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Excuse For Criminality

Excuse For Criminality

Whoa! Benjamin Brafman has a well-deserved reputation as a criminal defense attorney, and he is certainly entitled to his literary criticism of Erica Brown’s work (“There Is No ‘Season Of Scandal,’” Opinion, Sept. 24).
He also is correct to remind us of the presumption of innocence of the accused. But, please, to blame the financial crimes of some co-religionists on “the financial pressures of raising large families and the added pressures of meeting huge educational expenses” is an insult to those who gladly support families and pay day school tuition out of hard and honestly earned incomes.

Where in their yeshivot curriculum that the Orthodox Jews Brafman so glibly defends is it taught that the pressures he cites make money laundering, embezzlement, bribery and false statements to investors permissible? Do they teach only nine Commandments, omitting “Thou shall not steal?”
As we read on Sukkot, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Brafman’s arguments of familial and educational pressures, good works and regulatory (legal?) naïveté may work before a jury or a sentencing judge, but he insults the readers of The JewishWeek, if not the Jewish community as a whole, by offering them as an excuse for outright criminality.

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