Alarming News

December 24, 2008

Bad Jew!

In Madoff Scandal, Jews Feel an Acute Betrayal

I can relate. I once chose Jerusalem Movers solely based on the name and they totally ripped me off. Still, I imagine having millions of dollars stolen is probably worse than 400 cassette tapes in 1999.

UPDATE: I love Judaism! No, you can never atone, not ever ever:

“It is not possible for him to atone for all the damage he did,” the rabbi said, “and I don’t even think that there is a punishment that is commensurate with the crime, for the wreckage of lives that he’s left behind. The only thing he could do, for the rest of his life, is work for redemption that he would never achieve.”

Posted by Karol at 02:02 PM |
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I’m so sorry for all the people who got conned. My ex-husband worked (unwittingly) for a con artist who ran a Ponzi scheme for years and managed to convince the dupes to roll their “investments” over into the company he was taking public. It eventually crashed and burned (and so did he, fittingly dying in an airplane crash). Almost ten years in, the court case is still dragging on….and the only ones who are making money are the lawyers. The guy was an incredible charmer and fooled some of the smartest businesspeople in South Florida. He defrauded friends of his mom’s, too. He was utterly without a conscience a real sociopath. My sypathies.

Posted by: vivi at December 24, 2008 at 4:18 pm

so why would he bother working for that redemption? The reaction to the Madoff thing boggles my mind. It’s money, he stole it. He stole it from very rich people who gave it to him for ten-twenty years thinking they were sooo smart that they were the only people in all the world who got double digit returns on their money EVERY YEAR without fail! 9/11? Hah! still 18%. Iraq war? 18%! Economic meltdown — not for us, we’re with Bernie! If anything the insularity of the Jewish community is likely what made this fraud possible.

Posted by: nds at December 24, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Are you familiar with New York? ALL moving companies are ‘Jerusalem Movers.’
And is that rabbi familiar with Yom Kippur?

Posted by: Charles at December 24, 2008 at 4:53 pm

nds, you’re right. However. Lots of people who invested with Madoff did so unwittingly through funds that bought funds. In other words, they wouldn’t have seen that steady rise as other funds in their fund lost money.
So for them this really came out of the blue. And yeah, for the most part they’re rich people, but rich people aren’t worthy of more misfortune than poor people – I’m sure some of them were completely wiped out between this scheme and investments they had in real estate.
As for the redemption thing, I guess I’ve never gotten a straight answer from any of the Jews I asked about the afterlife. If you believe in some sort of heaven and hell redemption is important, but if you’re seventy years old and you don’t believe in an afterlife, what’s the point?

Posted by: Eric at December 24, 2008 at 5:00 pm

They were discussing this on The Joey Reynolds Show earlier today.
I don’t get it, personally. What does his being Jewish have to with anything? I imagine that he would have done the same thing if he were an Episcopalian, with the exception, perhaps, of defrauding Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust charity and scads of yeshivas.

Posted by: Gerard at December 24, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Gerard, you are right that this man’s personality would have led him into crime no matter what his religion. But I admit that I am always surprised when Jewish people, especially the orthodox, turn out to be crooks. The AgriProcessors kosher meat factory that was run by a refugee Jewish family from Russia and staffed by illegal alien work thieves was a big shock to me. Perhaps I believed too easily that Jews are what they present themselves to aspire to being: a small, pious, honest, philosophical, good-seeking religious group that holds itself to the highest standards and seeks to present an example to others. It’s always an unhappy moment to discover bad among those who work in a religion, just like the thieving tv evangelists or the pedophile Catholic priests. Their working in sacred areas for evil purposes is a violation beyond plain burglary or theft.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 24, 2008 at 6:04 pm

I worked in the New York wholesale food industry. Jews ripped off Christians everyday. One fellow named Merberg even ripped off the Archdiocese of New York.

Posted by: Dennis D at December 24, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I don’t understand your point. You used to lump all Jews in the “good Category” and now bevause of Maddof, or the Agri-processors you are lumping all Jews in the bad category.
Perhaps rather than look at Jews, you should form an opinion about Judaism the religion.
As far as a pattern of general behavior in a group of people is concerned- you should know that there are a hell of a lot of Jews that try to live right.

Posted by: Jack at December 24, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Anon, how is AgriProcessor meat factory a business of somebody “working in religion”? And how do you know that owners of AgriProcessor are “pious people”? And what being pious has to do with hiring illegal workers?
I know I might shock you terribly, but I’m a Jewish refugee from Russia and I’m an atheist. Almost all of us are. And most of us not criminals. Imagine that!

Posted by: Tatyana at December 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Madoff has wreaked havoc on American Jewish morale. In the below post, I suggest a way to restore it:

Posted by: Matt Bilinsky at December 24, 2008 at 7:27 pm

The most unethical people are heads of agribusiness behemoths, and it has little to do with piety, or lack thereof. See Swift, Tyson Foods, ADM, etc., etc., ad nauseam. When they’re not picking people’s pockets by extorting corporate welfare from taxpayers they’re using imported, illegal labor to obliterate heretofore middle class vocations.

Posted by: Gerard at December 24, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Tatyana — The AgriProcessors company was a kosher meat slaughter house — see the religious link? And as for you being an atheist. Fine. I’m talking about the Jews who are religious.
Jack — I didn’t say I was lumping all Jews into anything, even as I am not lumping all priests into the pedo category or all tv evangelists into the financial exploiters of people’s faith category. Read my post a little more closely and try to keep your knee from jerking. I am writing about the especial disappointment that comes from discovering people who pursue wrong actions while professing to serve good ones.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 24, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Anonymous – religiosity of owners of the meat factory have nothing to do with their product. They invite a rabbi – professional, sort of like a qiality control, to oversee the processing complies with requirements of kashrut.
Are you holding to your high standard only the owners of the factory or whole personnel? Because just the fact that they hired illegal immigrants means lots of other people at the factory were not only not following kashrut, but were not even Jewish! Some of them might even not believe in god at all! Does it mean the meat might be tainted? Oh, no!
Btw, why are you “Anonymous”, Anonymous? Are you afraid of big bad Jews? Oh, right, they own that huge industrial meat grinder…

Posted by: Tatyana at December 24, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Good lord, were Madoff a Jew or Christian in practice, it would violate his faith to do such evil. As for atonement, if you’re living under the law, good luck. If you’re living under the new covenant, that’s what it’s all about. Man is incapable of living up to God’s law, so he had to give us something to make it possible, forgiveness through the sacrifice of his son, ecce homo. Merry Christmas, and fyi, you can’t take it with you.

Posted by: Casca at December 25, 2008 at 5:03 am

My reaction is knee-jerk? Lets quote from your original post.
“But I admit that I am always surprised when Jewish people, especially the orthodox, turn out to be crooks.”
Why surprised? because you believed that Jews can’t be crooks?
“Perhaps I believed too easily that Jews are what they present themselves to aspire to being”
and now you believe that Jews are not what they “present themselves to aspire to being”
This is not assumptions…its logical reasoning 101.
I don’t need to read more carefully, you need to reason more carefully

Posted by: Jack at December 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm

As previously mentioned (In an attempt to deflect?): All groups of ppl have had their share of con artists, manipulators & theives. … True.
However; One group in particular shines out the most, historically, hands down, 2nd to none.
Happy Hannauka Baby !!

Posted by: DavidRosenburg at December 26, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Interesting so many of the commenters here refer to Madoff as evil. To me, he is an intriguing character because I am not sure he was, in fact, completely evil. He made a lot of money for a lot of people for a long time, and probably believed he could keep all the balls in the air. A narcissistic meglomaniac no doubt, but evil–I’m not sure.

Posted by: Heather at December 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm

No one expect all Jews or Orthodox Jews to be be moral. But there is anexpectation that they are more likely to be moral and that someone who taught a corse on Jewish business ethics and who once chaired a NASDAQ self-regulatory committee would not be the largest hypocrite in generations.
And let us not forget that Madoff made use of in-group trust among Jews to take advantage of other Jews.
It has been centuries since someone has been put to death according to the ruling of a Jewish Court. Jews have not been sovereign for a long time and Talmudic rulings have made application of the death penalty almost impossible. Moreover, theft and fraud are not capital offenses. Nonetheless, an exception would be nice “pour encourager les autres”.
The man does not deserve house arrest in his opulent home. He should be in general holding at Rikers. If accidents happen, what a shame.

Posted by: RonL at December 29, 2008 at 12:53 am
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