NewsBits: Around the Web

Stories making news this morning touching on the world of Jewish philanthropy.

from Pro Publica:

Madoff Client Jeffry Picower Netted $5 Billion – Likely More Than Madoff Himself

It is rare these days to see Bernard Madoff’s name in print unaccompanied by the word “Ponzi.” Yet recent allegations raise the possibility of one key difference between Madoff’s crimes and those of legendary con artist Charles Ponzi. While Ponzi’s scam was under way, Ponzi himself was its biggest beneficiary. It now appears that the biggest winner in Madoff’s scheme may not have been Madoff at all, but a secretive businessman named Jeffry Picower.

Between December 1995 and December 2008, Picower and his family withdrew from their various Madoff accounts $5.1 billion more than they invested with the self-confessed swindler, according to a lawsuit filed by the trustee who is trying to recover money for those Madoff defrauded.

from The Jerusalem Post:

Landver: Jewish Agency going bankrupt

The Jewish Agency is “losing its way” and “going bankrupt” by making personnel cutbacks in the former Soviet Union, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver told the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors Wednesday morning.

“The reduction in the spread of aliya envoys, mainly in the former Soviet Union, could damage the legitimacy of making aliya, the Zionist activities of the emissaries and the inculcation of Jewish values and Israel’s heritage in the process of preparing for aliya,” Landver said.

from Israel National News:

Aguiar Fends Off Challenge to Foundation Leadership

Brazilian-American Jewish philanthropist Guma Kaplan Aguiar has fended off a challenge by a close relative to his right to direct the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation. The case brought against Aguiar by Thomas Scott Kaplan was dismissed last week in a Florida Circuit Court by Judge Robert A. Rosenberg.

Aguiar distributed a total of $25 million last year to various causes, including NBN, March of the Living and a program to provide free Passover meals to needy Jews around the world.