Willie Rapfogel Scandal Prompts Few Signs of Change at Jewish Groups

Despite Stunning Fall, Little Angst at Non-Profits

met council

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen (Haaretz)

Published October 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The stunning array of charges against William Rapfogel, the disgraced former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, should prompt Jewish organizations to engage in soul-searching and make governance changes to avoid similar misfortunes, say experts in non-profit management and ethics.

But that, they say, isn’t happening.

Charming and savvy, Rapfogel was arrested September 24 and charged with grand larceny, conspiracy, money laundering and tax fraud for having allegedly stolen $5 million over his two-decade-long tenure as chief executive officer at Met Council, the premier anti-poverty organization working among New York’s Jewish community. According to the indictment, in August investigators found some $420,000 in cash stashed in Rapfogel’s apartment and upstate New York vacation home. He is out on $100,000 bail (paid in cash) pending his first court date in January 2014, said Andrew Friedman, a spokesman for the state’s attorney general.

Rapfogel’s arrest – and the extensive charges against him – left the local Jewish community, where he was widely viewed as an exemplar of effective leadership, stunned.

“I don’t know of another case in the non-Jewish or Jewish community where people were so adoring of someone and then so disillusioned,” said Naomi Levine, executive director of the Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University.

For more go to Haaretz


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.