Shande

William Rapfogel

William Rapfogel, 59, was accused in September of stealing $5 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty over the course of his 20-year tenure leading the massive New York anti-poverty group.

Rapfogel’s fall was as shocking as it was sudden. In June, he wrote in the Forward about growing rates of poverty among New York Jews. In August, he was fired from the Met Council, issuing a vague apology for unspecified “mistakes.”

At the Met Council, Rapfogel built a massive charitable empire with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and close ties to real estate executives. His annual political breakfasts drew heavyweights like Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Jerry Nadler.

A Lower East Side power broker, Rapfogel is a close ally of Sheldon Silver, the powerful New York State Assembly speaker. Rapfogel’s wife, Judy Rapfogel, is Silver’s chief of staff. The three have wielded considerable power in the neighborhood surrounding the old Grand Street co-ops, though that power has waned as demographics there have shifted.

The full scope of the Met Council scandal is still unknown. Rabbi Dovid Cohen, Rapfogel’s predecessor running the Met Council, was terminated from his role as a Met Council consultant on the same day Rapfogel was fired. He later stepped down from his position running Hatzalah, the Jewish ambulance service. Questions remain about what Judy Rapfogel knew, and whether the scandal reaches into the high office of Sheldon Silver.

Jewish charity experts, meanwhile, have called for more board oversight and shorter executive tenures in the wake of the Met Council scandal.

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!
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • 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.