Ever since Bloomberg News reported yesterday that “Las Vegas Sands Corp., billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s casino company, fell the most in New York trading since going public after saying it may default on debt and face bankruptcy” it has become world-wide news; New York, Las Vegas, and this morning from Hong Kong, Singapore and France.
What the mainstream media is missing is the considerable interest the story has raised in the Jewish blog-o-sphere, particularly from ‘the left’. There seems to be almost a sense of joy that Adelson’s present difficulties may deeply effect his bankrolling of certain ‘rightist’ agendas. And there has been no end to the speculation (with Israel beginning an election campaign) that Bibi has lost his number one financial backer.
So, will Adelson need to put the brakes on his mega-philanthropy; is the current $30m. pledge to Birthright Israel in jeopardy; or the Adelson school in Las Vegas. What about a host of other initiatives being funded around the Jewish world?
What will a Sands Corp. bankruptcy filing really mean to the Adelson’s generosity. Let’s hope we never need to find out.
Meanwhile, in other news this Friday morning, two stories from The Jerusalem Post on the pressures facing the Haredi community due to the current economic climate:
The financial crisis which has rocked the world has the donor-dependent yeshiva world reeling. Jewish businessmen in the US, Britain and elsewhere are either unwilling or unable to provide as much philanthropic support as in the past to the dozens of Israeli kollelim that pay Torah scholars to learn.
This week, leaders of Israel’s largest kollelim held an emergency meeting to discuss what they called a crisis of catastrophic dimensions.
“Look around,” Yaakov, a haredi man, said as he browsed the aisles on Wednesday night. “This used to be the biggest night of the week for groceries – you had to stand in line outside just for a shopping cart. But now look: It’s relatively empty compared to what used to go on here. If that’s not a good indication of the current situation, I don’t know what is. People are cutting back, they’re buying less, and they’re relying more on others.”