Bernard Madoff’s Yom Kippur: ‘He Can’t Be Forgiven’


madoffABC News reports: On the first Yom Kippur since his multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme was exposed, Bernard Madoff was allowed to take the day off from his prison work detail at Butner prison in North Carolina and pray for forgiveness of his sins, according to a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson.

Prison officials would not say if Madoff, serving a 150-year sentence, took advantage of the day off on the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith or whether he participated in an evening prayer session with other Jewish inmates on what is a day of atonement and repentance.

“He should be asking every single person whom he lied to and whom he cheated for forgiveness,” said Hasia Diner, a professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University.

Madoff’s only apology came at his sentencing in June, when he briefly turned to face victims in the courtroom and said, “I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help you.”

Madoff’s friends and family say he was never considered an observant Jew and often mocked his younger brother, Peter, who is an Orthodox Jew.

 “He used to taunt Peter by saying his favorite food was pork,” said one person close to the family in The Madoff Chronicles, published today.

Many of Madoff’s victims are Jewish, including a large number of Jewish charities.

“The law of holiday is that he can’t be forgiven by the Lord unless he gives us back our money,” said Carla Hirschorn, one of the victims.

 Asked what Madoff should atone for on Yom Kippur, another victim, Carol Baer said, “For not living his life as a Jewish person should. For not being a human being.”

At the time of his arrest, Madoff’s investors thought they he was holding more than $65 billion in stocks and cash for them.

Investigators discovered he had never traded a single stock over several decades.

Investors are expected to get, at most, five to 10 cents for each dollar they invested.

 {ABC News Ventures/ Newwscenter}


  1. I posted this here a number of times at articles on the Madoff case, and I will post it now again.

    Can a Ben Torah Rav please go to the prison and arrange regular visits to see Mr. Madoff and teach about Judaism and give him appropriate Eitzas of Tikunim that he can do for his Aveiros. B’Ezras HaShem, in this way, the long time that Mr. Madoff will be spending in jail will at least be used productively in learning Torah and doing some level of T’shuva.

    Furthermore, if what this Rav will do with Mr. Madoff can get reported in the media, it can help to greatly nullify the Chillul HaShem that was caused by this scandal.