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Have a certain "GROUP" of wealthy been corrupting our community?

Posted by on May. 11, 2009 at 10:50 PM
  • 19 Replies
The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Rancid materialism is corrupting our community

Dec. 15, 2008
Shmuley Boteach , THE JERUSALEM POST

The Jewish community better get serious about the cancer that's growing inside it. The devastation on Wall Street carries a lot of Jewish names, from firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to individuals such as Bernard Madoff, whose $50 billion Ponzi scheme collapsed over the weekend, and lawyer Marc Dreier, arrested last week for defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.

On the Internet more and more people who don't like us are beginning to connect the dots, pointing out that there are an awful lot of Jews who bear responsibility for Wall Street's fall. But that's not what bothers me. Anti-Semites will always find something to hate us for, and I'm way too busy to worry about what a bunch of bigots think anyway.

Rather, what worries me is this: what if some if it is true? What if our community has become too obsessed with money? What if our values have become about wearing the most expensive Cartier watch and driving a suped-up Mercedes? What if a disproportionately large number of young Jews are running to work on Wall Street and never even considering jobs like teaching, the rabbinate, or doing outreach because the compensation, comparatively, stinks?

FOR TOO long the Jewish community has excused all manner of material excess so long as those who sported giant jewels and enormous gold watches also gave lots of tzedaka (charity). It is true that Judaism has always said that riches are a blessing because they enable one's resources to be used for the benefit of others. We reject the New Testament statement that the rich will find it harder to get into heaven than a camel passing through the eye of a needle. But tzedaka is not the only Jewish value. So is modesty, humility, and baal tashchis - a commandment not to indulge in excess and waste. Indeed, the only personal characteristic in the Bible about Moses, the greatest Jew who ever lived, was that "he was the most humble man who walked the earth."

And yet the materialism in our community has become rancid. I was sitting with a group of rich Jewish businessmen the other day who were talking about a friend's son's bar mitzva in which an NBA superstar made a guest appearance for which he was paid an insane amount. Indeed, bar and bas mitzvas have become for many a game of million-dollar one-upmanship. Now, what kind of values are being communicated to these young people on the occasion of becoming responsible members of our community? That life is about showing off? Do we want our kids ending up as the insecure social climbers who joined the exclusive Jewish country clubs where word went out that being part of Bernard Madoff's investment fund was a privilege reserved for a chosen few and that they better beg to be admitted?

I SEE a lot of Jewish people walking around these days with a red string on their wrists. Popularized by the Kabbalah Center, it's supposed to ward off the eiyan ha'ra, the evil eye. The original Jewish concept of the evil eye was based on the idea of not flaunting wealth so as not to incur the jealousy of those less fortunate. It was based on the beautiful Jewish value of human dignity, of not making people less successful feel bad about themselves. What was once a message of humility and simplicity has now been transformed into one in which it is permitted to sport a ten-carat diamond so long as it is accompanied by a silly piece of string.

And the coarsening of our values isn't only about money. I attended a modern orthodox bas mitzvah not long ago where the boys and girls, all of 12 and 13, began to 'grind' their genitalia against one another on the dance floor. The parents watched from the sidelines. One father was appalled and wanted to complain to the Jewish day school that allowed it, but was discouraged from doing so because of the social censure his son might face.

And where are the rabbis through all this? Why aren't they preaching the time-honored Torah values of modesty, humility, and sincerity? Tragically, many of us rabbis are either afraid to speak out or have been bought off. We're don't want to incur the wrath of our congregants and boards by criticizing these corrupt values, or we've been bought off by wealthy donors who support our organizations and who will turn off the spigot if we dare decry their excess. In orthodoxy, the problem is often an emphasis on meticulous adherence to rituals without a concomitant commitment to the values these rituals are meant to inspire. In more secular circles the problem is often a lack of emphasis on either.

FOR YEARS now I have been passionately arguing the need for the Jewish community to serve as a light unto the nations by promulgating our values to the non-Jewish world. We ought to be known primarily not for the billions of Wall Street but for the warmth of the family dinner table. It was for this reason that I launched 'This World: The Jewish Values Network" with its first national program being a campaign to have all American families "Turn Friday Night Into Family Night." Non-Jewish families from all over America have begun to commit to Friday dinners at our website, FridayIsFamily.com. But just as they are doing so, I heard that our local JCC, an outstanding facility which I use all the time with my kids, is considering opening on Shabbos. Come on. Our community is supposed to stand for something, like the idea of sacred time. There is one day a week devoted to family and community rather than swimming and soccer. One day a week when Mom gets to be a wife rather than a chauffeur, and Dad gets to be a father rather than a coach.

Let me confess that I am just as materialistic as the people I criticize even as I lack the resources to indulge their more expensive tastes. But when I forget that Judaism demands the heart over the wallet, I feel ashamed of having lost my way. Perhaps it's how we all ought to feel as this economic meltdown exposes the betrayal of the very values that have ensured the spiritual integrity of our community for millennia.

Rabbi Boteach's newest book The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets to Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life will be published next month by HarperOne. His website is Shmuley.com

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728209076&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

by on May. 11, 2009 at 10:50 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Della529
by Matlock on May. 13, 2009 at 9:07 PM

Anyone want to address their involvement in the economic collapse and taxpayer funded bailouts?

Quote:

The devastation on Wall Street carries a lot of Jewish names, from firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to individuals such as Bernard Madoff, whose $50 billion Ponzi scheme collapsed over the weekend, and lawyer Marc Dreier, arrested last week for defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.

On the Internet more and more people who don't like us are beginning to connect the dots, pointing out that there are an awful lot of Jews who bear responsibility for Wall Street's fall.


 

WImom2
by Silver Member on May. 13, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.

Eilish
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:35 PM


Quoting Della529:

Anyone want to address their involvement in the economic collapse and taxpayer funded bailouts?

Quote:

The devastation on Wall Street carries a lot of Jewish names, from firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to individuals such as Bernard Madoff, whose $50 billion Ponzi scheme collapsed over the weekend, and lawyer Marc Dreier, arrested last week for defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.

On the Internet more and more people who don't like us are beginning to connect the dots, pointing out that there are an awful lot of Jews who bear responsibility for Wall Street's fall.


I would, but then I'd be called a "conspiracy nut." The problem is that your target audience doesn't want to hear to it. There stuck on the idea that Jews can do now wrong, and if they even speak about this contraversy, that they will be damned to hell for all eternity .....


Aside from that, the article was an interesting read. Thank you ;-)



Please Click on the Pics to follow the links!

Eilish
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:38 PM


Quoting WImom2:

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.

You really need to study up on WHO owns these Banking cartels ... the vast majority do have Jewish ties .... though the flip side to this argument is that "Jews" are not true Torah-believing, 12 Tribe, Children of God kind of Jews. They are (supposedly) imposter "Jews" who are misleading the world in a variety of ways. Hmmm .... imposter Jew .... where have I heard this before .... oh yes! the Anti-Christ is an imposter Jew.



Please Click on the Pics to follow the links!

blondekosmic15
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:38 PM


Quoting WImom2:

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.


I was just about to say.....the libs. are mum concerning Barney Frank * Chris Dodd * Joe Biden * Franklin Raines but let's bash the Jewish community! Give me a break! 

Eilish
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:45 PM


Quoting blondekosmic15:


Quoting WImom2:

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.


I was just about to say.....the libs. are mum concerning Barney Frank * Chris Dodd * Joe Biden * Franklin Raines but let's bash the Jewish community! Give me a break! 

You should really learn about the people who have Frank, Dodd, Biden, and Raines wrapped around their little finger. While they certainly have played a major role, the buck no longer stops at Congress or the President. It stops at the unofficial 4th branch of government - the Federal Reserve. And when you learn about who is in the upper echalon of the FED, then you will see the real picture. But in order to do this, you must get over this lib vs. con mentality.



Please Click on the Pics to follow the links!

blondekosmic15
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:47 PM

 

Quoting Eilish:


Quoting Della529:

Anyone want to address their involvement in the economic collapse and taxpayer funded bailouts?

Quote:

The devastation on Wall Street carries a lot of Jewish names, from firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to individuals such as Bernard Madoff, whose $50 billion Ponzi scheme collapsed over the weekend, and lawyer Marc Dreier, arrested last week for defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.

On the Internet more and more people who don't like us are beginning to connect the dots, pointing out that there are an awful lot of Jews who bear responsibility for Wall Street's fall.


I would, but then I'd be called a "conspiracy nut." The problem is that your target audience doesn't want to hear to it.There stuck on the idea that Jews can do now wrong, and if they even speak about this contraversy, that they will be damned to hell for all eternity .....

 

Aside from that, the article was an interesting read. Thank you ;-)


A lil' honesty here Eilish.....no segment of a population is as pure as the driven white snow but some of you are readily waving the other flag...always condemning the Jews for pretty much everything & singling the Jewish ppl. out as the bad guys continuously! If you read the Scriptures that attitude is warned about thru out the Bible. It certainly is in the forefront now.... is'nt it?

blondekosmic15
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:56 PM


Quoting Eilish:


Quoting blondekosmic15:


Quoting WImom2:

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.


I was just about to say.....the libs. are mum concerning Barney Frank * Chris Dodd * Joe Biden * Franklin Raines but let's bash the Jewish community! Give me a break! 

You should really learn about the people who have Frank, Dodd, Biden, and Raines wrapped around their little finger. While they certainly have played a major role, the buck no longer stops at Congress or the President. It stops at the unofficial 4th branch of government - the Federal Reserve. And when you learn about who is in the upper echalon of the FED, then you will see the real picture. But in order to do this, you must get over this lib vs. con mentality.


Lib v Con is never my primary recourse for my decisions Eilish! I read 100's of Christian bks. & Biblical writings which are the basis of my judgment + thru much prayer which enlightens the heart & mind from Heaven. Remember God even reminded us...the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God & visa versa. So the knowledge I surrender to is not from the pages of various ppl. Eilish but from Biblical Scholars & the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit & the politicians who hold a deep respect for God. Since I am a mere human being I always pray for wisdom & guidance from Jesus & those closest to Him when he was present here w/ us on this earth!

Della529
by Matlock on May. 13, 2009 at 10:16 PM


Quoting WImom2:

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.

This was written by a Rabbi and he does bring up valid points.  Ever heard of Barney Frank and his romantic partner, Herb Moses?  Are you aware that most of the banking executives whose companies requested bailout monies were Jewish?  How about the Federal Reserve board members?  The Rothschild's, The Rockefeller's, Warburg...

The $50,000,000,000 that Madoff stole is NOTHING?  That $50,000,000,000 hasn't affected or impacted our economy?

Quote:

GIVE ME CONTROL OF A NATION'S MONIES, AND I CARE NOT WHO MAKES THE LAWS

Mayer Amschel Rothschild ~ International Banker


 


 

Della529
by Matlock on May. 13, 2009 at 10:22 PM

 

Quoting blondekosmic15:
Quoting WImom2:

Wow. Ok so that was so wrong. What about the car companies, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, on and on and on. What about the consumers with $20,000 + in cc debt, or the guy buying a house he can't afford? Where they all Jewish- NO. How dare someone point fingers and blame one group for anything. I am sorry but just because a few Jewish people are involved doesn't mean they were the downfall. It means NOTHING.


I was just about to say.....the libs. are mum concerning Barney Frank * Chris Dodd * Joe Biden * Franklin Raines but let's bash the Jewish community! Give me a break! 

See, I knew you never researched anything.  Barney Frank?  Jewish.  Chris Dodd?  Jewish.  Joe Biden?  A Catholic Zionist.  Franklin Raines?  A crook in his own right.

Maybe you should give us a break!!

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