Falchuk: Financial support very urgent

Hadassah president appeals to US Jews after Madoff hit; investor banned from leaving NYC home.

Bernard Madoff 248 88  (photo credit: AP)
Bernard Madoff 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Hadassah National President Nancy Falchuk appealed to US Jews on Friday evening, asking for support after the philanthropic organization lost some $90 million it had invested with Bernard Madoff, who has been charged with securities fraud. In an on-line video posted at the Women's Zionist Organization of America Web site, Falchuk said that Hadassah was hit both by the global financial crisis and by Madoff. "We've had to tighten our belt so much it hurts," she says in the video. "But everything we do to meet the challenge is aimed at protecting our core mission of strengthening Israel and the Jewish people." Falchuk asked that "every member of Hadassah and generous non-members" get involved to help the organization through this "critical" moment in which "financial support is so urgent." In the video, she explained that Hadassah needs immediate financial support in order to continue its projects in Israel. But Falchuk also wanted to assure concerned Jews that despite the substantial loss, Hadassah was ready for the crisis. "For much of the past year, Hadassah has been restructuring and cutting costs. Plans we had in place for the coming year are now on fast forward," she said. On Wednesday, a Hadassah spokesman said it was not clear whether the losses connected to Madoff would affect the construction of a new tower at its main campus in Ein-Kerem. Meanwhile, in New York, Madoff, who allegedly plundered $50 billion from investors, lost his right to leave his home Friday and was ordered to hire private around-the-clock security guards to protect him. Facing a growing chorus of angry investors, US Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz approved revised bail conditions, according to which the investor's wife must pay for a security firm to provide 24-hour video monitoring of Madoff's apartment doors. The court order also requires communications devices and services enabling the firm to send a direct signal from an observation post to the FBI if there is an "appearance of harm or flight." Allison Hoffman and JTA contributed to this report.