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Misaskim Works Tirelessly To Offer Madoff A Jewish Burial

The shocking news of Mark Madoff’s suicide was followed by disbelief as the Jewish community learned of the family’s plan to have his body cremated. Misaskim has been contacted numerous times since the family’s decision was publicized in the media, and asked whether anything could be done to arrange a Jewish burial for Mark’s body. People from many communities across the nation have called the organization with their concerns, some even offering a free burial plot. According to Jewish belief, cremation is never an option, due to the irreparable trauma it causes to one’s soul.

Misaskim pooled its resources and worked tirelessly to offer the family its assistance in arranging a Jewish burial. Misaskim was in close contact with the law enforcement community, the funeral home, the media, and even with individuals who themselves were victims of the ponzi scheme, in an effort to head off an even more tragic turn of events than what has already transpired.

“Mark was Jewish, and that’s the only factor that is of concern to Misaskim,” said the volunteer who is spearheading the effort. At this point, Misaskim is saddened to report that the organization has not made much progress in preventing the cremation, yet the Misaskim remains committed to its mission of safeguarding the dignity of the deceased.

Unfortunantly, a statment released by his widow, Stephanie Madoff, early this afternoon said that Mark had been cremated, and said there would be a private memorial service “later this week at an undisclosed location.”

She also said “my husband Mark took his own life,” said Stephanie Madoff, “and regardless of what you feel about my father-in-law and his monstrous crimes, Mark’s children are innocent victims and this is tragic for them. I am devastated and now raising two small children alone.”

(YWN Desk – NYC)

20 Responses

  1. They haven’t made ‘much progress in preventing the cremation’ or they didn’t make ANY progress in preventing the cremation?

    Unfortunately this is a case of win some but lose most.

    Kudos to Misaskim for at least trying!!

  2. Unfortunately unaffiliated Jews get cremated everyday. Perhaps we can use this as a springboard to somehow avoid such cremations by having an organization that addresses this both with PR and $$$ – definitely another zchus for Klal Yisroel

  3. He made his decision. Worrying about a totally assimilated Jews having made clear his rejection of Yiddishkeit is TOTALLY FUTILE. We should be happy he is made clear that in death, and is life, he wants no part of us. The fact that the thought of having to be middle class drove him to suicide is good as an illustration of what being hiloni does to people.

  4. Why couldn’t the widow at least give them the courtesy of a reply rather than just announcing it. This kind of thing really burns me up.

  5. Mr. Kuperman:
    You can’t KNOW that what you are saying is the case, you are only assuming it.
    –You can’t KNOW what motivated him to commit suicide, it may NOT have been “the thought of having to be middle class”. It might have been the terrible boosha of having the internationally known greedy father he had, or, fear of his own possible imprisonment, or any number of other reasons.
    –You can’t KNOW he was making a “clear his rejection of Yiddishkeit”. I would guess this is probably NOT the case at all. One would have to have at least some knowledge of Yiddishkeit to be able to reject it. He probably was in the category of a tinok she’nishba, and had no knowledge of Yiddishkeit at all.
    –The truth is, we don’t even know for sure that he is even dead. Possibly he is in a witness protection program and at some point in the future, after all the hype dies down, his family will join him somewhere and start a new life.
    –Do I know this to be true? Definitely not, but it COULD be, and the point is that none of us really know much at all about facts of this matzav, and shouldn’t pass judgement about it.

  6. Wow akuperma! Your ahavas yisroel is astounding! Makes me wonder why Hashem would be sending us fires and bombings!

    If nobody tried to mekarev me, I wouldn’t be frum today. I also wouldn’t be a rabbi in kiruv, that has influenced hundreds. So TOTALLY FUTILE is demonstrably false. Please don’t spread lies and hate. Thank you.

  7. akuperma,
    as someone that grew up with no Yiddishkeit, I shudder at your comments. Absolutely, he did not reject it… he knew nothing about it. How can you be so callous to another Jew? whatever he did or did not do, the price he paid is tremendous. We are not in a position to judge, the only thing we can do is our part … and ask our Avinu B’Shamaim to end this golus and bring every Yid back. This story is very sad and you should cry that this is the situation of Klal Yisroel, not be so harsh in your comments.

  8. being cremated is not necessarily being just put in a jar on a shelf, it can be put in a mosuleum a “fancy” place for people who are cremated. and can cost the same price as a burial or even more.

  9. miri1988, usually because of depression. They imagine that if there won’t be any remains left, they won’t suffer. Additionally, the Madoffs weren’t doing too well since Bernie’s arrest, an upscale funeral would probably be out of question. Rich man may opt for nothing instead of a poor ceremony.

    akuperma, I totally disagree with you. Orthodox Jews know that a Neshama isn’t just a soul – it’s part of the Schechina. That essentially means that the body is a mantle for part of the Schechina. Indeed, many Seforim liken a corpse to the protective cover of a Posul Sefer Torah which needs burial. A Jew is always a Jew and all of them, Orthodox and Reform, Traditional or Conservative, possess a holy Neshama and the corpse must be cared for in a proper way. Would you suggest that a Sefer Torah stored in a Reform temple may be destroyed?
    I actually have much admiration for this story. I truly admire Misaskim for involving themselves in this case. The Madoffs are known to be arrogant individuals especially when it came to religion. The Misaskim probably knew that it will be an uphill battle, yet the fought it nevertheless. They probably also figured that this battle is worthwhile, given that it’s a high-profile case and had they succeeded they would’ve inspired many Jews to seek a Jewish burial for themselves and their relatives. Their work wasn’t futile at all; I envy their Schar.

  10. As Mark’s classmate in public school, I would say that he was religious like all the other reform kids (the public school was 85% Jewish, both conservative & reform, but no orthodox). His mother was involved in Jewish projects (she published a kosher cookbook as a fundraiser that is still on my bookshelf). I am really saddened to hear of his death and cremation, and can only hope that the difficulties he went through these past two years are an atonement for him.

  11. akuperma, as you can see; with Midah Kneged Midah – your intolerance and judgemental behaviour was well rewarded by the reaction and comments of the readers of your bitter and hating comments. If you were smart you would retract your comment and do Teshuva now because Midah Kneged Midah goes further in Shamayim and in this world than just what you’ve seen so far on YWN!
    Btw, AinOhdMilvado, good points generally but you may have watched too many movies!

  12. Al Tadin Es Chavercha Ad Shetagia Limkomo – Do not judge your fellow Jew until you are in his position.
    May H’ Bless us all to never be in the position to pass any king of negative judgement on Mr Madoff Junior (and senior).

  13. As an assimilated Jew, he was unaware of the importance of a Jewish burial. Now he is in the Olam Hoemes and his neshomo probably needs a big tikun.

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