Madoff: A Hilul Hashem

This post is maddening and saddening, might as look at beauty.
This post is maddening and saddening, might as look at beauty.

What is a hilul Hashem? Bernard Madoff.
(or you can read Therapydoc’s interpretation – the trench coat and the boys is a good analogy for doing the right thing)

Among the many philantropies that have suffered losses because of this guy’s schemes are Yeshiva University (which my husband and father attended), Maimonides School in Brookline, MA (which I attended for twelve years), Ramaz, SAR Academy, The Robert I. Lappin Foundation, Chais Family Foundation, the Gift of Life Foundation, a Jewish bone marrow registry, Yad Sarah … the list goes on.

A bit on Yad Sarah:

Yad Sarah, the largest voluntary organization in Israel, provides a spectrum of free or nominal cost services designed to make life easier for sick, disabled and elderly people and their families.

 JTA article on Madoff Scandal
 Jeffrey Woolf Heartbreak: Madoff Fallout

Our rabbi is glad the Ponzi scheme is not named after Madoff, even though Madoff ripped off many more than the original Ponzi. In a Ponzi scheme, you reward the first investor by giving them money from the second investor…until the whole thing collapses.

In a search for something positive to say, Tzvee Zahavy writes about driving Rav Soloveitchik in the early seventies:

During one such drive around 1971, with some concern I inquired about what the Rav thought about the serious financial crisis of that time that YU faced. I was surprised to hear both the certainty and the flavor of the Rav’s response to me. He said: “The Yeshiva has survived many serious financial crises for many years and I am sure it will survive many more serious financial crises for many more years.”

(Hat tip: Rebbetzin’s Husband)

10 thoughts on “Madoff: A Hilul Hashem

  • Thanks Leora for writing about this scandal. I still don’t get how he could have done that (I mean ethically, not technically of course).
    Sorry but the link to the Rebbetzin’s Husband doesn’t work.

  • Madoff should be ashamed but he walks around with a snooty,satisfied look on his face! Did you know that he can go out in the daytime and only is under house arrest at night?!!

    Leora, thank you for commenting at my Hanukkah post. I got my info from Wikipedia – feel free to correct anything you think isn’t correct… 🙂

  • Mary, we get terribly upset when it’s one of our own. Especially when he’s supported Jewish education that is supposed to be teaching that people are supposed to do good for each other. It doesn’t feel good at all.

    Thanks for commenting.

  • I too went to Maimonides…and plenty of its graduates learned to play the game of pretending to know more than they actually knew when climbing professionally and demanding high salaries and fees. It’s an Orthodox country day school with many millions in buildings and grounds. Losing a few million dollars is, for Maimonides, no more serious than it would be for Harvard to lose a couple of billion out of its $150 billion endowment. Maimonides is good for engineering its graduates’ acceptance to big name colleges, not for instilling straighforward decency and honesty in its students.

  • Simcha, my father would be disappointed to hear your view point. I have different reasons for not being crazy about the school (no room for self-expression or creativity), but I’m not sure any school is terribly good at instilling ethics. That really must be learned at home.

    I don’t know how much Harvard gives in scholarships, but I do know (from a board member) that Maimonides gives a LOT. That’s who really suffers, the tzedekah recipients.

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