Rabbis: Forex Is Like Violating Sabbath
Sarit Menahem • Ha'aretz
Leaders of the extremist ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit strongly denounced the practice of home foreign currency trading, saying they take the matter as seriously as violations of the Sabbath.
"Many people are tempted to start off by playing 'demo' games, and when success shines on them, they start actually trading. From here, the path to losses can be short, and the investor can lose everything," said the dayanim ("judges") on the Eda Haredit rabbinic court in Jerusalem last week.
They called for "decisive action" against the phenomenon, such as the protests against parking lots and factories that are open on the Sabbath. Jerusalem has seen weekly protests over the latter two issues, some of which have turned violent.
The declaration came during a run-of-the-mill case involving a delinquent loan, the weekly Bakehila reported. The complainant had loaned NIS 100,000 to the defendant, the owner of a charity. However, the second man invested all the money through a forex company, and lost it all.
Rabbis Moishe Sternbuch and Yaakov Mendel Yurovitch said foreign currency trading should not be discussed for any reason other than making a living - meaning, gambling is off-limits.
The Haredi community in particular has been hard-hit by the growth of forex companies, since many young people see them as an opportunity to improve their modest lifestyles.
"These are young people who already have two or three children, and several more on the way," said a source from the community. "They know that in another 20 years they'll need to marry the children off. The average Haredi wedding costs about $60,000. It's very hard to save this money from manual labor, and safe investments offer low interest rates, so they look to make quick, easy money. The foreign exchange companies offer them insane quantities of leverage - you can put up $2,000 but trade $2 million. Many ultra-Orthodox are tempted, because in theory, you can double your money in two minutes."
Not surprisingly, many people lost big trying.
[Hat Tip: CS.]