Sheldon and Miriam Adelson
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson Eitan Elhadez/TPS

The Jewish Agency for Israel on Tuesday expressed condolences over the passing of Sheldon Adelson, who died at the age of 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

A statement from the Jewish Agency said Adelson “was a great supporter of the Jewish people and a tremendous advocate for the State of Israel. His boundless dedication and generosity will serve as his legacy for generations to come.”

“Adelson, along with his wife Dr. Miriam Adelson, were passionate about bringing world Jewry closer to Israel. In this capacity, the Adelsons have been key supporters of The Jewish Agency’s shlichut (Israeli emissaries) program, which sends shlichim to serve in hundreds of communities around the world, working to strengthen ties between Jewish communities and Israel. In recognition of their generosity, The Jewish Agency’s Shlichut Institute and its host building in Kiryat Moriah in Jerusalem were recently named in honor of the Adelsons,” the statement continued.

“The Adelsons' commitment to the shlichut program was personal and heartfelt. Jewish Agency shlichim serving in the United States have shared countless stories of being invited to the Adelson home for dinner and moving personal conversations with the family, a true testimony to the extent of the Adelsons' dedication.”

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, said, “I always told Sheldon that he’s the modern-day Moses Montefiore of our generation. Just as he who broke barriers and built Jerusalem, so did Adelson in Jewish education and connection to Israel. I had the honor of a close relationship with him for many years and he was no doubt among the greatest leaders of the Jewish people throughout this generation. His generosity, openness, modesty and accessibility always stood out. Even when we had differences of opinion, I always loved him.”

Chairman of the Board of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Michael Siegal, added, “Today, the entire world lost one of its greatest philanthropists. Sheldon Adelson made a profound difference to countless young Jews around the world with his unyielding commitment to the Birthright program. He was approachable and principled. It was a privilege to know him and his loss will be felt by many. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Miriam and his entire family.”

Former Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency and Founding Chairman of The Adelson Shlichut Institute, Natan Sharansky, said, “Sheldon has been a dear personal friend to me, as well as to the shlichut program. Without his belief in the work of shlichim and his vision of the long-term impact shlichim have in forging ties to Israel and in combating BDS and antisemitism, the growth of the shlichut program, thanks to his support over the past decade, wouldn’t be possible. I will miss him greatly."

The Adelson Shlichut Institute provides training to over 2,000 Jewish Agency emissaries who serve in Jewish communities around the world to strengthen ties with Israel. They serve in local Jewish schools, youth groups, summer camps, universities, promoting the cause of Israel and fighting anti-Semitism.