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Responding to Dishonest Behavior of Prominent Jewish Figures
The RCA condemns dishonest behavior, especially that of prominent Jewish figures, and urges steps to educate against future recurrences.
 
 
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May 18, 2006 -- Whereas the Torah prohibits stealing from both Jews and non-Jews; and,

Whereas Torah law mandates the return of stolen property to its rightful owners as part of the process of atonement for theft; and,

Whereas charitable giving can sometimes be a form of penitence, giving a portion of ill-gotten gains to charity is not; and,

Whereas crimes committed against non-Jews and those in the public sphere are especially heinous because of the hilul Hashem – desecration of G-d’s name – that they often engender; and,

Whereas it is particularly important that the Jewish community not adopt a different standard when one of their own is caught in acts of dishonesty;

Be it resolved, therefore, that the Rabbinical Council of America

Unequivocally condemns the dishonest behavior, including acts of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe high government officials, committed by those identifying themselves as Orthodox Jews; and,

Urges its members to clearly represent to both Jews and non-Jews that these activities are abhorrent to Jewish law; and,

Urges it members to clearly teach that, while good deeds are cause for reward, they do not cancel out negative behaviors or their consequences (Cf. Ramban, Deut. 10:17); and,

Urges its members to teach their constituents to be particularly wary of the aspects of American society, such as materialism and unfettered pursuit of “the American Dream,” which, when left unchecked, can lead to such behavior; and,

Urges its members to teach their constituents to be particularly wary of the aspects of Jewish society, such as attitudes of condescension towards and devaluing of non-Jews, which, when not eliminated, can be a factor leading to such behavior.

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