We met with Sheldon Adelson at the World Holocaust Forum in early 2020 in Jerusalem. He was at the top of the donor list to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Complex, which I also had the privilege of being included. Literally a couple of months after this meeting, the pandemic began, and the whole world went into lockdown.
All casinos in Nevada have closed, but Sheldon Adelson, founder of the world’s largest hotel and gaming corporation Las Vegas Sands, kept on paying full salary to all 10,000 employees of the company and to additional 1,200 employees of restaurants at his hotels. Adelson explained his decision by the fact that, using the example of his family, who were immigrants from Ukraine and Lithuania, he knew how hard it was when you lost your only source of income. His mother’s father owned a trading store in Kyiv, but after the pogroms of 1905, the family lost everything and had to start life over in the United States.
Adelson’s father, after a work shift driving a taxi, put a few coins in the charity box every day. One day Sheldon asked him why he was doing this, because they themselves did not have enough money. His father answered him: “There are always those who need it more than us.”
At the age of 10, Sheldon Adelson already worked as a street seller of newspapers and contributed to the family budget, and by 2020 he became one of the richest persons in the world with a fortune of more than $30 billion, having earned each of those dollars himself. He was one of the world’s largest philanthropists, donating hundreds of millions to drug addiction treatment programs, educational projects, support for Israel and many others.
In addition to building the world’s largest casino chain, Sheldon was also the godfather of the technological revolution, founding the COMDEX computer exhibition in 1979, which has become the world’s main platform for the presentation of new technologies.
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