9/24/09

Matthew Berger in the Bergen Record: Even on Yom Kippur Jews Won't Forgive Madoff


According to Matthew Berger of the Religion News Service, published as the religion column in the Bergen Record today, even on the most sacred religious day of the year, Yom Kippur, Jews Won't Forgive Bernie Madoff.

We feel uneasy about the selection of this topic for this column.

To us it appears that Berger (probably Jewish) has emphasized that Jews won't forgive this crime because all they really care about is money.

That is not what he says in so many words. That is how it sounds to us.

Of course there are other ways to interpret the choice that Mr. Berger made for the topic of his Yom Kippur religion column.

We are just not that forgiving -- even near Yom Kippur -- of people who take a high religious holiday and use it as an opportunity to grind our noses in the monumental monetary crimes perpetrated by a Jew against many other Jews and non-Jews.

There are other significant things to write about that are going on in Jewish life, in the synagogues, the communities, the State of Israel.

This was a bad choice by Mr. Berger because it caters to a negative stereotype about Jews and connects it with a core religious Jewish holiday.
Madoff's brethren not in forgiving mood
BY MATTHEW E. BERGER

Rabbi Peter Berg plans to remind his congregants this month that the first question God asks when they reach heaven's gates is whether they have dealt honestly in business.

"The rabbis of the Talmud have always believed there is no question that's more important," said Berg, the senior rabbi at The Temple in Atlanta, "because it ultimately gets to honesty and faithfulness and integrity."

It is a lesson that Bernard Madoff may have heard, but certainly didn't adhere to. Madoff pled guilty in June to running one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history. His estimated $65 billion fraud devastated the life savings of millionaires and small investors alike, and destroyed the endowments of numerous charitable groups.

So, in this Jewish season of seeking forgiveness and granting it, the question arises: Should Jews forgive Madoff? Can they?...more...

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