Sisterhood Blog

Who Is Gingrich-Backer Miriam Adelson?

By Gabrielle Birkner

Getty Images
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson

Miriam Adelson, the Israeli-born wife of multibillionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, will donate $5 million to a “super PAC” backing Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination, The New York Times reported Monday. Her gift to Winning Our Future — the group behind the 28-minute video takedown of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital — comes two weeks after her husband gave $5 million to the super PAC, and days before the Florida GOP primary.

Just what do we know about the wife of one of the world’s wealthiest men?

She’s a Doctor: She studied internal medicine at Tel Aviv University and worked at Tel Aviv’s Hadassah Hospital before moving to New York, in 1986, to study the biology of addiction. Through her research, she became an advocate for prescribing methadone to drug addicts who have failed to stay clean. “As a physician I opted to help them, because I have a weakness for weak people,” Miriam Adelson told Haaretz in 2008. “In medicine one also considers what is less harmful: If we do not give them methadone, they will continue to inject heroin with dirty needles, and will become infected and infect others with AIDS and hepatitis, and the hospitals will be flooded.”

She’s a Mother: Miriam Adelson has four children. She and her former husband, physician Ariel Ochshorn, have two grown daughters: Yasmin Lukatz, a casino executive with Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and Sivan Ochshorn, whom a website that tracks campaign contributions (yes, she backs Republican candidates) identifies alternately as a homemaker and a senior analyst for Las Vegas Sands. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have two younger sons together, Adam and Matan.

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Raising a Daughter, Without Adelson's Help

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

Courtesy of the author
Allison Kaplan Sommer and her daughter Naomi

Dear Ariel Beery and Erin Kopelow:

Congratulations on the impending birth of your baby girl.

When I saw your essay on Tablet questioning whether it was wise to raise a daughter in Israel at a time when “war is waged against girls and women” I understood the feeling. I had my first child when I, like you, was living in Tel Aviv, way back in 1996, just after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and during the height of terrorist suicide bombings. I, too, was worried about the place I had decided to raise kids.

You correctly point out the disturbing domination of the ultra-Orthodox establishment on the state. You knew that the rabbinate wasn’t your friend when you moved here, and that you would face problems regarding Erin’s halachic status — her mother underwent Conservative conversion during pregnancy — and that this would affect your future children. But now that a baby is on the way, that reality is upon you. Add that to the current crisis over the “exclusion of women,” the situation in Beit Shemesh, the issues over buses and women’s singing in the army and I can see why it would concern you.

I was sure that your piece was heading for a discussion of how to raise an Israeli daughter confident in both her Jewish and her female identity under these circumstances. Instead that the article was essentially a 911 call to American Jews, arguing that Diaspora leaders need to “demand” Israel “make liberalization of the rabbinate a priority.”

How?

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