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July 3, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 3, 2009 Madoff's victims: Moving on, yet mesmerize d by the spectacle victims, including Faber's organization, out of up to $65 billion. The AJCongress lost $21 million--90 percent of its endowment--in Madoff's Ponzi scheme, forcing the organization to lay off25 staff members. On June 29, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Madoff to 150 years in prison, the maximum penalty for his crimes. "I have left a legacy of shame," Madoff said in the Manhattan courtroom before his sentencing, according to media reports. "This is some- thing I will live in for the rest of my life." Madoff's shame was little solace for some of those he hurt. "Mr. Madoff is not going to find any sympathy from us," said Marc Stern, acting co-executive director of A J- Congress. "There has been a 150-year sentence in the case of a 71-year-old man. It is not in practical terms very great, but in symbolic terms it is very significant." By Jacob Berkman NEW YORK (JTA)--For Belle Faber, the sentencing of Bernard Madoff felt surreal. Television coverage of the event June 29 was being pro- jected on a screen in the con- ference room of the American Jewish Congress, one of the Jewish nonprofits hit hardest by Madoff's thievery. Faber, the organization's develop- ment director for nearly 25 years, had retreated into her office to watch CNN by herself. The archival footage of Madoff flickering across the screen showed the person that had sat across from Faber numerous times in the offices of AJCongress, which Madoff once served as a board mem- ber. Faber even knew Madoff's wife, Ruth, and recently came across an old note she wrote to the Madoffs wishing them a good trip to Florida. Who could have known then what Madoff was doing? Still, Faber says, she doesn't wish vengeance on Madoff, even though he bilked his "It doesn't give us our $20 million back," Stern went on. "That is inherent in these sorts of processes. It is satis- faction mixed with the reality that it does not undo the harm that he did." For some charities deci- mated by Madoff, things will never be the same. The Robert I. Lappin Foun- dation, whose entire $8 mil- lion in assets was wiped out by Madoff's scheme, was transformed by the loss. It used to fund programs such as Youth to Israel, which sends kids from Mas- sachusetts on free trips to Israel, out of its own once deep pockets; now the foundation must raise funds to survive. New programs, like one that would have sent teachers to Israel, have been put on hold, according to Deboah Coitin, the foundation's executive director. "If I was to sum it up, justice was served. What else is there to say?" Coltin told JTA. "The Lappin Foundation has been able to pick up and move on. We haven't been thinking about it." One Madoff victim, Carla Hirschhorn, who lost her entire $7 million in savings in Madoff's scheme, called her life a "living hell." She said her mother is now dependent on Social Security and her daughter works two jobs to pay tuition. Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate who saw most of his fortune stolen by Madoff and who has been stumping across the country talking about it and trying to raise money--de- clined to comment. So didYeshiva University, one of the nonprofits hit hardest by Madoff, having lost $110 million in real and imagined profits. "It just doesn't benefit any- one to be associated with this anymore," said one observer close to the situation. Faber said she often won- dered if a check made out to the AJCongress was among the stack of checks for tens of millions of dollars that in- vestigators found in Madoff's American Jewish Congress Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress says that Bernard Madoff will find little sympathy in his organization. desk after he was arrested-- because maybe, just maybe, Madoff would have wanted to do right by the charities he had devastated. Watching coverage of the trial, Faber said she felt the charity world she had known was gone. "We will never see the kind of beneficence we have always seen in the future because of what happened," Faber said. "He has changed the whole fabric of the Jewish community, especially when it comes to organizations like ours." As Jewish camp season starts, swine ,qL00 threat looms By Ben Harris NEWYORK (JTA)--Though no longer leading evening news reports, the swine flu, which recently was upgraded to a pandemic, has gradually but persistently been making its way into the Jewish com- munity. With the Jewish summer camp season beginning, camps across the country are reporting outbreaks of the virus. Nine cases have been confirmed at two Jewish camps in Texas, and a Georgia camp has two. Many more cases are suspected, as well. Two Reform movement camps have delayed the start of the summer session due to concerns about the virus. A third movement camp has one confirmed case but is operating normally. "The protocols we have for isolation have actually worked," said Rabbi EUiott Kleinman, the Union for Re- form Judaism's chief program officer. In Baltimore, the Ner Israel Rabbinical College. one of the largest Orthodox yeshivas in the country, reported five Dedicated To Serving Our Jewish Community Call on Central Florida's Exclusively Jewish Funeral Home for Details Regarding: • Traditional Jewish Funerals • Non-Traditional Services • Interstate Shipping • Pre-Arranged Funerals (Shalom Assurance Plan) • Headstone, Grave Markers (Cardinal Memorials) 407-599-1180 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD Louis B. Wilson, LFD, Manager James R. Cardinal, Executive Director Samuel P. (Sammy) Goldstein, Assoc. Exec. Director Michael Meyer, Family Pre-need Counselor cases of the virus earlier this month. That outbreak fol- lowed news that four Brook- lyn yeshivas were closing temporarily over concerns about high absenteeism due to the virus. At least 10 participants in a recent Birthright Israel trip came down with swine flu and were quarantined-- Two months after the out- break was first identified, the swine flu virus--a variant of influenza that is fatal in a tiny fraction of cases continues to spread. Though seasonal flu out- breaks tend to drop off dramat- ically when warmer weather hits in May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported JTA Staff/Colin Purrington/Creative Commons Concerns about the swine flu virus have led to a range of precautionary measures at Jewish summer camps across the country. after they had infected 18 Israeli soldiers, according to the Jerusalem Post. The Birthright group also had met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, but he was tested and not infected. Israel has had more than 130 confirmed cases of the virus, and a young girl became the first confirmed Palestinian case in the West Banktwoweeks ago. higher-than-usual levels of influenza rates through the second week in June. The disease mostly affects younger people, according to the CDC. During the academic year, schools were seen as a maj or breeding ground for the virus. The first New York City fatality from the virus was a Jewish pub- lic school principal from Queens. Last week, the Foundation for Jewish Camp organized a series of conference calls with camp directors to discuss preventive measures. Rabbi Eve Rudin, who directs the foundation's de- partment of camp excellence and advancement, said that approximately 10 Jewish camps have been affected by the virus, though she stressed that camps do not report to the foundation and that her information was gleaned entirely from media reports. "I think that currently swine flu is the exception. it's not the rule," Rudin said. Camp Newman-Swig, a Union for Reform Judaism camp in Santa Rosa, Calif., de- layed the start of the camping season until June 25 because 25 staff members exhibited flu-like symptoms and were quarantined for seven days. Another Reform camp, Camp Coleman in Cleveland. Ga.. canceled its first session and will open July 12 after 45 of 160 staff members reported flu and flu-like symptoms. A third camp, Greene Family Camp in Bruceville. Texas, has one confirmed swine flu case but is operating normal- ly, according to Kleinman. "We are planning and are excited to begin camp Thursday, June 25, and proceed with a sensational summer," said a notice posted on Newman-Swig's Web site. "Even if more staff and camp- ers get sick, we are prepared to care for them and others. This situation is not unique to our camp." Open house at Congregation Beth Sholom in Leesburg Congregation Beth Sho- lom of Leesburg ("The Synagogue That Feels Like Family) is having its open house on Friday, July 10, at 5 p.m. The Congregation's fel- lowship will serve a dairy meal, followed by a special Shabbat service at 7 p.m., led by Rabbi Karen Allen. Afterwards, coffee, tea, and cake will be served. The Synagogue is located at 315 North Center Street in Leesburg. A response by Monday, July 6 h will be ap- preciated, but last-minute guests are always welcome. RSVP to Gailat 352-638-0798 or Hennie at 352-259-9261. Congregation Beth Sholom has been a fixture in the Lake County community for more than 50 years and welcomes all Jewish families, singles, re- tirees and interfaith couples. In addition to the social and service activities of the Fel- lowship, the synagogue offers a religious school for children age 4 to 13. Learn more at www.bethsholomflorida.org.