In case you missed it, the Times had a piece last week about Bernard Madoff’s wife Ruth, questioning what if anything she knew about her husband’s Ponzi scheme and when she knew it. It also had a sidebar on her “authorship” of a kosher cookbook – one of the co-authors now says she did all the work, not Mrs. Madoff.
That’s a little boorish, perhaps, but this bit struck me as a low blow by the reporter:
Mrs. Madoff and her friend, as co-authors, wrote in the book of a high-minded mission: exposing kosher palates to new sensations by collecting dishes from famous restaurant chefs that could be prepared in keeping with Jewish dietary restrictions.
For all the book’s talk of wanting to serve the interests of a “strictly Kosher” crowd, The Daily Mail in London recently reported that Ruth’s husband, Bernard, was quite fond of pork sausages, taboo under any definition of kosher cooking.
What does one thing have to do with another? First of all, Ruth’s practices and her husband’s may diverge — it wouldn’t be the first time that spouses have different ideas about kashrut. And let’s say she also eats trayf — there’s no great contradiction between wanting to expose “kosher palates to new sensations” and not keeping kosher yourself. It’s a cookbook, not a religious confession.
This is journalistic piling on — the husband’s an alleged crook, so he must be hypocritical in all things, as must his spouse. In Madoff’s case you can find enough chicanery without having to invent new charges.