Sheldon Adelson, z”l, a Giant in Jewish Philanthropy



January 19, 2021

Our community has lost one of its most influential and generous supporters with the passing of Sheldon Adelson, z’l.

Adelson’s remarkable philanthropy impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Jews, including through several programs deeply enmeshed within Hillel’s work and mission. He was the largest single donor to Birthright Israel, enabling hundreds of thousands of young Jews to travel to Israel to connect with the Jewish homeland and build their own Jewish community.

Adelson also partnered with the Jewish Agency for Israel to create and support the Israel Fellows program, which brings more than 70 young Israelis to college campuses each year to connect with students and create programs that highlight Israel’s unique culture, history and people.

And most recently, Adelson developed and funded the Maccabee Task Force, which partnered with Hillels as they brought Jewish and non-Jewish student leaders to Israel together to learn about current events and understand complex issues that often are debated back on campus.

These programs and many more will miss Adelson’s leadership and guidance, along with his deep personal commitments to Jewish continuity, Holocaust education and preserving Israel’s future. 

While iconic and sometimes controversial in other domains, one of Adelson’s most significant legacies will be the enormous magnitude of his impact on the next generation of Jewish leaders. המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים, may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

All photos are courtesy of the Jewish Agency and the Chair of JAFI, Isaac Herzog, and Natan Sharansky, former chair.