Yad Vashem mourns the passing of Sheldon G. Adelson

January 13, 2021 by Simmy Allen

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Yad Vashem has joined leading Israelis in mourning the passing of the Patron of the Mount of Remembrance, Sheldon G. Adelson.

Sheldon and Dr Miriam Adelson with Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev in front of the Patron of the Mount of Remembrance Donors’ Plaque
(Courtesy of Yad Vashem)

Adelson was immensely proud of his Jewish and American heritage and deeply committed to the Jewish people, Jewish culture and the State of Israel.  A self-made and determined businessman and philanthropist, he was dedicated to the furtherance of Holocaust remembrance and education for generations to come.

“The warm connection that Sheldon had with Yad Vashem was truly exceptional,” reflected Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “He had an extraordinary personality and achieved great things throughout his lifetime. Particularly striking was his boundless love for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He was well aware of the dangers inherent in antisemitism and recognized the duty to instil the memory of the Holocaust, believing in the value of education as a critical means of doing so. It was precisely thanks to these shared goals that Sheldon was particularly committed and closely connected to Yad Vashem. With his support, along with his dear wife, Dr Miriam Adelson, we have implemented Yad Vashem’s International School’s cutting-edge pedagogical approach to Holocaust education and conduct teacher-training programs to thousands of educators who in turn impart meaningful and relevant messages of the story of the Holocaust and the dangers of antisemitism.

Yad Vashem, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel owe Sheldon and Miri a tremendous debt of gratitude for their enduring commitment to these fundamental causes. They are true partners, visionaries and pioneers. Sheldon will be sorely missed.”

Sheldon Adelson grew up in a low-income home in Boston, Massachusetts to Jewish immigrant parents. At the early age of 12, his entrepreneurial instincts were already evident, when he started selling newspapers on the streets of Boston. Thanks to a keen intellect and innovative thinking, Adelson was always several steps ahead of his peers. Despite his modest beginning, he dared to dream big and realized those dreams by building a formidable business empire. Despite his resounding success, he maintained his close connection to his faith and his birthright. He dedicated his energies and resources to supporting the causes close to his heart.

Along with his wife Miriam, the Adelsons unique bond with Yad Vashem began in the early 1990s, with the couple’s first generous contribution providing an infrastructure necessary to launch Yad Vashem into the digital age. Several years later, they endowed Yad Vashem’s new Museum of Holocaust Art. In 2006, they substantially increased their vigorous involvement with the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, undertaking a multiyear commitment of unprecedented support that continues to this day. Their cumulative donations over the years constitute by far the largest private contribution ever received by Yad Vashem.

The Adelsons spoke on several occasions about their special relationship with Yad Vashem. Sheldon Adelson explained that it was their privilege to help ensure the continuity of the existence of the Jewish people and that he wanted to do everything in his power so that the Holocaust would not be forgotten. At a recent event Sheldon stated, “my wife Miriam and I, a sabra and a diaspora Jew, are united in our commitment to support this institution. We trust that Yad Vashem will find ways to preserve Holocaust education as a priority, to ensure that Israel’s freedom and power are never taken for granted.”

Yad Vashem conveys its deepest condolences to Dr Miriam Adelson and the entire Adelson family.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told media: “Sara and I are heartbroken by the passing of Sheldon Adelson.

He was a wonderful friend to us personally and an incredible champion of the Jewish people, the Jewish state and the alliance between Israel and America.

Sheldon unabashedly loved America and cherished the freedom and opportunity it gave him. He worked tirelessly to ensure that very same freedom and opportunity would be given to others in America and around the world.

The warmth of his heart, the clarity of his thinking and the decisiveness of his actions were truly exceptional.

From humble beginnings in a suburb of Boston, he rose to be one of world’s greatest entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

With his wife Miri he contributed endlessly to strengthening the Jewish people and the Jewish state, funding breakthroughs in medicine and science and advancing higher education. He gave anonymously to help victims of terror and countless other people in need.

Sara and I join Miri and the family in mourning a great friend, a great man, and a great Jewish patriot.

We will never forget him. May his memory be blessed.”

New Hope Chair, Gideon Saar expressed his sadness on the passing of Sheldon Adelson saying “he was one of the greatest supporters of Jewish organizations in Israel and around the world.  Over the past decades, he contributed to many causes, including strengthening Jewish education, commemorating the Holocaust, building bridges between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel, and strengthening Israel.

In addition to his philanthropic activities, Adelson devoted his time and energy to speak up for Israel, making Israel’s case to US decision-makers, and strengthening ties between Israel and the United States.

My deepest condolences go to his wife Miriam and to all his family.”

Sheldon Adelson was 87.

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