Jack Abramoff, he of felonious fame, is now working at a kosher pizza joint in Baltimore. As part of his "community service," Abramoff will spend six months working at Tov Pizza. I've eaten at Tov Pizza, before and I can say that its greasy environs surely qualify as community service.
There's talk that he should be working for the other local but higher-regarded Mama Leah Gourmet Kosher Pizza instead. Perhaps he is and just isn't telling Tov Pizza. I'm guessing either way, this probably doesn't bode well for Native Americans.
While it's certainly a bizarre choice for Abramoff to be doing his community service in such a public forum (couldn't he have worked in a quiet office somewhere?), he actually brings a lot to the table at Tov Pizza -- and I don't just mean beignets. After all, Abramoff used to own a kosher eatery in Washington, D.C. He may not have been flipping dough, but at least he knows the ins-and-outs of the kosher restaurant business. Perhaps, he's offering some business tips to Tov Pizza owner Ron Rosenbluth.
"We're all Jews, we're all on the same team," Mr. Rosenbluth told the Baltimore Jewish Times. "I'm more than happy to help a fellow Jew in any way I can." The free and unprecedented publicity Abramoff brings to his shop can't hurt either.
Abramoff likely welcomes this latest development, which paints a humble picture of him literally serving others. Any well-trained PR spin-doctor would say it's good for the Abramoff brand. Because if there's anything Americans like more than baseball and (kosher) apple pie, it's a good redemption story. It's like we're genetically designed to forgive and forget.
But anyone looking for a fresh reminder of the sins Abramoff committed (against various groups -- including Jews) need look no further than the mind-boggling new documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, which chronicles many -- but not all -- of the outrageous illegal activities Abramoff was involved in. (One of the torrid tidbits left out of the movie is the sudden closing and firing of all the employees of a Jewish school that Abramoff founded.)
Abramoff's road to recovery is littered with the detritus of people and organizations that Abramoff -- employing a monumental level of chutzpah -- hurt along the way. In some ways, serving sub-par pizza is an apt metaphor for the fraud that Abramoff used to peddle.