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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Madoff Scandal

As unforgivable as are the deeds of Bernard Madoff, and as much as he is to be held personally accountable for the wreckage that he has caused to people's lives, to the Jewish community, and to people and institutions all over the world, he and his crimes are at least as much symptoms of our larger evils as a society as he is to blame in and of himself. Our tendency as a society has been increasingly to over-value money and material accumulation and to under-value the most basic moral and ethical principles of the social contract that undergirds our civilization. Somehow, we have to find our way back to the norm that a handshake means a commitment and an oath is sacred. In this regard, I'm afraid we have a longer journey ahead than we might with regard to repairing our economy. To begin, we might reconsider what we ought worry about most: What we have or who we are. We can be sure that we are decidedly on our journey toward a real, spiritual recovery when we will have begun our preoccupation with who we are and reduced our obsession with what we have.

Rabbi Isaac Jeret
Spiritual Leader
Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay