Culture, Justice, Politics, Religion

We haven't heard from Sholom Rubashkin for awhile…

… and we likely won’t for around 27 years. On June 21, Sholom Rubashkin, former head of the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, IA, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for 86 counts of fraud. According to the Huffington Post, prosecutors chose to not pursue the immigration charges (regarding the no less than 400 undocumented workers discovered working in his plant) because of the “decisive fraud conviction.”
While defense attorneys sought a 10 year conviction, prosecutors relaxed their request of life imprisonment to 25 years; in the end, U.S. District Judge Linda Reade of Cedar Rapids sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in prison and ordered him to repay his lenders.
According to the Huff Post report:

In a statement released after the sentence announcement, Agudath Israel, an ultra-Orthodox organization, called it “a dark day” for both American justice and American Jewry.
“While none of us condones any wrongdoing by Mr. Rubashkin, the extraordinary severity of the sentence imposed upon one of our Jewish brothers sends chills of shock and apprehension down our collective spine,” the statement reads. “This is a horrifying development.”

Hopefully enough chills of shock and apprehension to stop any other gross injustices against God, Creation and humanity from the Jewish community…

16 thoughts on “We haven't heard from Sholom Rubashkin for awhile…

  1. i challenge you, for real, to meet Sholom Rubashkin, speak to him for ten minutes, and see if you dont a. change your mind, and b., do teshuva.

  2. “prosecutors chose to not pursue the immigration charges (regarding the no less than 400 undocumented workers discovered working in his plant) because of the “decisive fraud conviction.”
    Obama sure is thorough when it comes to the non-enforcement of immigration law.

  3. @mottel-
    Did I say anything bad about Sholom Rubashkin as a person? I’d love to sit down and speak with Sholom Rubashkin for as long as he’d be willing to do so. Perhaps I’ll be able to visit him at his new home for the next 27 years. So, seriously, if you happen to know any way that I may be able to meet Mr. Rubashkin, please let me know because I would certainly not pass up the opportunity.
    I’m not sure what Obama has to do with it… the decision to not pursue immigration charges, according to the quote, was the prosecutors, not the president’s. I’m not a lawyer, but from my courtroom and judge’s chamber knowledge via Law & Order (dun dun!), this type of thing may not be so unusual? either way, I’m not so clear on what Obama has to do with this trial.

  4. “I’m not so clear on what Obama has to do with this trial.”
    He’s the president of the united states. I’m pretty sure some domestic soft power is included in the powers of office. And with all the immigration related news lately I’m sure some bright prosecutor got the message (wink, nod) not to get immigration negatively in the news.
    Other people who got the hint are: the judge who approved his aunt zeituni’s residence, the head of ICE who made the remark that they may not necessarily process illegals caught by Arizona law enforcement, the ICE people who released that illegal alien harvard student, etc.

  5. I worked for the I.C.E to do this raid on the plant back in May of 2008. I personally handled the documents and saw first hand the fraud that was taking place. I worked this job unknowingly of the details and was not happy to feel like a nazi. It was a complete flash back to the worlds history when I an arian walked past jews and mexicans on the other side of the fence.
    With that being said I still stand by what happened and can honestly say everyone was treated fairly and with care. The government only wanted to go after who was in charge stealing social security numbers and a long list of other crimes against humanity.
    This guy deserves every year.

  6. Justin, I think Mottel’s point is that there seems to be a certain glee in your “and we won’t for 27 years…” It would behoove someone with a Jewish Bloggers for Responsible Speech to refrain from anything that smacks of schadenfreude. You do not seem to do this in your post.

  7. did steve just call himself an “arian” (sic)? aren’t aryans white nationalists? do people use that word in a non-racist context?? help me out here.

  8. It is good to see justice being served. Unfortunately, Rubashkin’s imprisonment won’t undo the damage to our community and to the lives of people he hurt. Mottel- I hope, for his sake, that he performs teshuvah.
    Formermuslim- Do you have any possible shred of evidence for involving Obama in this conversation?

  9. The federal prosecutors didn’t pursue the immigration charges against Rubashkin because they didn’t want to waste government resources on a second trial once they’d already managed to convict him of 86 counts of fraud. Not because of some Obaman conspiracy to thwart immigration law (a majority of the illegal immigrants who were arrested in the raid were deported–they just dropped charges against Rubashkin for his role in the immigration violations).
    There are probably thousands of other crimes Rubashkin could be tried for as well: perjury, obstruction of justice, Social Security fraud, tax fraud, etc. But it’s not worth wasting taxpayer-funded resources to do so because it’s clear to everyone that the severity of his sentence stems in large part from the fact that he committed all kinds of bad acts above and beyond the 86 of which he was convicted, and that sends a strong message to business owners everywhere that they will be punished if they engage in massive corruption.
    As for whether Rubashkin is a good guy, he may very well be warm and fuzzy and outwardly pious in person. I’ve heard Madoff was pretty nice, too. But Rubashkin either perpetrated or chose to be willfully ignorant of extraordinary injustices committed against workers (including children), animals, banks, the principles of kashrut and the reputation of Jews in general, and there is nothing righteous about that.
    There also is nothing pious in constantly invoking your religion as a defense. As a Jew who grew up in Iowa, I find it deeply offensive that this man (who did more to perpetuate bad stereotypes of Jews than anyone in the history of the State of Iowa) asked to have his trial moved to another state because he didn’t think an Iowa jury could be impartial. The judge granted his request, and yet the Chabad PR machine continued to malign her as anti-semitic. So it shouldn’t be a shock or surprise that when he asked for a downward departure in his sentence from the federal guidelines because he stole not out of material self-interest, but out of “religious obligation” to his family and kosher-keeping Jewish carnivores in general, the judge (correctly, from my perspective) smacked down that argument and gave him a lengthy sentence instead.
    I admire the unabated optimism of those Lubavitchers who believe Rubashkin has seen the error of his ways and who pray for his redemption, and I understand the desire to stick up for one of their (our?) own. But I think it’s disgusting that so many of his supporters seem to think his case is an example of discrimination against Jews, or that it was somehow Judaism itself that was on trial rather than Mr. Rubashkin. If anything, this trial was about the utter contempt Mr. Rubashkin demonstrated for the non-Jewish world (including Guatemalans, animals and the entire American legal system). And that is why many of us find it very hard to have any sympathy for Mr. Rubashkin, no matter how harsh his sentence may seem.

  10. Let me just apologize on behalf of Jewschool. When we decided to go forward with this post, we didn’t know about the gemara that says that Dina D’malchuta Dina only applies to people who don’t seem really nice after you sit down and chat with them for a bit.
    If he’s an Orthodox Jew, his teshuva is irrelevant. He should believe in following the law of the land he lives in. He didn’t follow those laws and now he’s going to jail for it, which is also a part of those laws.

  11. Shoshie- No, and I think I made my point. Obama wants open borders and there is the impression that someone is micromanaging every immigration related incident to ensure the outcome is to his liking.
    I’m not saying that’s true, but when a coin lands on heads 100 times in a row, somethings fishy with the coin.

  12. Themicah – his trial was moved from Iowa to a venue in South Dakota because of impartiality not because of his Jewishness or hassidic dress, but because of pretrial publicity. This misstatement of yours shows two things:
    1. Only antisemites and biased liberal Jews looking for reasons to attack or scream ‘hilul hashem’ would argue the reason the trial was moved is because Rubashkin thinks all Iowans are antisemites. Do you seriously believe there is a credible argument that there would be less antisemitism in South Dakota than in Iowa, a state with a considerably larger Jewish population. Wouldn’t a South Dakota jury think Hassids are stranger than Iowans?
    2. This fact does little to prove that Judge Reade is not an antisemite (of course, it doesn’t say she is either).

    1. “Defendant argues that a downward variance is warranted in light of his charitable
      deeds and civic involvement. The court finds Defendant’s charitable and civic involvement
      is not an adequate basis for a downward variance in the instant action. Like most human
      beings, Defendant’s character includes good traits and bad traits. In fashioning
      Defendant’s sentence, the court shall consider all of defendant’s history and
      characteristics—both the good, such as his charitable nature, and the bad, such as his
      dishonesty. In light of Defendant’s character as a whole, the court finds that his charitable
      and civic nature does not warrant a downward variance. Additionally, it is entirely
      possible that a number of Defendant’s charitable deeds were funded with proceeds from
      his crimes. It is far easier to be generous with someone else’s money instead of one’s

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