American Jewry 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
American Jewish Congress, one of the oldest and most historically powerful
organizations of the Jewish-American establishment, is temporarily suspending its operations, sources told The Jerusalem Post Saturday.
Inside sources said that the Jewish group, which was hit hard by
Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, may merge with the American Jewish
Committee, which would mark the end of the 92-year-old organization's time as an
Madoff, AJCongress looks for merger
Jews who defame Jews
Richard Gordon, President of AJCongress, said that "we have the money in the bank, but cannot get to it because of our constitution. We expect to have access to it in a matter of weeks."
Regarding speculations on a merger with the American Jewish Committee, he said "we're talking to the American Jewish Committee time and again...where it leads, I don't know."
Rumors surrounding the imminent demise of the
near-insolvent AJcongress have been circulating since shortly after news
broke that it had lost a large sum in an investment with Madoff.
April Haviv Rettig Gur reported for The
Jerusalem Post that the group may have lost as much as 90
percent of its roughly $24 million endowment, and lacked a large
membership and donor base.
According to its Internal Revenue Service Form 990 for 2008, its net
assets dropped from $16.9m. in 2007 to $3.8m. in 2008. It has spent much
of the time since the collapse trying to find a replacement financial
During its 92-years the organization has had a huge impact on the
Jewish-American establishment. Ironically, the American Jewish Congress
was originally formed as an alternative to the Jewish American
Committee, which may now rescue it from insolvency. Under the
leadership of its founder the influential Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the
support of notable jurists Felix Frankfurter and Supreme Court Justice
Louis Brandeis it was an early and loud supporter of human rights,
Zionism and other matters important to the Jewish community in North