world hunger. No one needs to make $50 million for making a movie about a remote control that allows you to control women joggers so that their boobs bounce slower. That’s not really changing the world.

So, yasher koah, Adam Sandler. You helped brighten a kid’s day, which is great. But if I banded together with friends, I’m sure we could send a hundred pizzas to IDF soldiers. But that’s the scale we operate on. But with people who make a disproportionate amount of money for the work they do, their responsibility should be to do more. Because there’s always more work to be done.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

16 Comments

  • The responsibility is not theirs, but ours: We need to bring back the 70% tax bracket. It would be good for the people, and good for the shareholders who own the movie studios.

  • This is a very real economic conundrum and one that increasingly confounds many looking at our economy: {See also the excellent [Http://www.epi.org] too on the general issue}.

    There guys were not the first, but this might be a decent treatment you can find at the library:

    “The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us” (Paperback)
    by Robert H. Frank (Author), Philip J. Cook

    Cheers & Good Luck! ‘VJ’

  • OK, I’m going to be the devil’s advocate (or Adam Sandler’s in this case)

    I know that they said in the article that they gave out 400 play stations- but I happen to know from the Israeli Consulate here that the guy gave $100,000, and he did it to help make kids in Israel happy.

    Thats a lot of money and a lot more than most other stars. He’s proud to be Jewish and not afraid to openly support Israel in a very Liberal, Pro-Palestinian, uber leftist industry.

    I just don’t think it is fair to rip on him because he could have given more.

    Yes we hate rich people, but we all want to be them.

    It’s like my mother always says “Do a good deed and just be happy if no one kicks you in the head.”

  • Ms. Nadav is right on, er, the money. The system is not of Mr. Sandler’s making, and he is within his rights to try to earn what the market will pay. If it’s $20 million a movie or more, then he is being paid that because somebody thinks he’s worth that amount.

    I also think that any dollar he gives is a gift. It’s his choice to give it in any way he deems suitable and I suspect he probably gives in many ways that are kept quiet. I think that’s the key here: let’s hope he is generous with his money, and let’s hope that he keeps it quiet because that is the highest level of tzedaka.

  • um there used to be this cool concept:

    In French, noblesse oblige means, literally, “nobility obliges”, or the “noble obligation”. It is generally used to infer that with wealth, power and prestige come social responsibilities.

    But now it is all about the ego and the bling. People like this would rather have Bentleys instead building libraries and orphanages. It is funny, I was reading about the founder or the UAE today and all that he did philanthropically. He makes meretricious fools like Sandler et al. look like dirtbags. Rappers like P-Diddy are my favorite examples they make money off of being bad role models – the more gangstah they is the bettah – and then complain about how they are looked down upon. Sports stars are just as bad. Give me a break. Consign 20 million to charity then your soul will be clean and the mitzvah noted.

  • BTW, I think the playstations are on top of the $100,000 which he gave. At the time (during the war) he did it anonymously.

  • It doesn’t take an economist to figure this out, guys. If they’re making 20, 30, or 50 million dollars, it’s because consumers are paying that and much more to see their movies and buy their sneakers or whatever. Once you boycott Hollywood films, throw out your TV and live your life in a vacuum then maybe you can complain about the salaries that we’re all essentially paying ourselves. I wonder who of us, put in the position to earn that kind of money for whatever reason, would refuse.
    Though it’s my opinion that the children of Israel would be much better served by a hefty donation to the ministry of education or some nice new playgrounds than by a free playstation, it’s Sandler’s money and he can do with it as he pleases. And Tableman, why don’t you worry about the cleanliness of your own soul and your mitzvah scoreboard instead of judging other people, especially at this time of the year.

  • Oh wait, you are right, I should never comment on the functioning of society for fear of being seen as judgmental, hmm, that isn’t judgmental at all. That’s my favorite thing about you “hey don’t judge” types, by opening your mouth you are judging. Thank you Nietzsche. I ain’t worried. More than the required amount of my income and time go to charity. I don’t have 100,000$ to give away but I spent the last 4 weekends volunteering in my community. I have other things to repent for, but my involvement with charity isn’t one of them.

  • Seriously, it’s great that you donate more than the “required” amount of your time and money. I commend you. I didn’t know that being a good person gives you license to tell everyone else how to conduct themselves.

  • Esther, I feel your pain. First off, instead of pizzas and playstations I think body armor and gas masks would make more sense to donate. Also, as terrible Sandler’s movies are and how ridiculous his per-picture take is, be thankful it’s not Rob Schneider representing us. And maybe Sandler doesn’t artistically deserve to make that much, but it’s not his job to be our Jewish-obnoxious-comic-devoting his time/resources to Jewish causes-and saving the world. That’s why we have Jerry Lewis.

    Reb Yudel, don’t let Ron Silver hear about your tax proposal. As nice as it is, it will simply make tax exiles out of our rich entertainers. They tried that in England back in the 70s and we Americans had to suffer with Rod Stewart moving here. Imagine what would happen if Oprah was forced to move to, say, Bulgaria?

  • Just to clarify, which apparently I need to do, I’m not saying that I do all I can. Aseret Y’mei Teshuvah are about trying to do better. I think a donation of any size is better than no donation. I was basically using this as a chance to both praise Adam’s donation and to allow us all to assess the way in which we give back to the world. Especially all you Jewlicious readers who are making 50 mil on a picture.

  • Seriously, who makes $50 million on a picture? Are you saying his percentage of the gross is so high that he earns another $30 mil on top of his $20 mil base?

    Also, don’t forget that he has a manager, an agent and those guys take a hefty percentage. Also, don’t forget taxes and his pr team and staff of minions. Tens of millions don’t go as far as they used to.

  • I also think that Sandler’s donation was commendable. Any action is favorable to no action. He’s trying to be generous, and I hope he’s generous and giving elsewhere too. But time and time again, surveys of all sorts of philanthropy show one consistent trend. As a percentage of income, the greatest givers year in and year out are those that can Least afford to give, those in the lower earnings brackets. If Sandler is good for an average of say 3-4 Mill per year and he’s Not giving at least 80K back, (about 2% of his Yearly earnings) I’d say he’s slacking a bit. And that’s the point here too. Yes, it’s good that we give to worthy causes, but most giving is done by ‘normal’ average everyday folks, who day in and day out give more of themselves than do most Hollywood stars and celebrities. You can take that to the bank too. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • I believe it takes all kinds. I love the good power of humanity, and anything that moves us towards a more balanced world, I will laud. Whatever it is that fuels the fire of compassion in us all–I want to try to blow on those embers. Some are more inspired to act by those who set good examples, and some are inspired those who do evil. I think the immediate monetary or moral impact of the donation itself is gravy. Is it any wonder then that philanthropy is more of a focus for people who do did not lust after personal fame and fortune in the first place? We all have different sets of priorities and talents. Something my mother said that is somehow apropos: “I don’t think the last Star Wars movie should have gotten such horrible reviews. George Lucas can’t write dialogue? Was I supposed to be surprised? You know, I don’t go to see Shakespeare and complain about lousy special effects!”

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