Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Embarrassment to the Jewish People

One of  the crooks
Is it still a Chilul HaShem when the Jews who perpetrate a crime are not observant? The answer unfortunately is yes.

It was reported all over the media yesterday that 3 Jews (2 Israelis and one American) were caught in what is being called the largest ever theft of customer data from a financial institution. There three crooks allegedly hacked the website of JP Morgan Chase and other companies and stole hundreds of millions of dollars. From the Times of Israel
Prosecutors said the three had been working together since 2007 and that their crimes include artificially inflating stock prices, an illegal bitcoin exchange, operating online casinos and creating at least 75 shell companies around the world.
“By any measure, the data breaches at these firms were breathtaking in scope and in size,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference.
According to Reuters, Tuesday’s charges are the first tied to the JPMorgan attack, which compromised information in 83 million customer accounts and was the largest theft of customer data from an American financial institution. 
One might be tempted to admire the ingenuity of a theft like this in the same way one might admire it in a movie where millions of dollars are stolen by some affable crooks and no one gets hurt – except for maybe the ‘evil insurance companies’ that everyone hates. 

But this is not a movie. The fact is that people did get hurt financially by what they allegedly did. And even if no one would have been hurt, it was theft. 

I hope this story is not true, and that they are innocent of the allegations. That would be a pleasant turn of events. But I am not holding my breath. If it is - as I suspect - even partially true then we have yet again a Chilul HaShem.

I have no clue whether any of these individuals were in any way observant. But I hope not. Because if they were, it will increase the Chilul HaShem exponentially. Because when devout Jews violate the law it makes Judaism look bad. It implies that religious Jews think it’s OK to steal money from the gentiles. It must be their religion that teaches them that.

If on the other hand they are not in any way observant, we can at least say that their behaivor does not reflect what the Torah teaches. 

However, the fact is that a Jew has committed a crime. And it will cause all of us - religious and secular - a lot of grief. Because many non Jews do not make that distinction and will thereby paint us all with a broad brush.

So - if indeed any of this prooves to be accurate, I am disappointed in these 3 Jews. They have embarrassed their people and we ought to make known to the world that they do not in any way reflect the values of the Torah – which is the guidepost for Jewish behavior. They are criminals; we completely condemn what they did; and they deserve to be punished for their crime.