South Florida's Jewish community just can't catch a break. First Bernie Madoff, now an alleged Ponzi scheme by Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein -- what gives?
Madoff lured Jewish friends at the Palm Beach Country Club to be investors in his Ponzi scheme, and when his fraud collapsed, Jewish charities lost hundreds of millions of dollars. It's not yet clear how Rothstein's scandal will impact Jewish investors -- although Yeshiva World News is buzzing with rumors that the Orthodox community in Brooklyn may have lost millions.
One thing is obvious: Rothstein's imprint on the Fort Lauderdale Jewish community is indelible and very visible. The chabad center on Broward Boulevard bears his name -- the Rothstein Family Downtown Jewish Center Chabad.
Rothstein, who has referred to himself as the "Jewish Avenger," was clearly a generous contributor to the Orthodox chabad. He's even featured in photos of the chabad's grand-opening party.
But he's not the kind of donor people are eager to embrace at the moment. When the Juice called the chabad's Rabbi Schneur Kaplan to inquire if Rothstein's name would be removed from the building, the answer was short and polite: "It would be inappropriate for me to make any comments at this time," Kaplan said.
Here's hoping Kaplan knows a good lawyer.