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Madoff's Chosen Victims

Thursday night at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Manhattan, men like Simon Schama, Michael Steinhardt, and Mort Zuckerman gathered to ask an important question: Where did Bernard Madoff come from? The name of the event was "Madoff: A Jewish Reckoning," which Zuckerman, whose charity lost $30 million to Madoff, took issue with. "I am here to disagree with the essence of the theme, 'A Jewish Reckoning,'" he said. "I do not accept this at all as a Jewish thing," saying that no one referred to Kenneth Lay as a "Protestant American." He left early. The panel discussed whether the Madoff scandal was likely to lead to a revival of anti-Semitism, with Schama suggesting American Jews were being overly sensitive, asking "do we know that the recruiting centers in Montana have been exceptionally busy this past month?" Steinhardt found a silver lining, saying that many of the charities that were fleeced were "lousy, miserable, corrupt organizations" and this may be occasion for reform.