Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Religious Crook

Dowries. That was his excuse. Dr. Yehuda Crammer (pictured left) needed dowries for his daughters. The pressure from that made him hide assets and declare bankruptcy on a debt of 800,000 pounds British Sterling. Here is a man who thinks it’s OK to steal from non Jews so that his daughters can buy homes.

In some ways I feel sorry for this guy. He is a victim as much as he is a criminal. But he is a criminal. Just want to make that clear. What kind of value system is it where an obviously Orthodox Jew – a professional no less – is raised to have a religious value system that allows him to steal from his creditors?

Of course he regrets it now – I’m sure. He is going to spend 30 months in prison for hiding those assets. But I doubt very much that he thought he was doing anything wrong.

One would think that with all the publicity over the last few years about financial crimes in the Orthodox world that this fellow would have at least realized that it wasn’t worth the chance of getting caught because of the Chilul HaShem that would result. But he didn’t. And once again we have a religious Jew who is a crook and going to jail.

There are several issues here. One is the apparent lack of understanding that what he did was Halachicly wrong. Which it is. Stealing is forbidden by Jewish law. From Jews and non Jews. Secondly there is the Chilul HaShem aspect. And thirdly there is his motivation. He needed to have money for his daughter's dowries

This is what he apparently learned in the Yeshivos. Having a beard and wearing a black hat is far more important than not stealing. Especially if it is from the government and one’s creditors. And paying dowries for one’s daughters is reason enough to steal.

Of course that is not what he was taught. But that is what he learned. There simply is not enough emphasis on following the law of the land in the Yeshivos.

I’m sure if he had it to do over again, he would do it differently. He would own up to his assists and pay his bills. And not create this Chilul HaShem. But that’s only because he got caught.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those who look the Frum behaved in ways that reflected the values of the Torah they claim to follow? Can anyone blame a secular Jew who reads this story for thinking that religious Jews are just a bunch of slimy crooks?