- Michael Steinhardt is a former hedge-fund manager and the co-founding chairman of Taglit-Birthright Israel, a program, established in 1999, that pays for Jewish youths to go to Israel each year. He is friendly with Adelson, who is a fellow-contributor to Birthright. “These things are not done to make money,” Steinhardt said of Adelson’s new media initiatives. "They’re done because Sheldon’s an ideologue—he really cares about things that are of the spirit and not of the pocketbook."
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have also donated thirty million dollars a year, for the last two years, to Taglit-Birthright Israel. Before Adelson decided to make his Birthright gift, Shimshon Shoshani, the organization’s C.E.O., recalled, “He looked at every detail of the program—flight schedules, contracts, everything.” Like many prospective donors, Adelson was asked to make his gift over a number of years, but he chose instead to go year by year. He became Birthright’s single largest donor. In 2008, he provided about a third of its eighty-six-million-dollar annual budget. Birthright executives are hoping that he will donate thirty million dollars or more for 2009—but they are still waiting to hear his decision. There are hotel reservations to be made and plane tickets to be purchased for Birthright participants. “With Sheldon’s approach—and with his being the biggest donor—you literally know you have the money just in time to start spending it,” someone closely involved with Birthright said.
According to the IDC Herzliya website groups including Birthright, Hillel, AIPAC, March of the Living, AJC, UJC among others have planned visits the Asper Institute Institute for New Media Diplomacy, at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications over the course of 2008 and 2009.
The organization has an annual budget of $86 million, of which $30 million has been provided by Adelson alone in each of the past two years.
- Michael Steinhardt - co-founder
- Charles Bronfman - co-founder
- Sheldon Adelson - major donor
- Shimshon Shoshani - CEO
Contact, References and Resources
- www.birthrighisrael.com,About Us, Accessed 13-March-2009
- Taglit-birthright celebrates 10 year anniversary, Jerusalem Post, accessed 8 August 2012
- Connie Bruck, The Brass Ring: A multibillionaire’s relentless quest for global influence, New Yorker, 30 June 2008.
- Groups and Missions, Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy, Sammy Ofer School of Communications, IDC Herzliya, accessed 22 June 2009.