‘Embarrassed that Madoff is a Jew’

‘Embarrassed that Madoff is a Jew’

Rabbi Shmulei Boteach states (Dec. 19), “The Jewish community had better get serious about the cancer that’s growing inside it. The devastation on Wall Street carries a lot of Jewish names, from firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to individuals like Bernard Madoff and his $50 billion Ponzi scheme and lawyer Mark Dreier, accused of swindling investors. If you go to the Internet you’ll see that more people who don’t like us are beginning to connect the dots pointing out that there are an awful lot of Jews who bear responsibility for Wall Street’s fall.”

I am not worried that “more people … don’t like us.” As a Jew I am greatly embarrassed that Bernard Madoff is a Jew. My concern is that he has been preying on his co-religionists. He exploited his Jewish friends and used many of them as “agents” for acquiring new clients. He bilked Jewish charities and exploited his own Jewish community in which he was recognized as a major philanthropist. Finally, his behavior was devoid of the most elementary loyalty for the members of his ethnic group. Even among sub-human species, the law of the jungle prohibits hurting those of your own kind.

As to any unfriendly reactions to the Madoff scheme by the non-Jews, we have become used for centuries to anti-Semitic provocations and we no longer have deep concerns about how to resist them.

At this point let me also cite my view regarding an example of pathetic insecurity exhibited by many of our Christian neighbors. During recent history, the Jews of the diaspora have been accused of an “insidious” behavioral paradox. At one end, using their amassed wealth, the Jews were guilty of “controlling” the capitalist economies of Europe. At the other end, Jews, in large numbers were identified as being among the leaders of Communist movements, poised to help dislodge “exploitative” capitalism and bring “justice” to the oppressed masses.

The breadth of our skills is truly remarkable!