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 don’t know what’s going on. So, I can’t give you a comment about tonight’s event. If this is a gathering of young Jewish people, I salute it wholeheartedly. Because, I’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 I’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 tomorrow’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 didn’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 don’t go.

I would send even more kids.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • Seems like the interview was cut short by the way it was written. Also, this isn’t really a hard hitting interview, he didn’t really say anything besides the fact that he loves birthright. Why not questions about his ownership of yisrael hayom and how that effects politics in Israel? Something…

  • Poor Newt Gingrich ….. I guess Sheld’n is reallocating his Newt dollars to Birthright and Gidi Mark

  • The goal was to discuss the Jewish community and the future. There is already a new interview about politics by the Jewish Journal. WITH that said — i agree that a real length piece that includes the subject you mention would be fascinating.

  • It would be also interesting to look at the issue of non-Israeli Jews getting involved in Israeli politics and what he thinks about that, being one of those people who does just that.

  • To say that this was disappointing is an understatement. An interview this brief and insubstantial ought not to have been run at all. This isn’t an interview, it’s a snippet of conversation. This revealed exactly nothing. I want to know about his role in Yisrael Hayom and it’s editorial policy completely aligned with Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party. How about the torrent of iliberal laws proposed by Likud partner Israel Beiteinu and Avigdor Lieberman that serves only to stifle free speech and open debate and how that jibes with his self professed declaration that he is in fact a social liberal? I also, with all due respect, want to know to what extent your questions, what few there were, were so not hard hitting because Adelson is a potential Jewlicious donor?

    • Have to agree. Maybe if the post was renamed “Snippet with Adelson…” Still, the news is 5000 more young ones subsidized!

  • Zack, WJK – valid points. I was left underwhelmed by this “interview” but I guess the real news is that a major Jewish philanthropist would talk to us at all… 🙂

    Yeah, it’s been that kind of a year… I haven’t hear anything about Adelson expressing an interest in funding any aspect of Jewlicious, though we’d certainly welcome his support as long as it is provided in a way similar to the support he provides Birthright – no strings attached… But whatever, it’s all good, right?

  • So because it is too short its not an interview? Well I’ll return to vegas for a follow up !