A charitable fund that surfaced in a massive federal money laundering and corruption sting, which led to the arrests of dozens of elected and religious officials and others last summer, is now trying to recover more than half a million dollars seized by the FBI.
But federal authorities are seeking permanent forfeiture of the money used – they say – to help fuel a long-running scheme.
The fund, Gmach Shefa Chaim, was one of several charities the government said figured in the lengthy criminal investigation.
from The Jerusalem Post, a first-person account by Haviva Ner-David:
It was around this time last year that my husband, Jacob, and I heard that we had lost a significant chunk of our liquidity to Bernie Madoff. Our money was invested with Ezra Merkin in his fund, which we understood to be a conservative fund. With six kids and both of us in independent professions, it seemed like a good idea to put our savings with him, since we would earn more than if it was in the bank, but would still not be taking any big risks with our money. Our assumption was that he was acting ethically and doing what he told his clients he was doing – investing in a variety of safe investments. In reality, he was giving all of the money in his fund to Madoff.
… I am a rabbi, teacher and writer. I run marriage and wedding preparation seminars for engaged couples, counsel couples and individuals on spiritual and religious matters and teach, especially on matters related to gender and Judaism. I write books and articles. But none of this will support a family of eight in Jerusalem.
from The New York Times:
Blogging on the site FailedMessiah.com, Mr. Rosenberg, 51, has transmuted a combination of muckraking reporting and personal grudge into a must-read digest of the actual and alleged misdeeds of the ultra-Orthodox world…
Operating thousands of miles from the centers of ultra-Orthodox Judaism in Brooklyn and Jerusalem, waking at 3:30 a.m. and working a dozen hours at a stretch in an apartment cluttered with books, Mr. Rosenberg has had his scoops cited by The Wall Street Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, PR Week and Gawker. The national Jewish newspaper The Forward listed him among the 50 most influential American Jews, and the hip, cheeky magazine Heeb put him in its top 100.
from The Australian Jewish News:
Adelaide’s only Jewish school, Massada College, will continue operating this year after members of the Australian Jewish community have rallied to donate to the beleaguered school.
Primary among donors was Melbourne-based philanthropist Joseph Gutnick who has give the college $100,000.
from The Jerusalem Post:
The announcement late Wednesday night that Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef – who has been the Hadassah Medical Organization’s director-general for nine years – will leave his post 12 months from now is tragic.
The HMO is not only losing an outstanding and much-respected medical administrator; his departure reflects the waning of HMO, its benefactor the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) and many other ageing institutions in Israel and Jewish institutions abroad.
… Hadassah’s medical centers have, sadly, lost some of their attractiveness. Numerous outstanding department heads and young researchers and physicians have departed to join its Jerusalem competitor, Shaare Zedek Medical Center – which is flourishing – and to hospitals in the Dan region and around the country. A few decades ago, being hired by Hadassah was regarded as the pinnacle of one’s career from which one would only go on pension. Although it still has some outstanding personnel and performs high-level medicine, it is harder than ever to attract new medical stars to Hadassah from other hospitals and from abroad. HMO’s official explanation for this – that a top institution is flattered by seeing its “children” snapped up by others because of their excellence – is no longer credible.
HWZOA itself is in decline, pounded by US intermarriage, assimilation and apathy of the younger generation of Jews and left with waning energy and funding (thanks, in part, to imprisoned con-man Bernard Madoff). The same goes for Hadassah’s volunteer-woman power, because nearly all potential leaders are too busy earning a living and building a career.
… The fading glory of HMO despite Mor-Yosef’s efforts echoes the diminution and atrophy of many long-powerful and prestigious Israeli institutions, from the Knesset, the Histadrut labor federation and the Israel Broadcasting Authority to the political parties, newspapers and the educational system, including some of the universities. It behooves the government and the State of Israel to take note.