By now most are aware of this week’s scandal that resulted in the arrests of a handful of New Jersey public officials and a number of Syrian Jews from Brooklyn and Deal, some of them rabbis.
Just as we are beginning to put the Madoff scandal behind us – although its repercussions will be felt for months, if not years to come – we have another group of Jews arrested on charges of money laundering and even selling internal organs on the black market. Because the informant that made the arrests possible is the same informant who made possible the political arrests (they are similar charges but different cases), the arrests of these Jews is going to continue grabbing national attention. Just look at recent newspapers and you will see pictures of men in long beards, peyos, and kippot being led away with the disgraced politicians.
We are likely to see one of three basic reactions to this case among the Jewish community:
1. Disgust at what these lundsmen are accused of doing, with a sense of shame and embarrassment.
2. Outrage that the media is focusing so much on the Jewish aspect of this case.
3. Outrage at the accusations but otherwise a wait-and-see attitude because “innocent until proven guilty.”
Of course, we should remember that everybody is innocent until proven guilty. But with the images of rabbis being led away in handcuffs the damage has already been done. The Jewish community has felt the sting of our brethren being accused of wrongdoing. Not that anti-Semites need any excuses to peddle their hatred, but as in the aftermath of Madoff we are likely to see increased activity on the Internet and possibly elsewhere.
The Jewish Standard will have up-to-date news and reactions from within the Jewish community next week as events continue to unfold. Stay tuned.