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January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
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Prison Bound Madoff’s Brother at Granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah

Little Rebecca told the assembled congregation that “the suffering of others should not be forgotten.”
Peter Madoff

Peter Madoff

Peter Madoff, brother of notorious Ponzi-scheming Bernie, partied with friends and family at his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah on Sunday, the NY Post reported.

Today, writes the Post, the Madoffs will continue their celebration at 404 NYC, a sleek event space on 10th Avenue. The cost of the event is estimated at between $75 and $100 thoysand.

Peter Madoff, 67, received a 10-year sentence on Dec. 20, but the judge delayed Madoff’s incarceration until Feb. 6, based on pleas from family and clergy to let the proud grandfather attend the event.

Before little Rebecca Skoller read from the Torah at the Central Synagogue in Midtown Manhattan, Peter Madoff said a brief prayer in Hebrew and kissed the Torah.

Little Rebecca told the assembled congregation that “the suffering of others should not be forgotten.”

After the ceremony—live-streamed online—Madoff, the 100 guests, and security, went downstairs to the Pavilion Room, catered salmon, tuna and bagels.

You know, if the whole thing was streamed, grandpa could be watching it from the prison library. Too late now.

The Post approached a few of Madoff’s victims for their reaction.

“I would much prefer that Peter Madoff be locked up and the only way he can attend the bat mitzvah is through pictures sent to him in prison,” said Michael DeVita, 62, who lost his retirement assets to the Madoff scam.

“I don’t think he should have any rights,” said Shelly Ludlow from Long Island, whose mother lost everything in the Ponzi scheme. “She has nothing, and here he can go and party — that’s injustice.”

Peter Madoff, the chief compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, worked for his brother for 40 years and took in $40 million just from 1998 to 2008.

He pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and falsifying documents.

He told the court that he was “deeply ashamed and sorry,” but argued that he was also among his brother’s $20 billion fraud.

US District Judge Laura Swain said his plea of ignorance was “frankly, not believable.”

Little Rebecca begged the judge to let her “Papa” attend her “13th-birthday rite.”

Wait a minute – 13th birthday? Must be a Reform thing. Equal opportunity B-Mitzvah.

“Papa and I have always looked forward to sharing the experience of my bat mitzvah. I would give anything just to have him see me reading from the Torah even if it was only for a second,” the girl wrote.

Central Synagogue Rabbi Peter Rubinstein also wrote the judge.

“I suspect that the unfolding tragedy of Peter’s circumstances . . . were hatched early on in his dependence on his older brother as the closest father figure he had,” Rubinstein wrote.

There you go – a fine teaching of moral responsibility: my brother made me do it.

As part of his plea deal, Peter Madoff forfeited his assets, and his wife Marion must now endure life in a $3,300-a-month apartment in Battery Park City.

Madoff will now report to the upstate NY Otisville medium-security federal prison. Forbes rated it as one of the most comfortable prisons in America.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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