Officials from Birthright Israel, concerned by the number of phone calls and inquiries that they have received asking if Birthright was closing because of the Bernard Madoff scandal, want to make clear that the organization lost no money as a result of the $50 billion fraud.
Birthright does not invest its money long term, as it spends every dollar it takes in on the free 10-day trips to Israel it gives to Jews between the ages of 18 and 26.
Some people may be confused by the news of the Lappin Foundation closing in Massachusetts, which sponsors a program that sends younger children to Israel. That program is in no way affiliated with Birthright however.
While Birthright’s donor base could be hurt by fallout from the case, the organization has not found any major donors hurt in its initial surveys, though they are incomplete. Birthright itself has not lost any money it had in hand.
"Too many people think we’re going out of business. The truth is we’re completely unaffected by Madoff, and in comparatively good shape,” said a spokesman for the organization in an email to JTA. “Especially compared to pre-60th anniversary numbers. We’re alive. And doing reasonably well, thank you very much – though we need to do better.”