Oy! Madoff Scandal Stirs Anti-Semitic Glee in Palm Beach

"It's been very painful for all of us. We say Justice, justice you shall pursue,'" said one woman who did not wish to be identified. "Well, I hope there will be justice for him, that he will have to pay for how he's hurt so many people."

Another worshiper, who also would not give his name, said "it's devastating" when asked about Madoff's effect on the Jewish community in Palm Beach.

But it was not only wealthy Jewish investors that were hit hard by Madoff. Prominent Jewish charities lost possibly up to tens or hundreds of millions, forcing some to close their doors for good.

Jewish Charities Rocked by Madoff Scandal

New York real estate developer and media mogul Mort Zuckerman's charitable trust lost $30 million. The foundation of author and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel lost over $15 million. New York's Yeshiva University had invested an estimated $14.5 million with Madoff.

The Massachusetts-based Robert I. Lappin Foundation, a group which offered teens free trips to Israel, shut down after losing all of their money to Madoff.

"It's an atomic bomb in the world of Jewish philanthropy," Mark Charendoff, President of the Jewish Funders Network, said following Madoff's arrest. "There's going to be fallout from this for years."

Prominent members of the Palm Beach Country Club prided themselves on their philanthropic ways, of which Jewish charities were the main beneficiaries.

"All the changes, all the cultural advances in Palm Beach County overwhelmingly has been Jewish money," said Leamer. "You have to give charity to become part of the Palm Beach Country Club." Many members likely donated money to the same organizations now rocked by the Madoff scandal.

"Just at a time when the Jews in Palm Beach reached their ascendancy, where they were now a majority on this island, this disaster happens," said Leamer, "this disaster of unimaginable magnitude."

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