One can perhaps tolerate the views expressed on Tuesday night in semi demented, rich old uncles. But not from a man who purchases and wields political influence at the highest levels. And not from someone who writes for one of the most important newspapers in America. It was embarrassing to witness this anti-intellectual event, particularly at an academic institution that was supposed to be the crown jewel of Judaism's modern Orthodox movement.I was not at the event but there is no dispute that she summarized correctly what went on there. At one point Goldman reported, "Adelson also mentioned, as reported by several media outlets, that the United States should lob a nuclear bomb at a swathe of unpopulated Iranian desert as a means of forcing the Islamic Republic to give up its enrichment program."
My question is why did YU host such an odd event? Perhaps the juxtaposition of names and concerns earlier in the Goldman article helps us understand: "Boteach and Stephens were joined by Yeshiva University president Richard M. Joel, who is currently dealing with the dire fallout from a $380 million class action sex abuse suit brought by former students, and by Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul who is one of the richest men in the world."
Joel suffered a setback at the courts this week regarding the sex abuse lawsuit. From what has been reported, it sounds like the matter will go to trial. He ought to be worried.
So what then is my talmudic Sunday Speculation? That Adelson already has written Joel a blank check to cover the cost of settling the suits. Hence he gets on a panel, gets credibility, and can say whatever he pleases.
And note well, if my speculation is correct, there is nothing at all illegal about what I have described here. Adelson got creds. YU got an evening of panel entertainment. Boteach and Stephens got paid. Everybody wins.
Note further, Adelson is #11 on the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $28.5 billion. If he pays the entire $280 million as a settlement for YU, he will still be worth over $28.2 billion.