Weekend at Bernie Madoff’s


If only he had died before hatching his Ponzi scheme.

What few celebrations are still planned for International Human Rights Week, which is winding down and ends tomorrow, one thing is clear: Bernie Madoff isn’t invited.

Nothing could be further from “human rights” than Madoff’s scheme, short of his taking a machine gun and going berserk.

A shanda we’re talking about. The Yiddish word for shame/scandal fits well — particularly the expression “a shanda fur die goy,” which means doing something embarrassing to Jews where non-Jews can observe it.

Check out Laurence Leamer‘s enlightening December 12 piece on HuffPost, “Bernard Madoff and the Jews of Palm Beach,” for more on this moneychanger who hung out in temples instead of being driven from them.

Don’t call me a self-hating Jew. Jew-haters will relish this sorry episode; look for an outbreak of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, which has such a strong history of it.

The rest of you can restrict your hate to Madoff, the exclusive-club guy who scammed his co-religionists in much the same way that Christian evangelists fleece their flocks. Few religions are immune: Muslims even blow themselves up for their “faith.”

This Madoff situation is kind of the reverse of Weekend at Bernie’s, the 1989 comedy in which the title character dies and a couple of employees prop him up to pretend to others that he’s still alive.

Madoff, however, is no joke. The Wall Street goniff’s shanda is crippling the world — including the crippled children treated at the hospitals that invested millions of dollars in his Ponzi scam.

Like the Long Island Jewish Hospital chain, which, as Newsday reports, lost $5.7 million. It was only that relatively small amount for the heavily endowed hospital, the paper says, because some schnook stipulated that the hospital invest his donation with Madoff.

Madoff’s alma mater, Hofstra, placed him on leave from his post as a trustee. But Yeshiva University, here in the city, has made Madoff disappear. Bernie was a trustee there, too, but the school’s webmeisters are frantically scrubbing all mention of him on the Yeshiva site.

That won’t stop people from knowing that, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (the Jewish establishment’s main news wire) reports, Yeshiva was “hit hard” by Madoff’s scheming:

Sources close to the university, the flagship institution of Modern Orthodoxy, told JTA that the school has lost tens of millions of dollars if not more. Y.U. released an official statement saying it would not officially address the matter at this time.

How embarrassing, especially fur die goyim, that Madoff was chairman of Yeshiva’s Sy Syms School of Business. That’s the same Syms whose clothing stores spout the slogan “An Educated Consumer is Our Best Customer.”

That’s the way Bernie Madoff must have seen it while he bilked his rich, well-educated investors.