Spiritual Leader

Should Mrs. Madoff have reported Bernie?

What does Jewish law say about her responsibility to snitch?
11/22/2009 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Question: Should Mrs. Madoff have reported Bernie? What does Jewish law say about her obligations?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Ruth knew about the Ponzi scheme and that Bernie's crimes were committed while of sound mind and body. From the public record there is little information about Bernie's mental state - aside from indications he is a grade-A sociopath, of course.

So should Ruth have blown the whistle on Bernie? By all means.

Family loyalty cuts deep in Jewish tradition, but not that deep.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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Staff Writer
Who holds the keys to true salvation? In recent years, Jewish interfaith leaders have been carefully parsing new statements of Christian theologians on the subject, raising objections when the Vatican or Evangelical leaders declare that everlasting salvation can come only through belief in Jesus. More recently, militant Islamic clerics have labeled those who don’t believe in Muhammad and Allah as infidels.

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Valerie Leibler was a new member of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in the early 1970s, and she heard occasional remarks about the women's role in the Conservative synagogue. The congregation allowed women to open the ark and read some English prayers from the bima, innovations at the time. "There was a very, very quiet push for women to do more ritually in the shul," she says. Not an organized campaign: "it was pre-feminism."

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Rabbi David Seligson, former spiritual leader of Central Synagogue in Manhattan and a leading figure in the Reform rabbinate, died this week in Manhattan. He was 92 and lived the last two years at the Jewish Home and Hospital in Manhattan. Rabbi Seligson served at Central Synagogue for 25 years, becoming rabbi emeritus upon his retirement in 1972. After serving as an Army chaplain during World War II, he joined Central Synagogue in 1945. He became senior rabbi in 1950.

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Staff Writer
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