The Adelsons Brighten Our Week and Hopefully Our Future

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House ( and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives ( He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....
Since the kidnapping, its been a rough 2 weeks for Klal Yisrael and especially for those faithful to the Land of Israel. We continue to fervently pray that our boys should be rescued and that their kidnappers and helpers will be eliminated.

Under the current difficult circumstances, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on something more positive. And something very positive indeed did occur this past week. This past week it was announced that Mr. Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson have donated $5 million to Ariel University and committed to a total donation of $25 million towards the development of their School of Health Sciences. Besides the inherent good in such generosity to such a worthy cause as improving others' health and saving lives, there was very important symbolism in the announcement. The quotes speak for themselves:

Mr. Sheldon Adelson:

“All my years in business have taught me that when a crack opens up in one place you don’t just need to seal it, you need to strengthen the entire wall, and sometimes the entire building. The many attacks on settlement in Judea and Samaria are connected to the long struggle against the State of Israel since its founding, and even before that. The donation to Ariel University is about building a Zionist wall in place of the crack. I hope that the city of Ariel, the capital of Samaria, will grow and flourish in wake of the university’s expansion. The donation to health science studies in Ariel is a donation for the future health and welfare of all Israelis.”

Dr. Miriam Adelson:

We also wanted to strengthen the settlers in Judea and Samaria, and express appreciation and gratitude for their pioneering spirit, their everyday Zionism. This, against the backdrop of the ongoing campaign against Israel in general and the settlement enterprise in particular, and the boycott calls being sounded against them from radical parts of the world.”

What's so impressive about the Adelsons' announcement is not just the amount of money (although its very generous), but the strategic timing and political message it sends. Haaretz (for whatever its worth, and in general that's not much), claims that this is the first investment by the Adelsons over the "green line". Whether or not this is actually true is largely irrelevant (the truth is virtually always irrelevant to Haaretz). The reality is that a message has been sent and at just the right time! The Adelson Family is showing serious Jewish leadership. A powerful combination of generosity and vision. Setting a personal example and clearly demonstrating and clarifying their righteous motives.

After our boys are rescued and we have some time for extra prayers, a good idea will be to pray that this donation is only the start. The Adelsons have the potential to join such illustrious families as the Rothschilds, the Montefiores and the Moskowitzs in significantly building the Land of Israel and dramatically strengthening the Jewish Presence. Whether its in Ariel or Jerusalem or throughout Judea and Samaria, the Jewish People would benefit tremendously from a further shift in priorities on the part of the Adelsons and an even deeper commitment to the values that are embodied in their quotes above. There are so many properties in Jerusalem just waiting for Jewish investment and so much land throughout the country that needs to be redeemed and developed! Additionally, hopefully this should spur others to join them in the continued redemption of the Land of Israel.

A big blessing and thanks to the Adelson Family and hoping for many, many more opportunities to express such sentiments again in the future.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Ben Packer