It is possible that there are uncharitable motives behind the absence of any Jewish outrage to a ruling with potentially devastating consequences to our community's basic rights. Until he imploded, Bernie Madoff was in a business Jews consider sophisticated and noble, finance. He was a secular Jew who made good on Wall Street and even brought the community pride by becoming chairman of Nasdaq. Rubashkin, by contrast, was essentially a glorified shochet and butcher, the country's largest producer of kosher meat. Rubashkin's beard and black hat were enough to unnerve many Jews. But that his missteps at Agriprocessors highlighted what others consider the unsavory sight of Jewish ritual slaughter all but guaranteed Rubashkin's total abandonment at the hands of American Jewry.Click to read the rest.
THIS EXPLAINS why, in sharp contrast to what is developing in the kosher meat industry, there has been no move afoot to establish something akin to "Hechsher Tzedek," a rabbinic certificate of ethical excellence, for financial institutions. After all, how is it that when so many of the people going to jail on Wall Street turn out to be Jewish, the Modern Orthodox and Conservative movements have not immediately launched a campaign, as they are doing with kosher meat, to evaluate firms that invest Jewish money to ensure that they conform to the highest ethical norms in terms of treatment of employees and overcompensation of dead-beat executives?
Why is it that only kosher meat is being singled out as being in need of ethical reform? I suggest it is because the Jewish community has an obvious sense of discomfort with ritual observances that the non-Jewish world finds confusing or distasteful rather than the Jewish money machine which, when it works soundly, everyone rather enjoys.
To be sure, Judaism commands the highest ethical treatment of animals, including the commandment to feed one's livestock and pets before oneself. Indeed, the whole purpose of shechita is the severing of an animals' carotid arteries leading to death by asphyxiation so that an animal dies without suffering. I for one applaud many of PETA's goals of ensuring humane treatment of animals, even as I decry some of its more radical means, like their comparison of the slaughter of animals to the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust.
BUT LET'S be honest, the hatred that Jewry feels for Rubashkin cannot be completely divorced from his profession as a giant kosher butcher no more than secular Israelis natural scorn for the bearded settlers can be completely divorced from their view of them as religious fanatics who are obstacles to peace. Consider the fact that Israelis have expressed no strong outrage against former Knesset speaker Avrum Burg who recently published a book, highlighted in The New York Times recently, suggesting that "Israeli Arabs are like German Jews during the Second Reich and that the entire society felt eerily like Germany just before the rise of Hitler." Burg adds that "the Israeli government would probably soon pass the equivalent of the Nuremberg laws, with provisions like a prohibition on marriage between Jews and Arabs."
Now who is more of a fanatic? The settlers, or Burg who equates Israel with Hitler but is largely given a pass because of his essentially secular bearing (diminutive yarmulke notwithstanding).
The Madoff scandal gets more interesting now following the suicide of Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, who was found this morning.
The founder of an investment fund that lost $1.4 billion with Bernard Madoff was discovered dead Tuesday after committing suicide at his Manhattan office, marking a grim turn in a scandal that has left investors around the world in financial ruin.
Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, was found sitting at his desk at about 8 a.m. with both wrists slashed, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. A box cutter was found on the floor along with a bottle of sleeping pills on his desk. No suicide note was found.
De la Villehuchet was one of several fund managers to be hit hard in Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Investment funds that lost big to Madoff are also facing backlash and investor lawsuits for not protecting their clients from the alleged fraud.
It is not immediately known what kind of scrutiny de la Villehuchet was facing over his Madoff losses through his Access International Advisors, located on Madison Avenue a couple blocks from Rockefeller Center.