Madoff Scandal Hurting Jewish Orgs–Yeshiva U lost $100 Million

By | Dec 15, 2008
Culture, Latest

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

Another financial drama is having rippling effects in the Jewish community, only, unlike the financial misfortunes of Sheldon Adelson we wrote about last week, this one is despicable.

Bernard Madoff, the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, was arrested Dec. 11 after admitting responsibility for a massive Ponzi scheme. Both JTA and Bloomberg reported on the effects Madoff’s arrest will have on non profits.

JTA says:

The Robert I. Lappin Foundation in Salem, Mass., announced Dec. 12 that it would shut down after losing $8 million — all of its money. And the Chais Family Foundation, which gives out some $12.5 million each year to Jewish causes in Israel, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, announced its closing Dec. 14.

At least one nonprofit is calling out for help in the wake of Madoff’s collapse. The Gift of Life Foundation, a Jewish bone marrow registry that relied heavily on Madoff as a benefactor, announced on its Web site Sunday that it would immediately need to raise $1.8 million to make up for recent losses.

Sources close to Yeshiva University, where Madoff served as treasurer of the board of trustees and board chairman of the university’s Sy Syms School of Business until he resigned last week, said the school has lost at least $100 million. Y.U. officials declined to offer any specifics.

Bloomberg says Madoff played an important role at the Elie Wiesel Foundation, too:

Madoff appeared to handle all the investments of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, the foundation of the 80-year-old Nobel Prize winner and Auschwitz survivor, according its 2006 tax return. The foundation sponsors an annual ethics contest and after-school programs for Ethiopian Jews in Israel, among other programs. Treasurer Elisha Wiesel, Wiesel’s son, didn’t return a call.

These are just snippets of the articles, which include vast lists of non profits, in many spheres of society, that will suffer because of Madoff’s reprehensible actions.

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