To coin a phrase, Bernard Madoff is a very bad man.
His $50 billion hedge fund scheme has done more damage than just steal billions from (Jewish and non-Jewish) charities and the elderly. Bernard Madoff has hurt the Jewish People.
In a post titled Who is Bernard Madoff? Wakeupfromyourslumber.com, a den of anti-Semitism masquerading as a financial blog “free from racism,” wrote:
At Syms, where Madoff is the chairman of the board, “Jewish tradition provides the framework for consideration of ethical issues, an integral part of the student’s education.” Does the “Jewish tradition” taught at Yeshiva U. support giant “Ponzi” schemes like the one run by their chairman? Is this the kind of business they teach the students at Syms? Cheat the “goyim,” i.e. non-Jews, and steal their money?
That is exactly what the Talmud teaches, make no mistake about it. It is the main reason that Jews have been despised and expelled from so many nations throughout history.
There is never an excuse for anti-Semitism. However, there is such a thing as providing cannon fodder to our enemies. In the fall, the ADL reported a rise in anti-Semitism in the wake of the financial crisis because bigots blamed the Jews. As shown above, this incident will only add fuel to that fire.
More importantly, Madoff’s actions are a chillul Hashem, a blaspheming of God. This man, who had supposedly dedicated his life to religious observance, has apparently abandoned the ethics at the core of Judaism. He has effectively cut out the heart of Jewish law – compassion for others – while proclaiming himself religious because of how often he goes to shul or that he wears a kippa. To treat others as we would like to be treated is the ultimate summary of the Torah according to Hillel. Why have we forgotten this?
The Big Lipowsky will be following the fall out from this scandal (and there’s a lot of it) and The Jewish Standard will have coverage in the print edition on Friday. Stay tuned.