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Jewish Journal

At least $600 million lost for Jewish charities

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 18, 2008 | 1:49 pm

Photo: GetReligion

I’m not sure how, but the Jerusalem Post ran the numbers on what Bernard Madoff is going to cost Jewish charities. It’s a monster: at least $600 million. And that was before Hadassah reported yesterday that they lost $90 million.

From the JPost:

At least $600 million in Jewish charitable funds have been wiped out by the collapse of Bernard Madoff’s Wall Street investment firm, a partial review by The Jerusalem Post revealed Monday.

Yet much is still hidden about what may amount to the most spectacular financial disaster to hit Jewish life since the Great Depression, with unconfirmed losses totaling up to $1.5 billion.

Furthermore, the Post’s figures do not include billions of dollars lost to individual and family investors, many of whom were the primary donors to Jewish schools, synagogues and communal charities.

Gary Tobin, head of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, had told me the Madoff mess would cost Jewish institutions hundreds of millions of dollars. But it’s hard to actually comprehend what that might mean and look like. I think we’ll start to get an idea as the fallout spreads over the next few weeks. The next domino I expect to see fall will be individuals who lost millions with Madoff and can no longer give to their favorite charity, let alone their least favorite.

On a loosely related note, The Jewish Journal has been getting a lot of attention for our extensive coverage of this story and the shockwaves it has sent through the Jewish community. Variety highlighted our new blog, Swindler’s List, saying it was probably the best place to stay current on Madoff. And Mollie at GetReligion, a friend of The God Blog, wrote in a post about Madoff:

“But if you find the religious angle to be an integral part of the story — and it is — you simply have to read the Jewish Journal. The staff there are all over the biggest Jewish story of the year.”

Much appreciated. You can also stay up on Madoff news by following me on Twitter.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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