New York – Bernard Madoff Pulled Off The Biggest Ponzi Scheme In The World, and the Shame of the Jews


    The former Nasdaq stock market chairman and chairman of Sy Syms business school of Yeshiva UnivirstyNew York – Bernard Madoff is a member in good standing of the Palm Beach Country Club, the exclusive Jewish club on the North End of the island. When I would talk to friends and acquaintances who were members, they often chatted about good old Bernie. The 70-year-old Madoff had been the chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange. He was a brilliantly successful money manager who may well have handled the assets of a majority of the 300 members as well as that of those of a largely Jewish clientele across the eastern United States and a number of wealthy WASPS.

    Bernard and Ruth Madoff bought their home on North Lake Way in 1967, and are among the most long standing members of the club. The Palm Beach Country Club is the ultimate symbol of the Jewish ascendency. Unlike the WASP clubs, to join you have to have made major charitable contributions. You also have to have made your fortune in clean ways. There are no garbage magnates, no slum lords. You have to be a person of character. And there was no one more revered and honored than Bernard Madoff.

    Earlier this year I gave a talk at the club about my forthcoming book, Madness Under the Royal Palms. There were people in the room who are in my book and I avoided talking about them or anything that I thought might irritate or offend. I’ve been doing this sort of thing for years and I can take a few amusing anecdotes and strung them together into something that’s not too painful and generally brings smiles if not laughter. But this afternoon there was dead silence. Nobody found anything I said amusing. In retrospect, I realize that these people had come to a bastion of anti-Semitism where Jews could not even enter the Breakers Hotel until 1965, and they had made the island theirs. And here I was to their minds mocking this world they had made their own. They found it profoundly unsettling.

    People in Palm Beach sort themselves out into the group in which they belong based largely on how much money they have. Even the poorest of the islanders seem to have everything yet joy proves elusive, even for the country club members, because there is always someone richer or better socially connected. Joy is driving out of your 35,000-square-foot mansion in your Bentley and tooling up to the entrance of Mar-a-Lago for your fifteenth ball of the season, the valet parkers salivating at the chance to take your car and the prospect of a twenty-dollar tip. Joy is having a wife younger and thinner than any of the other wives at your table. Joy is subtly announced during dinner that your hedge fund scored 33 percent last year, while that of the arrogant son of a bitch across the table with the fat wife scored only 17 percent.

    Those with the biggest financial gains generally had their money managed by Madoff. It was an honor having him handle your fortune. He didn’t take just anybody. He turned down all kinds of people, and that made you want to give the man even more of your money. When he took your fortune, he told you that he would tell you nothing about how he achieved his returns. He was a god. He had the Midas touch.

    Yesterday Madoff was arrested and accused of running what probably will prove the greatest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world. He may have dissipated as much as fifty billion dollars into nothing. For the elite Jewish world, it is a curse of almost biblical proportion. I was at a dinner party last night and one of the guests called on his cell phone a man whose money Madoff had managed. I know the man and he is a generous, kind person who recently gave away over a hundred million dollars. He said that both his company’s retirement plan and his charitable foundation had been handled by Madoff. He was preparing to fly back to his Boston home to walk among the ruins. It’s a story told scores of times yesterday. Bankruptcy. Despair.

    There was one largely Jewish charity event last evening. “It was like the Titanic,” one attendee said. “The ship was sinking, and people were crying, ‘I lost this and that.’And everybody was drunk. The Titanic was going down and we might as well carry on.”

    There is a feeling of incredible shame, embarrassment, of exposure, as if their whole world has been exposed as jerry built. Many of these people thought they were smarter than everybody else. They thought they deserved higher returns because they were who they were and you and I aren’t. And now it’s all over.

    This evening the synagogues in Palm Beach will be full. And there will be men and women listening to the truths of a great and ancient faith as they have never listened before.

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    1. We in Boro Park, Williamsburg were close to falling into this Palm Beach Lifestyle with everyone trying to outdo , “outcar” and “outMansion” every one else. Let’s hope that one of the positive things resulting from these hard times will be that people will realize that Real success is WHO you are, and NOT what you have. What type of family you raise and Not the type of car you drive.

      • I agree, time to focus on the family and children and the simple loving things in life and not all the luxury shtus we have all chased for so long (those who have gotten there know well it brings no happiness – me included)

    2. “He has homes in Roslyn, N.Y., Montauk, Long Island, an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side valued at more than $5 million, and a 55-foot fishing boat, named “Bull.””

      I think a better name would’ve been bulls***

    3. I know a guy who is loaded, yet you would never know. He looks like he fell out of dumpster. He has only driven 2 new cars in his 81 years on this planet. But the guy is a big ba’al tzedakah, and plans to give away a sizeable chunk of his fortune.
      Interestingly, he is not frum at all. But he loves those who are real about their “frumkeit.”

      I tell my wife that we should be lucky to give 25% of what this guy gives away. We should be lucky to be at peace with ourselves and our friends as this guy and his wife are with their friends.

      Remember all the money in the world cannot buy you a good name in this world, and a piece of olam haba.

    4. I hope that YU will have a forum on chilul Hashem and choshen mishpat (or business ethics and codes – it’s really much more than ethics) just like they hosted a forum on ethics in the shechita industry and to promote the wonderful hechshaer tzedek.
      Bernie Maddof is the gem of the YU Sy Syms school of business. Can’t wait for a hechsher tzedek for business people.

      • it’s EMES (true) THIS guy does’nt represent klal yisruel , let’s not feel guilty . its a private person who ? did something not right …. mr obama is not blamed if someone his religion or color does some thing real bad ie. world trade center twice , bombay etc.

      • Unfortunately we are painted with a broad brush. The world does not think of us with Dr. Waxman and Dr. Salk . History painted us with Trotzki , Bela Kun and Pauker. We must live with a responsibility for klal yisroel

      • Perhaps our biggest downfall is the lack of unification in Klal Yisroel. Yes he is one and not all Jews, but “If someone says Loshon Hara in Lita, someone will eat treif in France”. We are all responsible for the perfection of the Jewish people.

    5. This should be a lesson for all the heimisha materialistic types that worship money. Maybe now as the economy shrinks each passing day the young spoiled brat couples who need fancy leased cars and luxurys that they never sweated for will be shocked into reality. The economy is fallingh fast and people will have to change their lifestyles or do illegal thinmgs to survive. Instead of paying 1500 or more for a treimel maybe some real rebbe would get up and put on a 20 dollar fake streimel and make his chassidim do the same.Instead of people spending 20 dollars on breakfast let them buy a bagel or 2 and smear their own bread for a fraction of the cost.Instead of drinking sweet sodas let the drink water.

      • When i bought my shtreimel for 1500 ppl were awed at how little i spent. Most ppl spend up to 4000! point is the same we have to get used to a different quality of life something deeper!

    6. Once again, guilty until proven innocent. I am in debt up the kazoo, gonna probaly lose the house, drive a beat up car, no vacation or fancy clothes for my family. But we don’t know for a fact this guy cheated anybody. Obviously something’s wrong, but we don’t know exactly what, so maybe instead of speculating we should consider this. The higher you are the harder you fall. I may be broke but at least I have my good name. I feel sorry for him

    7. The one thing we got to know is that hashem gives and take when you have money its not your clevernes and when you don’t have its not your stupidy its all from hashem and you can’t fight city hall …and we don’t know nothing about mr madof something smells wrong when you are speaking of FIFTY BILLION after all this years what the SECOND goes after every high profile company all off a sudden his whole company was a scam give me a break something is wrong it does not make scense the only thing I can say is MASHPIL GEIM ADIE OORETZ IMAGBIHA SHEFOOLIM ADI MOOROIM

    8. We must remember and remind others that for every Jewish crook we have 10,000
      Jews that we are proud of: Physicians, Dentists, Pharmacists, Lawyers, Accountants,
      Veterinarians, Engineers, Hospitality Industry, Teachers, Diplomats, Commissioned
      Officers, Professors, Clergy, Urban Planners, Architects, Physical Therapists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Chiropractors, Social Workers, etc,etc.

    9. And to think brilliant Pompous A– Harvard grad J Ezra Merkin was dumb enough to throw all his eggs into this guys basket. The aibershter feert the Velt and now he is reminding all the rich people who is boss.

      • I hope he didn’t lay all his eggs in one basket, because I don’t think he only managed his own money,it is possible he had the Merkin Family foundation money too, I sure hope that wasn’t there.
        He has a very Choshuve brother, a Talmud Chochom & Yorei Shomayim, an emesse Ben Torah. Who is in Torah Umesorah, & has been a Rov in Kehilos arround the US.
        Don’t make him sound bad, he for sure has done nothing wrong.

    10. For all of you chassidim haters here’s one for you!
      For the next 20 years i don’t want to hear about how we chassidim are a disgrace and cause so much chillul hashem because we don’t have an education we take programs ect. Here’s you have somebody that offically had one of the best educations a succesful business man … That committed the single biggest fraud in the history of the world and probobly a big chillul hashem too and will definitly bring more anti semitism to us . So stop writing about the cost of a shtraimel and admit the one your kind of guys that’s classy clean educated they you want us to look like screwed up and big time.
      All the fraud ect.. From all chassidim in the past sixty years does not even add up to a tenth of what this ganev did .

    11. Why is it, that in regard to Moshe Rubashkin or Sholom Rubashkin, we have organized busses to bring yidden to go to the court to be “Melitz Yosher” for the admited Criminal (Moshe Rubashkin Plead Guilty) and we have asked all of Klal Yisroel to write letters and say Tehilim for Moshe Rubashkin who plead guilty and for Sholom Rubashkin who is charged with THOUSANDS of charges….

      The Rubashkins were all Big Baaley Chesed and gave a lot of Tzedaka, but this Bernard Madoff gave many millions MORE of Tzedaka than Rubashkin did!!!!!!!

      Why is there no call to say Tehilim for Hatzadik, HaBaal Chesed, Reb Bernard Madoff ?

      Do we have rachmonos only for someone who’s external appearance is similar to our own?

      Why is it that in regard to Agriprocessors everyone was being Melitz Yosher on them and being melamed Zchus on them for “SO MUCH CHESED” and we have not heard one good word, being said for Bernard Madoff who gave countless MILLIONS for Tzedaka.

      No one is too vocal about Bernard Madoff saying “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” but everyone was saying that exact same thing for Sholom Rubashkin.

      So everyone here understands that Tzedaka Money that Bernard Madoff gave was Non-Kosher-Money, so how can we praise him for giving Tzedaka with “stolen Money”????

      But Rubashkins Money given for Tzedaka….he also owes 35 Million to the Banks not because of “falling on hard times” but plain and simple fraud, according to the Banks.

      It seems that we have a double standard that if someones external appearance resembles a “heimishe” then we are Melamed Zchus, yell “Innocent Until Proven Guilty and we claim everything is only Anti Semiteism” but if he doesn’t look like a Lakewood’er Yeshiva man or not like a Frum Chassidishe Type, then we judge him for who he is (for real) rather than trying to downplay his crimes, as we have done with the Rubashkin Family?????

      Why isn’t everyone here MELAMED ZCHUS on Reb Bernard Madoff by making the same stupid analogy (like we did for Rubashkin by saying) “everyone does it (some little crime here or there)” because maybe you didn’t check the ID Card of your Cleaning Lady and maybe you didn’t report her income ior maybe you paid cash for your purchase and owe a drop of sales tax????

      Where are all of out TZADIKIM-lach….. screaming “”Loshon Hora”?

      Why isn’t anyone saying that:
      We DARE NOT talk “LOSHON HORA”, Chas vesholom, against the Tzadik Hakodosh, Reb Bernard Madoff, Shelita, the Giant Baal Tzedaka, who gave 10s of millions for Tzedaka ???????

      • Do you maybe work for PETA.
        What a headpiece you have on to compare a flat out ganev that took money for twenty years with the intent to steal and never give back to someone who actually has and was running a huge business infrastructure that has gone bad because the unions and peta decided that they wanna bring them down in the name of law.
        Time to admit you can’t blame chassidim for everything just like the libs blame bush for everything.
        Put your head in the sand for a while this aint going away so fast.

      • Nobody could be this stupid. Rubashkin ran a business; unfortunately the government decided to make him a scapegoat, and ruined him. That doesn’t affect who he is – an ish chesed in his very essence. He didn’t steal from anybody; the $35M was a LINE OF CREDIT, not an outright loan — he owes whatever was outstanding on it, not the whole $35M. If you read the indictment, every penny that was diverted away from the A/R account was paid in later, so any “fraud” is at most technical.

        Madoff, on the other hand, never had a business in the first place. It was a ponzi scheme, not a business. That means ALL the money was stolen, from the very first day that he set himself up, and it’s easy to be generous with other people’s money. Not like the Rubashkins, who are truly generous people, and give of THEMSELVES, whatever they happen to have; Madoff gave some of the money that he stole. That’s very different.

      • There’s nothing wrong with being rich – so long as it’s your money, not someone else’s. The problem with this guy is not that he got rich, but that he never had a business in the first place. He just ripped people off.

      • Wow i think i remeber you from my class in harvard .
        Wow! what a comment what are you drinking to compare a flat out ponzi scheme to a business with over 1000 or more employies. World wide gone bad because big brother decided to take them down .

        • If Jail is considered “Sakonas Nefoshos” for yid, because a a Yid can get Raped or Killed in Jail, then it doesn’t matter if someone is a small Ganev or a Big Ganev.

          No matter how big of a Ganev someone is, regardless if he stole one cent or if he stole one trillion dollars – there is no ONESH MOVES for Geneva.

          A Ganev is a bad thing but a Ganev is not CHAYAV MISA.

          A Yid, going to Jail, can easily get Killed on infected with deadly diseases.

          So why aren’t we saying Tehilim for him?

          Or at least be Melitz Yosher to get him a lesser sentence, of less years in Jail so that we can minimize his risk of getting Killed in Jail.

      • answer is simple “our” mosdos benefited from rubashkin so we are behind him in his hard times.we hope that zahal,magen david edom,yu and all”better” jewish causes will be there for mr. maidof

        • I don’t know whose mosdos benefited from Rubashkin. As far as I know they didn’t give much to “mosdos”, they gave to aniyim, both directly or through mosdos that word directly with aniyim. For instance they were not known as giving much to Lubavitcher mosdos, except for Kupas R Meir Baal Haness – Colel Chabad, which is a pure chesed organisation providing food and services directly to aniyim. They gave free or discounted meat to a lot of people who couldn’t afford it. Mrs. Rubashkin’s restaurant gives away more food than it sells; it’s essentially like Masbia, except that non-aniyim can also buy a meal there, so nobody has to feel ashamed going there. They give of themselves, of their own time and their own comfort and their own family privacy. How many people have shown up on their doorsteps, in need, and been taken in without any questions? How many other people would do something like that, time and again?

        • You are putting it even more bluntly than the person who sayd that we have a “double standard”.

          The way you put it, we are simply being SELFISH.

          If “our mosdos” got the Tzedaka, then we feel the pinch and so we say Tehilim for him and send our own Kehila on chartered busses to be Melitz Yosher to the court and write letters to the judge, begging for a slightly reduced jail sentence.

          But if the Tzedaka didn’t go to “OUR” Mosdos, the we could care less if he is a “YID” per say or even a frum yid or not….

          We care only (to say tehilim) to save a Yids LIFE from being Killed in Jail, only if the Tzedaka Dollars went to “OUR” own pocket of one of “OUR” own personal “heimishe” mosdos.

          • we have to help every jew,however sending buses and being mevatel torah to help somebody that brought misfortune on himself is done as hakaras hatov-“our”mosdos and uneducated heimishe shleppers have no hakoras hatov to mr maidof. did any mosdos hatora receive large donations from mr maidoff? did the shulchon aruch guide him.i do not want to pasken but is he shabbos observant?

        • Stop rationalizing and admit the truth.

          Moshe Rubashkin also “admitted” all his crimes of Federal Felony Check Fraud (his first time in Jail) and admitted to the current crimes he was sentenced to Jail, recently again, also Federal Crimes.

          The Emes is that it’s not about the type of “crime” but rather our sympathy depends only on the type of “person” – i.e. what his external appearance looks like.

          If he looks like a Heimishe, then we care and if he looks like “Hardly even frum if at all”, then we could care less if he is thrown to the dogs.

          For the exact same reason “OUR MOSDOS” cover up and defend and white-wash our own heimish SICK Melamdim who Molest Heimish Children in our own Heimishe Yeshivos.

          The reason we “protect them” and cover up and we say it “can’t be” because he is such a big Baal Chesed or such a fine Melamed or has such a long beard or such long Peius or such long white socks etc…

          We Judge a Book by it’s Cover.

          If he Looks Heimish we “protect him” if he looks like “one of THEM” (not one of “US”) we could care less,

      • You are forgetting one small point – Bernard Madoff was the one who told people that he was guilty – his sons turned him in to authorities (no doubt in a move designed with their father to remove guilt from themselves)….

    12. I see chasidim driving cadillacs. I see sephardim driving mercedes. I see agudah people building mansions on east 23rd street. I see modern vacationing in the bahamas. this is all show off – not the jewish way. The world will look at us and say – all the rich jews swindling us for our money. Why can we not just live nicely, give tzadak, build lasting institutions, and not show off. When well all the rabbaim say enough. Its all going to bite us back in the end if we dont pull back how we show off.

    13. And all the smart people who had money have nothing now. All we will see is dummies that somehow are really rich and we will scrath out heads and wonder how on earth “smart people” are poor and dummies are running around laughing all the way to the bank!

    14. #17. You are 100 perecent right …the only difference is that rubashkin we all know and is aheimishe guy so we say tehillim for him …on the other side we don’t know mr madof and never heard of him but you sound like you do know him and all his tzedokeh he gave out so you should say tehilim for him

      • Why should we say tehilim because he wiped out peoples entire livelyhood or because that the people who entrusted him with all they had overnight went from rich to poor .how many people will have heart attacks or other ilnesses because of this fraudster let him rot in jail he’s no different than a mass murderer just instead of their lives he took their livelyhood and peace of mind .
        I have no pitty on him at all every penny of charity was stolen money maybe the should return it to the people who could now actually be on thr recieving end.

    15. (“Reb”) Bernard Madoff is more than 70 years old.

      If for someone young and healthy, Jail is Sakonas Nefoshos and we have to say Tehilim for him, then it’s for sure, that for the average 70 Year Old, who likely has a touch of High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Risk of Hear Disease or just being run down from old age, for sure, he may not come out alive if he spends much time in Jail.

      We have to Daven for him and put out a lot Kol Korah’s (signed by all Gedloye Yisroel) and to be Marish Olomos to save his life from POTENTIAL DEATH in Jail.

      Why aren’t we saying Tehilim to save the life of “Reb” Bernard Madoff from Sakonas Nefoshos in Jail.

      The real answer is simply because we could care less for someone who doesn’t LOOK like one of “US” (Heimshe).

      We don’t want to admit it, because we are too ashmed….. but it true!

    16. My freinds
      why do you care about the price of a shtreiml?
      whoever wants to buy it even for 4000$ what do you care? how this affects you?
      what do you care if another guy is driving a caddy, or a honda, if you don’t care what you drivem, why do you care about your fellow? why do you think that he is showing off? maybe he likes to drive this car and is his money, not yours.
      what do you mean” we have to stop” if you want to astop, do it, let other ppl live their lives!
      Bernie Maddoff gave milions of dollars of tzedaka.
      I really just saw a post here about the ponzi scheme, I really don’t know what happened
      But it is impossible to think that 50 billions were given to Bernie, and nobody knew what he was doing with the money.

    17. I find it interesting that this scandal broke a few days after the YU hosted the self righteous “ethics” forum, which was entirely based on bashing Rubashkin. Mum shebecha al tagid lechavaircha?

      • You don’t understand that the entire thing was one big planed game?

        He was not stupid and even a child knows that every Poniz scam is destined to collapse eventually.

        He trusted no one, to know his darkest secrets and kept everything inside the family (with his children).

        So what was he thinking?

        How was he going to keep his family out of jail, even if he can’t keep himself out of jail?

        The simple answer is he puts up a show, that his own children didn’t know anything and then to make it look even better he tels his children “please turn me in” so that you will not be accused of being partners in coveriing up my crime.

        It’s the perfect Crime and so far it’s working. His children get to keep all the millions or billions and never face Jail because they were kaviyochol conned too, just like everyone else.

        That’s what the father asked them to do, once the father realized that he can’t pay out the 7 billion (people were asking for their investement capital to be returned) and so he knew he was going to be busted for sure and there was no way out…

        So he told his children, that rather then getting busted and the entire family goes down, “you turn me in” so that the rest of the family appears to have “busted” the case (when we all know that it was going to break anyway and was inevitable).

        So far the “trick” is working perfectly and the children are not being charged as of now.

        But every dog has his day.

    18. There should equal compassion extended to ALL jews regardless of their appearances!! Shame on Mr.Madoff’s sons for turning him in to the feds!!!!! They have lived a cushioned lifestyle thanks to their father. I guess they have no use for him anymore.

      Please post his name so we can say tehillim for him.

    19. 1) although i will acknowledge there is truth to that point that we feel and care more about a heimish person than non heimish, this is nature in society, and it is a fact, just take into account the fact that the same we share on the “positive” ( caring and feelings) the same we share on the “negative” ( bashing and hatred, eisov sonei l’yakov) which the non heimish dont have, because he is not identified with it, so it is a package deal we share the good and the bad alike.

      2) with the point of double standerd, yet we should not judge by there lookings (chitzoniyes) rather judged by there actions, so i look at it with a whole diffrent prespective: there is quite a distinction between these two, i really dont get it, to compare rubashkin with maddof ?????

      maddof was litterly a ganev his whole bussiness model was a shtick ganiva and of historic proportions, dont say tehilim for him and let him get his panelty and be in prison for the rest of his life.

      verses rubashkin was a bussines for good reasons, unfortuntly he find himself in trouble, and he made stupid, illegal things to survive but at least his intensions was good, therefore say tehilim for them.

    20. One would like to think the world can look at this moral debacle and not judge all Jews unfavorably, but we know that is not the case. For those pre-disposed to hating Jews this is cannon fodder. When a Presbyterian or a Baptist screws up, have you ever heard anyone say “well that’s the way they all are.” ? No. But for the Jews, we claim to be the Chosen People, so we are held to a higher standard by G-d and man. So when one Jew screws up, all Jews are held responsible and “that’s the way they all are” is the centuries old battle cry of the anti-semites.

      The Rambam understood this and explained his definition of a chillul HaShem and Kiddish HaShem this way…when a Jew behaves in a shameful and bad manner, causing the non-Jewish world to condemn the Jewish people and the G-d they worship, that is a chillul HaShem. But, when a Jew behaves with integrity, humanity, and kindness, causing the non-Jews to take note and say, how wonderful are these people and the G-d they serve–that is a Kiddish HaShem.

      May our people’s goodness and decency not be tarnished by those few among us whose greed and arrogance blinded them from the true teachings of our Holy Torah.


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