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Is the Rubashkin Trial anti-Semitic?

By Eliyahu Fink

In a word, no.

If you are like me, you have been reading about the Rubashkin saga for months. What began with a Federal raid at a meat processing plant to ferret out hundreds of illegal alien employees is now culminating with a federal and state trial. (Link)

If you are like me, you have been hearing that the raid was “disproportionate” and fueled by anti-semitism.

If you are like me, you have been hearing that his federal sentencing recommendation was anti-semitic. (Link)

If you are like me, you have been hearing how the county jail was anti-semitic in not providing food that was kosher “to Rubashkin’s standards” and not permitting him to wear religious garb (tzitzis / tzitzit). (Link)

I have three things I want to say.

1) I feel terribly for Rubashkin. I feel terribly for any criminal who is sentenced to prison but more-so when the criminal is a family member of mine. As a fellow Jew, Rubashkin is family and it pains me to see him in this state.

2) Rubashkin is the cause of much of the animosity towards him from the prosecution and judiciary. It is NOT, I repeat, NOT because he is Jewish, nor is it anti-semitic.

3) Even those who cry anti-semitism in this case are misusing the term in a gross way.

I think #1 is a well represented opinion throughout the Jewish community. It does not require any more attention from me. Consider me to have said “ditto”.

Number 2 is something that has been so wildly misunderstood it almost seems blatant. The reason Rubashkin’s plant was raided was NOT due to a plan hatched in the bowels of a Ku Klux Klan facility. The reason his plant was raided was because he snubbed the Unions by hiring illegals and the Unions were none-too-happy. They made the infractions known to the Feds and they raided the plant. Were there too many helicopters and fancy weapons? Probably. Was it anti-semitic? Probably not. The people who make these kinds of choices don’t, actually, CAN’T have vendettas against minorities. This is the Federal Government of the most benevolent host the Jewish people have ever had. Use your noodle people! There is no conspiracy!

The sentencing recommendation was well within Federal guidelines. I was talking about the case to a lawyer friend of mine who works for the Court of Appeals and who knew nothing about the case. I told him some of the facts about the bank fraud. His immediate reaction was, “that’s a life sentence”. He didn’t know the crook was a Jew. He didn’t know the crook was accused of other crimes. He only knew about the bank fraud and he said “that’s a life sentence”. Is he anti-semitic? Of course not.

Also, much has been made of “comparable criminals”. It is an unfair comparison because Rubashkin has not been cooperative. He was not willing to accept any plea deals. He maintains his complete, 100% innocence and is a difficult person for the court to deal with. He has many special requests and claims he is being victimized. He has offered only one half-baked apology since this saga began and has not taken any responsibility.

While is jail, Rubashkin has made special requests. Some have been honored and some have not. Some of the requests that have been honored and he has stated that he not satisfied with the kashrus of the food. It is kosher, just not kosher enough. Is it anti-semitic if they give him kosher food that most orthodox Jews would eat?

Also, Rubashkin will not walk without wearing Tzitzis. He states that his religion will not allow him to walk. So he has been carried around so that he will not violate this religious law. The problem is that he is with ignorant of the law or is just trying to be annoying. The law is that when one wears a four-cornered garment (think of a poncho or rectangular wrap) the garment must have a certain formula of strings attached to the garment at the corners. One is not required to wear such a garment. However it has become customary to wear one of these garments with the strings attached for prayer as well as during the day. But if you are not wearing a four-cornered garment the law does not require that you wear the strings (like a button-down shirt or blazer don’t need the strings). So why is Rubashkin making a stink out of an issue that is not religious? Is it anti-semitic if the jail does not cooperate with this?

I think it is clear enough that for every “anti-semitic” act against Rubashkin, there is a plausible non-anti-semitic explanation as well. Let’s just stop with the anti-semitism cries.

As for #3, I dare you to look a Holocaust survivor in the eye and call this anti-semitism. Try telling a Jew who was thrown out of Spain and Portugal for not bowing to the Cross. Or how about Jews who were slaughtered during pogroms. Being prosecuted for actual crimes is not anti-semitism. Anti-semitism is hatred and cruelty to Jews for no reason other than the fact that they are Jewish. That is not the case here.

I have more to say about anti-semitism in general. Stay tuned…


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shmo

    Hesh, you, like many americans, are so open minded, that it seems that your brains have fallen out.
    in an attempt to be open minded etc. you insist that whenever a jew does something, they are surely wrong, and there is no way that america is anti Semitic.
    just because rubashkin did do wrong, doesnt mean that justice is being served, or that there is no anti semitism involved.
    there were other raids that happened at the time, but none so fierce. the government chose to make rubashkin an example for all.
    and denying him many of his rights all throughout.
    i dont want to regurgitate the entire argument, but stop being so apologetic to the world, and recognize that there is anti semitism in the US, and that justice is not being done.

    (just for an example, how come PETA always attacks Shechitah in the media, and dont chase down every other slaughterhouse around the world even half as much, which are just as brutal and worse?!)

    • ghottistyx

      WRONG! No one is saying that Jews are ALWAYS wrong! Only that when a Jew farts, it doesn’t stink any less than when a goy farts!

      It should be obvious if you read this site that Heshy is perfectly willing to praise Jews. Just read his many articles on how much he loves Chabad, about the various interesting communities he’s visited. When one actually did nothing wrong, he would be willing to defend it. However, what is wrong with saying that when a Jew committed a crime, that they must be held responsible for it? I know many black people who believe that OJ is guilty; is he any worse than them?

      As for PETA, I would not judge America and the entire media by them. I would not judge anyone by them. They are just one organization that has their priorities in the wrong places. If the House of Representatives was calling a session to question Shechita (thereby violating, amongst other things, the first ammendment), then I would smell a rat. But PETA…few people I know actually take them seriously enough for me to even be stirred by their qualms with shechita.

    • I love it how quick to dis me you folks are but, I didn’t even write this article, precisely for the reason that I don’t really follow this sort of thing. The second someone cries anti-semite, Abe Foxman enters the mix or I start getting calls to say tehilim for a criminal I tune out – unless it involves tehilim for someone who was proven to molest children – then it’s spicy, but illegal immigration, everyone’s doing it man. Funny how the Jews are so anti-illegal immigration yet they are saying that everyone does it – make up your damned minds already.

      Do you want to throw illegals out of this country, or do you want every shmo hiring them to do the jobs no one else wants to do, like pick fruits and wash dishes.

      • ghottistyx

        I apologize for wrongly throwing you into this. For a second there, I forgot that this post wasn’t WRITTEN by you. Little though I know about you (and less about Rabbi Fink, who I have met, but I haven’t seen for over 15 years), I’m with you on tuning out the calls for tehillim, et al.

        As for the shmos that call you too open minded that your brains are at risk of falling out…the amazing thing is they say it like that’s an insult. Better have your brains fall out from open-mindedness than freeze from stagnation of being closed-minded.

        • You know me?

          Care to out yourself??? 🙂

          • ghottistyx

            As I said, we haven’t seen each other in over 15 years.

            Real name is Moshe Fishman. We were CITs in Camp Regesh together. If I’m not mistaken, your father was the camp owner.

            • My father is one of 3 partners who own the camp.

              Thanks for saying hi!

              • ghottistyx

                Sure thang. If I’m ever around Venice Beach again (haven’t been for 10 years), I’ll look you up.

  • ghottistyx

    All I got to say is Yashar Kochacha. I’m still not intimately familiar with the facts of Sholom Rubashkin’s trial enough to argue one way or another, but I have been arguing for quite some time that this is not anti-Semitic; nor was that raid on the Deal community; no more than the “Jew media” is to blame for the mass amount of attention to pedophile priests (recently alleged by a Lithuanian priest).

    On a side note, I recently sat with an old friend who currently is employed by YU. He basically is running a program that encourages REITS candidates to deal with real community issues (not just be stuck in the beis midrash the entire session). I asked him YU’s stance on being a moser. He answered that by all means, they take “dina d’malchuta” VERY seriously. He did not believe that being a “malshin” applies to America, as America is not The Roman Empire, The Sassanid Empire, Chelmnitzki’s Ukraine, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, et al, where the government was overtly anti-Semitic. However, he did state that one should “be real” about it. For example, let’s say the fire department only allows 200 people seated in a shul and 210 people show up for Rosh HaShana davening. Here, even if you did call the Fire Marshall, he’d just take one look, laugh, and leave without doing anything. So in a case like that, where even the authorities wouldn’t do anything, you are under no halahcik obligation to report it. However, he brought up a case where a Yeshiva was trying to save itself some time/resources/money by not hooking up its sprinkler system. Now THIS is something that the Fire Department would not take sitting down, so this is something we would be obligated to report.

    I know I’ve said this too many times, but I’ll say it again. The word anti-Semite gets thrown around way too freely, mostly by people who’ve never actually experienced the real deal. My grandma the Holocaust survivor is willing to call Rubashkin’s case anti-Semitism, but even she doesn’t speak about it with the same fervor that she speaks of Hungary’s attitude toward the Holocaust. She can speak of anti-Semitism much better than I ever will. But most of the time when I hear anti-Semitism thrown around, I can’t help but think of Uncle Leo from Seinfeld–who would accuse a diner of being anti-Semitic because they overcooked his burger.

    I especially don’t want to hear any more comparisons between Sholom Rubashkin and Alfred Dreyfus. In Dreyfus’ case, there is ample evidence that the entire thing was fabricated! Dreyfus was actually guilty of nothing more than circumstance–being a Jew in a newly emancipated Western Europe that still considered Jews to be outsiders and thus was an easy target (there is ample documentation about this sentiment throughout the 19th century). This was the new face of anti-Semitism in post-Napoleonic Europe. However, to say that Rubashkin is the victim of the same thing in America is simply preposterous! Unlike Dreyfus, Rubashkin actually committed a crime! The charges are not being trumped up in any manner that’s unbefitting, and the sentencing being harsh has NOTHING to do with the fact that Rubashkin in Jewish!

    • Thanks.

      FYI: Check out my post on mesira from the around the time the Dwek case was going here: Mesira (The Jewish Informant) in Halacha

    • Simply Stunning

      “I’m still NOT INTIMATELY FAMILIAR WITH THE FACTS of Sholom Rubashkin’s trial ENOUGH TO ARGUE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, but I HAVE BEEN ARGUING for quite some time that this is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC”
      Listen to yourself!!
      You don’t know nothing!!!

      • I read the court transcripts. I read the decision by the court of appeals to deny summary judgment for insufficient evidence. I read the articles in the Des Moines register.

      • ghottistyx

        “true wisdom comes in knowing that you know nothing”–Socrates

        Meditate on that for a bit.

  • Nosson

    ” the government chose to make rubashkin an example for all.”

    So does the Torah, it’s time to start acting like a ben melech. I’m glad the US government is throwing the book at him, we (as a community) deserve it. We need to do better at being Jews.

  • Dave

    “The reason his plant was raided was because he snubbed the Unions by hiring illegals and the Unions were none-too-happy. They made the infractions known to the Feds and they raided the plant. ”

    ——

    Right. Because the Bush Administration Justice Department was well known for its deep defense of Union interests.

  • Jews who cry “anti-semite” are similar to blacks who cry “racist” are similar to women who cry “sexist” are similar to homosexuals who cry “homophobe”. All of these words are magic words that are used to silent opposition. And people try to take advantage of these words whenever they have an opportunity to. I do not really care about if a person is hateful or not. I really care more about what is actually being done. As I said in my other post, the trails about Rubashkin is an injustice. A person who helped so many Mexicans find a job is now being enslaved and kept in an iron cage for an indefinite period of time. How can any sane person claim this is “justice”? This is the great sin against Rubashkin. And I hope that any person who claims to stand for justice will realize this injustice.

    • A person who helped so many Mexicans find a job

      You mean like the teenagers who were doing dangerous work?

      What a chesed. Wow. I am sure his hiring them was purely for the sake of helping out the poor Guatemalan children (not Mexicans, either you are racist and call all latinos “Mexican” or are just ignorant of the facts) and not because he could pay them way below minimum wage.

      kept in an iron cage for an indefinite period of time

      Seriously? It is not indefinite, he will be sentenced eventually and what do you suppose we do with criminals? No jail for anyone?

      • “You mean like the teenagers who were doing dangerous work?

        What a chesed. Wow. I am sure his hiring them was purely for the sake of helping out the poor Guatemalan children and not because he could pay them way below minimum wage.”:

        Oh no, it was not chesed. I entirely agree with you. However, even though he was acting in his own self-interest, he brought indirect benefit to the Mexicans. Consider this, if he did not bring benefit to the Mexicans, then why would they choose to give up what they have to come and work for him? Indeed, it must be the case that they are being benefitted by him. His self-interest brought most prosperity to the Mexicans, as Adam Smith beautifully summarized, “it is not the from the benevolence of the baker or the brewer that we expect to get our dinner, but with regard to their self-interest”.

        “(either you are racist and call all latinos “Mexican” or are just ignorant of the facts)”

        That is the magic word right? “Racist”. Anytime someone does not agree with you, just find some way to call him a “racist”. That is the magic word that wins all argument. But I do not care. Put whatever label you want to on me. Fine, I am a racist, I let you call me that. Does that make you feel better? Because you are not refuting my arguments, you are only refuting my personality, which is irrevelant to a debate. Truth is independent of who speaks it, be he virtuous or not. I might be the most evil person in the world but speak the truth.

        “Seriously? It is not indefinite, he will be sentenced eventually and what do you suppose we do with criminals? No jail for anyone?”

        It does not justfy putting him in jail. I want to hear a rational argument for why he needs to go to jail other that he hired Mexicans (or whatever they happen to be). Not an emotional appeal.

        If you want to see my position with regard for enslavement of other humans beings you can read this, skepticbutjewish . blogspot . com/2010/05/punishment-and-vengeance . html

        • h no, it was not chesed. I entirely agree with you. However, even though he was acting in his own self-interest, he brought indirect benefit to the Mexicans. Consider this, if he did not bring benefit to the Mexicans, then why would they choose to give up what they have to come and work for him? Indeed, it must be the case that they are being benefitted by him. His self-interest brought most prosperity to the Mexicans, as Adam Smith beautifully summarized, “it is not the from the benevolence of the baker or the brewer that we expect to get our dinner, but with regard to their self-interest”.

          I refuse to address this comment. You are one sick person. So I guess sex-trafficking is okay with you because the lucky teenage girls get PAID (oooh money!!!) and it really benefits them.

          I might be the most evil person in the world but speak the truth.

          Maybe you are accustomed to speaking the truth. Unfortunately you failed to do so here…

          • SkepticButJewish

            “I refuse to address this comment. You are one sick person. So I guess sex-trafficking is okay with you because the lucky teenage girls get PAID (oooh money!!!) and it really benefits them.”:

            E Fink. The reason why you refuse to address my comment, is because you are an emotional piece of garbage. You are nothing but a demagogue. Here I sit and make an argument against your position. How do you respond? Do you reject what I propose? No. You have to bring up some exaggerated example that has emotional appeal to make me look like a monster, that is the true intent of your response to me. What is this the Bill O’Reilly factor?

            Do you honestly believe that it is fair to compare a teenager working in a factory to a teenager working for sex? Do you really believe it is a fair comparison? If you do then you are mentally retarded.

            And besides why do you even use children in your argument? I did not even bring children up. I was talking about Mexicans (or whatever they are) in general. But you cannot stick to general, you need to single out kids. You single out children precisely for emotional appeal. “But what about the children?!?”. How many times did I hear this emotional garbage in debate from demagogues like you. We were discussing Mexicans, and you have to bring children up.

            Furthermore, if you do want to bring children up, then bring the fact that they were working in a factory. Ask me if I think it is okay for children to work in a factory. Ask me that question. Do not immediately jump to some extreme for the sake of gaining emotional points.

            “Maybe you are accustomed to speaking the truth. Unfortunately you failed to do so here…”:

            Show me where I am wrong. Your entire response to me, basically comes down to. “What about the children?! You are wrong!”. How is that refuting what I have said. I made a point about why I think that his self-interest benefitted the Mexicans. You respond to that by saying “I will not even respond to that point”. And then you finish it of by saying “you fail to present truth here”. Why? Why do I fail to present truth here. Saying to your opponent “you are wrong” is not a response worthy of respect. Look, I can do the same thing. You are wrong. See, that did not take much talent

        • G*3

          > I want to hear a rational argument for why he needs to go to jail other that he hired Mexicans (or whatever they happen to be).

          How is this different than: I want to hear a rational argument for why the murderer needs to go to jail other that he killed someone.

          • “How is this different than: I want to hear a rational argument for why the murderer needs to go to jail other that he killed someone.”

            Very simple. The murderer is a dangerous person to society. We put him into a cage because he is a threat to the lives of other people. Thus, he is like a dangerous chemical for a chemist, a chemical which is kept in a special container. The murderer is dangerous.

            Furthermore, a murderer takes a life from another person without the other person giving him any consent to it. Mexicans who came to work for him where not forced with a barrel of a gun. They voluntarily choose to do this, thus, it must be the case that this situation (of working for him) was more beneficient for them than any other option that was open to them.

            That is a rational defense. This is what I want to hear with regard to this Rabbi. No one ever offers and rational defense. It is just a load of emotional non-sense.

            • Aha. So you are under the false assumption that the only reason worth punishing a criminal is if he is a physical threat to society.

              You are 25% correct. There are 3 other equally valid purposes of punishment. They are: Deterrence, Rehabilitation and Retribution (along with your personal favorite Incapacitation these form the 4 purposes of punishment).

              Also, you are mistaken about why Rubashkin is incarcerated. It is because of his Federal Bank Fraud charges, not his “chessed” of “allowing” the lucky “mexicans” to work in his cushy plant.

              If you would try your “rational defense” in a court of law, you would probably be laughed out of court and then sued for malpractice. “She liked it” is not a defense to rape and “it was beneficial to them” is not a defense to hiring illegal workers.

              Further, consent is not a defense to a crime. If I consent that you kill me and you do so, you are a murderer. Just ask Dr. Kevorkian.

              Finally, one could argue that an accomplished fraudster is a menace to society and should be incarcerated.

              And for the record, I have expressed zero emotion throughout these debates.

              • “Aha. So you are under the false assumption that the only reason worth punishing a criminal is if he is a physical threat to society.You are 25% correct. There are 3 other equally valid purposes of punishment. They are: Deterrence, Rehabilitation and Retribution (along with your personal favorite Incapacitation these form the 4 purposes of punishment).”:

                You are missing a very important point. Deterrence, Rehabilitation and Retribution do not justify enslaving a person who harmed no one else. Let us suppose that blinding people and ripping out their nails empirically proved to have been excellent for Deterrence, Rehabilitation and Retribution. Of course, this is not really true, but let us pretend it is for a point that I am about to make. If ripping out nails and blinding people empirically proved to be successful, would be have an excuse to do it? No. It will be unjust. It will be torture. Thus, EVEN if those three reasons that you mention are empirically true, it does not give you an excuse to jail a non-violent criminal. Besides, there are other ways to achieve these three elements. For example, you can fine people who do non-violent crimes. So take all the money away from this Rabbi, rather than putting him into a cage.

                Let me tell you the real reason why jailing exists in US. It exists, 98% of the time, as revenge. We use the state as the instrument of our vengeance. And do not deny that to me. Look at yourself and look at everyone else on this forum. Everyone, and you included, is so happy that he got enslaved. Everyone gets so angry at one who suggests otherwise. Your psychological reasons are very clear. You want vegeance. You are happy to see him in some sort of suffering. Look at the emotional appeals that you used above. It is clear what your psychology is.

                “If you would try your “rational defense” in a court of law, you would probably be laughed out of court and then sued for malpractice. “She liked it” is not a defense to rape and “it was beneficial to them” is not a defense to hiring illegal workers.”

                You are a retard. This is the second time you do this already. Seriously, how much Bill O’Reilly have you been watching? You are a complete fool to think that you can compare working in a factory with low wages to rape. Do you really think you can compare these two? If so, then you are mentally retarded. Rape, by its nature, is violent and without the consent of the woman. Mexicans choosing to risk what they have to work in his factory is consentual and they are benefitted from it.

                “Further, consent is not a defense to a crime. If I consent that you kill me and you do so, you are a murderer. Just ask Dr. Kevorkian.”:

                You foolishly believe that legal is the same as moral. I do not care what the law is. The law, in most cases, is immoral. Freidrich Bastiat, in the short book, “The Law”, beautiful explained how the function of law actually works in practice, you should read it. Do not confuse law with what is moral. What the Doctor did was illegal, but I do not think it was immoral. The people were suffering. They wanted to be put to death. To ease their suffering the Doctor helped them. People own their own life. They can choose if they want to end it. If the law prevents a person from ending his own life, then that law is slavery, that law claims ownership of another person’s life. It was the law against the Doctor that was immoral, not the Doctor himself. Thus, I do defend the Doctor and I condemn the law, as well as our “justice” system for what it trully is.

                “Finally, one could argue that an accomplished fraudster is a menace to society and should be incarcerated.”:

                Go ahead and make that argument with our Rabbi. You not going to make it. Because for you enslavement of this Rabbi is a means to gain vengeance.

                “And for the record, I have expressed zero emotion throughout these debates.”

                Haha, you really believe that? You seem to be under the false impression that being calm is identical as not using emotion appeal. This is false. And I will explain to you why this is false. You are rather calm, yes I grant you that. And I am not calm, I am aggresive and insulting, such as calling you a retard, and rightly so. Of course, I realize that. However, and this is the important point, my insults are not my arguments. If you were to erase my insults there would be a lot of substance to what I am saying in my arguments. You are different. You use emotional appeal. You said “what about the children?!” in my response above. And then you talked about child sex immediately after that as if that is related to what I am saying. Then you talked about rape in this response to me. Do not forget in your first response to me you called me a “racist”. All of these tactics are emotional appeals. Their goal is to make the readers emotional. If I cut away all your emotional garbage then you have almost not substance whatsoever. The only meaningful thing you said in this entire discussion is about the excuse to jail people for other reasons thant to prevent violence. That is it. Everything else is emotional appeal. Thus, you might be calm, but your arguments are emotional. Therefore, being calm does not imply that you do not use emotional appeals. While me, on the other hand, is brutish and aggresive, while my main arguments are not based on emtional appeals.

                • ghottistyx

                  I’m sorry, do you have ANY idea how circular the logic of that last argument was?

                  I’ll give you one clue. Thanks to your last 2 posts, I think I’ve coined a new type of ad hominem argument. I call this one the Reductio ad O’Reillyum. If you’re interested, you may want to do a nice Google search on “Godwin’s Law” and “Reductio ad Hitlerum“. You’ve come up with a completely new fallacy in the same category altogether.

                  And oh btw, if I may nitpick, the name of the show is “The O’Reilly Factor”. For the record, I hate Bill O’Reilly, and I think he’s a very despicable man. But let’s not get carried away in comparing every ad hominem argument to him, shall we?

                  • “I’m sorry, do you have ANY idea how circular the logic of that last argument was?”:

                    How is it circular? You do what I like to call, “pulling statement out your anus”. That basically means you make a dangling statement with no support for it. You tell me that I am using circular reasoning here but you do not explain how. That is exactly what I am talking about. You might just as well have responded to me saying “you are wrong”. If you think my arguments are wrong then explain to me the problem. I do that. I have responded with refutations to the stupitity of Fink. But you do not do that.

                    “I think I’ve coined a new type of ad hominem argument.”:

                    You have no idea what an ad hominem attack it. An ad hominem is NOT when someone gets insulted. Ad hominem is when I use insults instead of arguments. For example, suppose I responded to Fink by saying, “you are such a retard”. That would be an ad hominem attack. Because I have substituted an insult for an argument. But if you read all my responses to him above, I call him a retard only after I explain why he is wrong. That is NOT an ad hominem. I did not substitute insults for my refutations for him, instead I attach insults to my actual arguments. Arguments with insults is not an ad homimen attack, it is just an aggresive manner of debate.

                    “But let’s not get carried away in comparing every ad hominem argument to him, shall we?:

                    It did not use an ad hominem attack, as I defended myself from that fallacy above already. I compared him to Bill O’Reilly because O’Reilly likes to do the same tactics that he does. I remember there was once a guest on the program who said all drugs should be legal. O’Reilly said, “what about the children?!”. Same tactic as Fink. Thus, I humorously (I think it was funny) compared him to Bill O’Reilly. This is not an attack, this is an insult together with a point. If I only said, “you are just like Bill therefore you are wrong”. Then that would be a fallacy. But I did not do that.

                    • ghottistyx

                      I think this comment just about speaks for itself. A turd, called by any other name, would still stink.

                      I was referring to the entire post as a gestalt. It is obvious from your response that the answer is “no”. Well, I’m not going to tell you. You seem like a smart person. So I ask you again. Look back at your argument, and tell me you can’t see how it’s running in circles.

                      Consider: being aggressive and insulting, calling one a “retard”, comparing him to Bill O’Reilly. Now all this is okay SO LONG AS there’s substance behind it. But have you taken the time to consider that perhaps such tactics degrade the argument? That even if there is substance behind it, this unchecked aggression just might be the 1/30th of milk that treifs up the cholent? That your usage of aggression and name-calling changes the quality of your argument from something potentially substantive to a completely different aminal altogether.

                      Pardon my feeble attempt at humor here, but I just gotta think of The Dude and Walter Sobchak arguing about Walter waving a gun around a bowling alley. The Dude, who was getting very worked up and emotional, was telling Walter that he’s got to calm down. Walter calmly responds “I’m calmer than you are!” Sorry, I was just reminded of that.

  • Chris_B

    Rabbi Fink,

    Well said.

  • I don’t think I have ever read such a poorly written article. In several paragraphs you state and restate a premise without using any logic or facts to support your claims. The only support you bring is an anonymous lawyer. That is not a very scientific survey. You claim it is impossible for government organisations to be discriminatory. That is laughable. You backup your third claim by daring me to do something.
    Just because something might not be as antisemitic as genocide, does not make it NOT antisemitic. There can be varying degrees of antisemitism.
    Do you lack a functioning brain? Your article is senseless babble which would be rejected by a high school newspaper .
    Fail.

    • Do you lack a functioning brain?

      No.

      • It’s a blog post. It’s not a submission to NY Times.

        I am glad you had a chance to laugh (and insult me).

        FYI: Every claim I made is supported by THE FACTS.

    • RK

      You claim it is impossible for government organisations to be discriminatory.

      He doesn’t claim that at all. Rabbi Fink doesn’t lack a functioning brain; you lack reading comprehension.

  • The Real Joe

    I have no idea where the author of this article lives but 1] how can he decide that whats going in the prison Rubashkin is being held in is not anti Semites 2] their are certain facts the cant be denied including the fact that the feds did an armed raid even though Rubashkins lawyers where already dealing with the gov in all other cases the Govt gave time for the companies to get the illegals out

    • I live in Los Angeles CA.

      1] I don’t “know” anything. I am merely reporting that the activity described by the national, local and Jewish media in jail is decidedly not anti-semitic

      2] Those are “certain facts that can’t be denied”???!!! Sources please?

  • avrahamct

    Just because Rubashkin may have been treated unfairly, which it seems he may have been, doesn’t mean the reason for his mistreatment was that he was a Jew. My suspicion is that it wouldn’t matter if the suspect was a Jew and Kashrut was the issue or if the suspect was a Catholic and receiving communion every day was the issue–the prison officials (rightly or wrongly) decided to deny him something that he felt was religiously required.

  • Phil

    E Fink,

    You can’t be the judge of whether or not there is any anti semitism involved. You don’t know what’s in the heart or mind of the judge, jury and prison staff.

    In any system, there will always be some leeway to lean towards being lenient or harsh. Though I’m not there and didn’t follow the case at all, I’d be willing to bet that somewhere along the line there have been people that were itching to make an example out of the Jew.

    From what I read, the kosher food was supposedly cooked in non kosher pots, thereby making it unfit for most religious to eat.

    As for not walking with tzitzis, I believe shulchan aruch suggests not going 4 amos without them, hence the minhag to wear them. Many Lubavitchers such as Rubashkin even wear them to sleep, based on minhag. Yes, I’m sure he could find a heter not wear them, as he probably falls under the category of being forced. But he chose not to do so, and insist on his principals. Can you say you’d have the balls to do the same?

    • I can’t judge but the one’s who say there is anti-semitism can?

      • Phil

        E Fink,

        No, but those who visited him can more than than you or I. They all seem to be crying anti semitism. Maybe they’re crying wolf, only God knows.

        A friend of mine was imprisoned in Texas a number of years ago. The judge gave him the max possible sentence, for a crime that he wouldn’t even have got parole here. First lesson learned: don’t mess with Texas, especially when your a visibly orthodox Jew.

        Once in prison, visiting days were on Saturday and Sunday, and the number of weekly vistors was capped. The first warden was “sensible”, and realized that none of his family could make it out there on Shabbat, so he allowed him a double quota on Sunday. When a new warden took over, he cancelled that privilege, thereby slashing his weekly visits by half.

        So, was the first warden a Jew lover and the second normal, or was the first normal and the second an anti semite?

        • Anonymous

          lucky he wasn’t black and retarded, he would have got the death penalty in Texas.

          If Jews don’t want to be punished by the American justice system, they shouldn’t commit crimes in America.

          Gentiles don’t know all the rules of kashrut, they don’t know them well enough to break them maliciously for racism. The prison system is over-burdened, they can’t really be expected to cook everybody a seperate meal, he is allowed to eat it rather than starve to death. He shouldn’t have committed his crimes then he wouldn’t be in this situation.

    • RK

      You can’t be the judge of whether or not there is any anti semitism involved. You don’t know what’s in the heart or mind of the judge, jury and prison staff.

      Um, what happened to dan lekof zechus? Rabbi Fink’s argument is that there’s no evidence that Rubashkin is receiving disproportionate punishment. Normal people presume a lack of anti-Semitism without proof. Uncle Leos presume anti-Semitism until proven otherwise.

  • oh finally

    E. Fink, thank you for demonstrating that there are some sane, intelligent, perspectives in our community still. Why klal yisrael hasn’t rolled its eyes in disgust (carried around over tzitzis! Oh please!). What’s the next (d)evolution of our communities reaction to justified legal trouble of our people, burning garbagecans, throwing rocks, calling earnest policemen nazis and violent protests of feined outrage! Oh wait….

  • oh finally

    Btw, Hesh, where did you find a pic so closely resembling rab dee (sans the skulls in the hat and magen david). Gotta admit a resemblence! 🙂

    • I didn’t post this piece, the author did

      • But it’s your picture! not mine!

        • I just realized that I did post it, I got confused with the devar torah post of yours. I found it on google images.

  • > “Also, Rubashkin will not walk without wearing Tzitzis.” and “It is kosher, just not kosher enough.”

    Forgive me, but since when is there a limitation on freedom of religion?
    Lubavitch has different shitos than we do. They hold it is a halacha to wear a double covering when making any bracha. Any. Bracha. Do we hold that way? No we don’t. I can’t say I know precisely what their shitah is about tzitzis being a halacha per se, but they are definitely very makpid about it. It’s no surprise that he’s sticking to his guns about something that, to him, is one of the ways of expressing what it means to be a frum Jew. (Even without being Lubavitch, what happened to minhag Yisrael k’halacha? It says explicitly in Shulchan Aruch that you can’t walk daled amos without wearing tzitzis. It originated as a minhag, but now it IS a halacha.)

    As well, I can ask for (virtually, aside from contraband obviously) anything I want. If you were to be served food with one of those hechsherim which most Orthodox Jews consider not kosher, would you not make a stink about it? He can have whatever standards he wants and it is illegal to withhold that from him. Lubavitch has some chumras which most Orthodox hechsherim don’t abide by. Why should he have to lower his standards because he’s incarcerated?! He has rights like everyone else.

    > “He was not willing to accept any plea deals. He maintains his complete, 100% innocence and is a difficult person for the court to deal with.”

    You’re surprised that he’s claiming innocence? For goodness sake, so do, um, how many people accused of a crime?! I don’t have the statistics, but I’d venture to say quite a fair amount aren’t willing to accept plea bargains. Why should he exactly? It’s not called “being difficult” not to accept a plea bargain. It’s his RIGHT as an American citizen!

    As for the Antisemitism, I’m not sure what to believe. Having one lawyer claiming “that’s a life sentence” isn’t going to prove anything. Especially considering cases in the past where the sentence was much more lenient. Is there Antisemitism? I don’t know, but your arguments don’t sound very solid.

    • RK

      For goodness sake, so do, um, how many people accused of a crime?! I don’t have the statistics, but I’d venture to say quite a fair amount aren’t willing to accept plea bargains.

      The defendant pleads guilty in 90–95% of all criminal trials.

      It’s not called “being difficult” not to accept a plea bargain.

      The US Sentencing Guidelines explicitly provide a reduction for accepting a plea.

      For someone so ignorant of the law (both in this comment and your comment at 11:08 PM), you’re remarkably confident in concluding that the government violated Rubashkin’s rights.

  • A. Nuran

    Of course it is. Any time a Jew is accused of a crime it’s pure anti-Semitism. The judge is always a Nazi. The evidence is always faked. OJ was acquitted which means that this guy wrongly accused. The sentence is always too harsh because even if he technically broke some stupid goyishe law murderers have gotten off with light sentences. Besides, he’s a tzaddik who has done so much for the community. The supposed “victims” were just goys or off the derech. And a thousand rabbis have signed a petition saying he should be let go, and the Court should apologize.

    That pretty much sums up the Charedi Machine any time a Jew ends up on the wrong side of the law. It doesn’t matter if the charges are true or false. They will say the same thing every single time no matter what the charge or the facts are; there’s absolutely no reason to listen to anything they say because no new information is ever added.

  • Simply Stunning

    Your claim of “it pains me.. family member..” is just plain mean. You try to give yourself the face of someone who cares, but your post and your comments are filled with hate. “You mean like the teenagers who were doing dangerous work?” This is an accusation. It has not been proved. But you use it to demonize your so-called beloved brother, whom you feel so close to.
    Your piece here helps no one. The fact is that Agri hired lawyers to contact the ICE department to tell them that, like other companies had done, Agri was prepared to work with them to solve the issue. The ICE officials in court have admitted receiving two such requests and ignoring them. The fact that you don’t know these truths does nothing to their truth.
    And the way you disregard a Jew’s adherence to a Jewish Minhag (Minhag Yisrael Torah Hee) is shameful. Being arrested for hiring illegals should not force someone to lower their standards of Kashrus, or any of their other Jewish practices. And the fact that you would have him throw these all away because you are ashamed of what will the goyim think is embarrassing.
    Soul searching is in order.
    Shame on you.

    • This is an accusation. It has not been proved. But you use it to demonize your so-called beloved brother, whom you feel so close to.

      If you have been following the case, which I assume you have not, you would know that it not a random accusation. It is evidence that is supported by testimony from dozens of past employees. Are they all lying anti-semites who are part of a broad conspiracy?

      And the way you disregard a Jew’s adherence to a Jewish Minhag (Minhag Yisrael Torah Hee) is shameful. Being arrested for hiring illegals should not force someone to lower their standards of Kashrus, or any of their other Jewish practices.

      Yes it does.

      And the fact that you would have him throw these all away because you are ashamed of what will the goyim think is embarrassing.

      Huh? I would be as cooperative as possible and use any viable heter I could to be as inconspicuous as possible.

      And I can love someone and pray that they be treated leniently, but in no way do I need to pretend that he is a victim. You are the one who has confused compassion with dishonesty.

      • Shaul in Monsey

        The tzitzis issue is a red herring. Rubashkin in jail with tzitzis taken away is an ones, and we all know ones rachmana patrei, someone who is forced in a sitiation is not only not held responsible, he is released from his obligation. If I was stuck on a plane all day with my tefillin in the bagage hold and the airline won’t go get them for me, that’s not antisemitism, it”s circumstances. And in that situation I’d be potir from tefillin. It’s just easier for the community to cry foul than take responsibility and the entire AGRI case is a disgrace.

    • A. Nuran

      If you live in a country and break its laws you can expect to suffer consequences.

      In this country those consequences include imprisonment. When you are in prison the State isn’t required to do very much for you. They have to provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care to a certain (low) standard. Anything else you either do without or earn. It’s not something you can demand.

      Saying “I’m a big Jew. My religion requires you to do whatever I need,” is guaranteed to get you a chilly reception. I read the statements from the sheriff. He tried to work with Midwest kosher food providers. They could provide kosher, but not quite up to Shlomo Rubashkin’s standards. Feeling that he’d made a reasonable accommodation he didn’t go further. That’s actually above and beyond what most prisoners get.

      When he was just a defendant SR could get some sympathy from the Orthodox back home by playing up the religious angle. I’m sure his legal defense fund got a boost.

      Now that he’s a convicted felon he needs to shift gears. He has to live inside the system. The constant protestations that it’s all anti-Semitism and that his essential holiness requires the secular courts to grant him special privileges is going to hurt him in the long run. With the number of felonies he’s been convicted of that could be a very long run indeed.

      Was he guilty of massive fraud? Certainly.
      Did he violate a huge number of immigration laws? It certainly looks that way.

      Does this mean I hope he has a worse time in prison than he absolutely has to endure? Of course not. I hope his stay is as humane as possible and no longer than is reasonable.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you.

    “I want to hear a rational argument for why he needs to go to jail other that he hired Mexicans (or whatever they happen to be).”

    Because they were illegal and it’s against the law. Dina d’malchuta dina. Duh.

    Side note: What is up with people whining about PETA? The only time I’ve ever seen anything in the media about them targeting Shechitah is one one Jewish site, usually in the COMMENTS claiming they’re anti-Semitic when they clearly are not. For the most part, they target fur-wearing celebrities. I went to PETA’s site, did a search and there are only a few articles regarding kosher slaughterhouses but I do see recipes needing kosher salt. If anything, people should be thankful for them. They’re NOT against kosher meat, rather, against hypocrisy.

    Annoying, they may be. Anti-Semitic, they are definitely not.

    • PETA had a campaign against Agriprocessors about 5 years ago. It had nothing to do with illegal aliens or bank fraud but you can read about it and see the horrific undercover video here: http://www.peta.org/mc/NewsItem.asp?id=6003

    • G*3

      > there are only a few articles regarding kosher slaughterhouses but I do see recipes needing kosher salt

      All salt is kosher. “Kosher salt” is an abbreviation of “koshering salt,” and refers to the way the salt is ground.

  • Eli i’m curious of your take on the following scenario: imagine if the whole story unfolded but with a slight twist, Namely it occurred in France. ie The largest immigration raid took place against that country’s largest shecita plant, and all the details that then unfolded.what would your reaction be?
    Of course the question is hard to answer and I guess our answers are painted by our preconceived notions about the real story, but I suspect a lot of people who are jumping to the government’s defense would be more comfortable labeling the exact same story as anti-semitism. I’m curious to hear your thoughts

    • I don’t have enough information…

      Sorry.

      Rest assured, it is very unlikely I would call in anti-semitism, but without more facts, it is impossible for me to formulate an opinion.

      • Anonymous

        what if it happened in Nazi Germany?? What then!!??!1 :X

        • Seriously?

          And what if we really are living in the Matrix and the machines are harvesting us for food?

  • oh Finally

    Do all the apologists here want to argue that chabad also has unique important customs to cheat/forge invoices to steal from banks, endanger the welfare of minors (as defined by the laws of the land) and hire people the laws of our land reasonably forbid? Is that special chabad minhagim like pseudohalachic defense of not walking dalet amos w/o tzitzis and using a particular knife for shechita?
    Shake your head people.

    • I’m not an apologist, I’m merely explaining why he’s doing what he’s doing. You seem to not understand the distinction I made. His religious demands are legitimate. Are you going to deny his constitutional rights because YOU don’t have the same minhagim or halachos? I obviously don’t know anything about you (your minhagim, the poskim and shitos you abide by, etc.) , nor anyone else here, but let’s say they wanted him to take off his kipah. Then what? If anything, the halacha of wearing a kipah is infinitely less grounded in halacha than wearing tzitzis. Would you start attacking him then? He considers wearing tzitizis, as do all Lubavitchers, a halacha. Why should he be forced to neglect, what he considers to be, a halacha because the rest of the Orthodox community is not of the same opinion? The same is true for the shechita. He has a right, as does every person, incarcerated or not, to practice their religion regardless of the sacrifices that need to be made by state and country.

      And honestly, (I’m not going to read all the comments to find the screen name of) the genius who said that he lost his rights when he got arrested, you have got to be joking!! Try that with YOUR kashrus, or say, an Arab and his beliefs. Good luck. Until now there have not been many Lubavitchers thrown into jail, but imagine the first Orthodox Jew thrown into jail. The same discussion probably happened back then. Half of you saying “Oy, he’s a rasha, he doesn’t deserve to be frum, he loses his right to eat kosher.” The other half of us, who believe in the Constitution and freedom of religion, argue that “Ya, he messed up. That doesn’t take away from his rights to eat kosher food.” It’s the same exact circumstance, but he has different rules and regulations than us. Granted, it’s an adjustment for everyone to make, but it’s illegal to withhold from him religious artifacts or food.

      As well, I highly doubt the cooks are cooking any Orthodox Jew’s food, so ordering take-in or however they do it, isn’t a burden on the already over-burdened cooks.

      As an aside, I find it amusing that no one directly responded to what I wrote earlier. 🙂

      • RK

        Are you going to deny his constitutional rights because YOU don’t have the same minhagim or halachos?

        With very limited exceptions, there isn’t a constitutional right to religious accommodation.

        I obviously don’t know anything about you (your minhagim, the poskim and shitos you abide by, etc.) , nor anyone else here, but let’s say they wanted him to take off his kipah. Then what? If anything, the halacha of wearing a kipah is infinitely less grounded in halacha than wearing tzitzis.

        In Goldman v. Weinberger, where the Supreme Court rejected an Air Force officer’s First Amendment claim that he couldn’t be prevented from wearing his kippah, the government did in fact point out that the Shulchan Aruch only requires a kippah at prayer.

  • Jason

    1. Under the Obama Administration such raids are Illegal, Rubashkin was SINGLED out under the Bush Administartion.

    2. Rubashkin was offered a plea deal with many years of Jail sentencing, so it was not even worth it Again Rubashkin was singled out.

    3. Three former US Attorneys General wrote out against the life sentencing issue for Rubashkin, Again Rubashkin is singled out from everyone else.

  • Perry

    Great post, nuff said.

  • TS

    Maybe you’re right and it’s not anti-Semetism, but still, nothing going on here can look too good to outsiders. It reminds me of this article I read once- kind of the other side of the picture. http://www.jewinthecity.com/2010/01/why-do-so-many-people-hate-orthodox-jews/
    I’m not sure which item on the list the Rubashkin case would fit into.

  • Izzy

    While I think good arguments can be made about whether there is any anti-semitism involved in the Rubashkin case (I am not quite sure myself), I wonder how you can be so sure that there isn’t, especially based on your arguments above. Here is my analysis of your points:

    1) You said “(t)he people who make these kinds of choices don’t, actually, CAN’T have vendettas against minorities. This is the Federal Government of the most benevolent host the Jewish people have ever had.” This was probably your worst argument. While the US federal government, as a whole, is generally “fair minded,” and kind to minorities, it is a massive entity made up of individuals whose decisions do not always reflect that ideal, or other ideals of the USA. To assert otherwise is just ridiculous. There have been many situations where the decisions of US officials were made based on motivations that included politics, personal gain, career advancement, and yes, bias or prejudice. There have been many overzealous prosecutors, who clearly were not motivated by the pursuit of justice. The example of Mike Nifong (a state, not federal official) springs to mind, there are many others, at both the state and federal levels. I am sure your friend at the Court of Appeals can give you some examples. An Assistant US Attorney, whom I discussed the case with, did not believe there was any anti-semitism in this case, but was able to list many cases where he said there was.

    2) You said: The sentencing recommendation was well within Federal guidelines. I was talking about the case to a lawyer friend of mine who works for the Court of Appeals and who knew nothing about the case. I told him some of the facts about the bank fraud. His immediate reaction was, “that’s a life sentence”. The opinion of your friend at the Court of Appeals notwithstanding, some of the most prominent attorneys in the country, including something like 6 former US Attorneys General (there are only 10 or 11 alive), dozens of former US Attorneys, and federal judges, signed on to statements that the sentence requested by the prosecution was out of line, and far in excess of what Rubashkin deserved. So while the sentence requested by the prosecution is within the federal sentencing guidelines, these legal experts obviously believe that it would be unfair for Rubashkin to receive the requested sentence, given the circumstances. So, no offense to your friend (presumably a clerk) at the Court of Appeals, but I’ll go with the legal analysis of the former US AGs, etc.

    3) You said: “Also, much has been made of “comparable criminals”. It is an unfair comparison because Rubashkin has not been cooperative. He was not willing to accept any plea deals. He maintains his complete, 100% innocence and is a difficult person for the court to deal with.”

    I honestly don’t have the background in criminal law to analyze to what extent a defendant’s cooperation, or lack thereof, should be taken into consideration at sentencing, and whether it is valid to compare his case to other cases. I doubt you, as a law student have the requisite background either. On this issue, I will defer to the statements of the former US AGs, etc, at least some of which did make comparisons between Rubashkin’s and other cases.

    4) You said: “Also, Rubashkin will not walk without wearing Tzitzis. He states that his religion will not allow him to walk. So he has been carried around so that he will not violate this religious law. The problem is that he is with ignorant of the law or is just trying to be annoying…(s)o why is Rubashkin making a stink out of an issue that is not religious? Is it anti-semitic if the jail does not cooperate with this.”

    You also said (in a comment on your blog): “my opinion is that when you are in jail, you should be meikil.” The law: Under RLUIPA, the government is prohibited from enforcing a regulation that substantially burdens religious exercise unless the regulation serves a compelling interest and is the least restrictive means to achieve that interest. The caselaw regarding what is considered religious exercise under the law is quite deferential to religion, as Congress intended. Thus, whether wearing a four-cornered garment that would require tzitzis is halacha, minhag, or a chumra, it is protected religious exercise, under federal law. [I think this deference is a good thing, as I would hate to see, from a policy perspective, courts weighing in on what is halacha, minhag, daas yehudis, etc.]

    5) You said: “I dare you to look a Holocaust survivor in the eye and call this anti-semitism. Try telling a Jew who was thrown out of Spain and Portugal for not bowing to the Cross. Or how about Jews who were slaughtered during pogroms. Being prosecuted for actual crimes is not anti-semitism.” I take back what I said above. This has got to be your worst argument. Prosecutorial discretion, by its nature, lends itself to the possibility of selective enformcement. If the selective enforcement is being done based on race, that would be racism. Your argument would be akin to telling a black man who was proscuted for the same crime that is overlooked when done by whites: “this cant be racism, because you did the crime. Besides, your grandparents had to deal with church bombings and lynchings. Now that was racism.”

    Bottom line: Were any of the various federal and state agencies, prosecutors, judges, etc involved in the Rubashkin case motivated by anti-semitism? I think its difficult to say for a variety of reasons, For one, people, especially public officials, are much more careful about what they say and how they present things than their predecessors were 2 or 3 generations ago. Its also difficult to define exactly what can be considered as anti-semtism. For example, the federal prosecutor in the Rubashkin case, in arguing against bail, made reference to Rubashkin’s Judaism in connection to Israel’s Law of Return, in effect arguing that Rubashkin was a flight risk, based on of Israeli immigration law. Is that considered anti-semtism? I don’t know. I do find it troubling that a person’s religious beliefs can be used against him when assessing bail. What if the prosecution had argued that Rubashkin is Orthodox, and Orthodox Jews believe in the mitzva of pidyon shvuyim, and are therefor more likely than most to harbor a fugitive from justice?

    My last point: As you progress in your legal (and rabbinical) career, I hope you are careful about which issues you take a public stand on, and what your position you take on those issues. Words do matter.

    • RK

      Two things:

      (1) The letter from the AGs was in response to the government initially seeking a life sentence, but now the government’s seeking 25 years. I think this vitiates arguments 2 and 3.

      (2) In response to number 4, RLUIPA caselaw is generous, but not infinitely so: the test for “substantial burden” in several circuits actually does look at what the religion actually permits and forbids (as far as the court can determine it), and not just whether the conduct is religiously motivated. See generally Mack v. O’Leary, 80 F.3d 1175, 1178 (7th Cir. 1996). Even if we used the more generous test, it’s not clear whether mehadrin kosher food would pass muster. And even if it did, the government might well be able to meet strict scrutiny. In (I think) Cutter v. Wilkinson, the Supreme Court seemed to indicate in dicta that just providing granola and a few other cold foods as a kosher meal would be sufficient if the burden of obtaining hot foot would be too high. And Eugene Volokh, who’s forgotten more about religious accommodation law than we’ll ever know, seems to think that provision of some kind of kosher food is probably necessary under RLUIPA, but not necessarily food that complies with whatever chumros.

      Is 25 years still excessive? Maybe. But sometimes prosecutors are aggressive for other reasons. It’s definitely not so obviously excessive that we’re forced to conclude that anti-Semitism is at work. Dan lekaf zchut.

      • Izzy

        (1) The letter from the AGs was in response to the government initially seeking a life sentence, but now the government’s seeking 25 years. I think this vitiates arguments 2 and 3. -My point is that the federal prosecutors were requesting a sentence that, according to the AGs, was well in excess of what he deserved. The question is what was motivating the federal prosecutors to request the maximum sentence allowable within the guidelines. One possibility is anti-semitism, although that is far from the only possibility, as I noted in my comment above. The fact that the federal prosecutors backed down somewhat on that issue does not change that.

        (2) In response to number 4, RLUIPA caselaw is generous, but not infinitely so…Even if we used the more generous test, it’s not clear whether mehadrin kosher food would pass muster. And even if it did, the government might well be able to meet strict scrutiny… -Eliyahu Fink’s point, and my response, were made regarding the officials’ efforts to restrict Rubashkin’s access to tzitzis and a yarmulka, not kosher food. The fact is that regardless of whether wearing tzitzis and a yarmulka is strictly required by halacha, or just considered a minhag (AFAIK, there are different shitos in halacha regarding whether they are strictly required), it is certainly normative religious practice for an Orthodox Jewish male to wear these things. I honestly haven’t followed the caselaw on RLUIPA the past few years (since I left law school), but I can’t imagine that the caselaw has gone in a direction that would require courts to wade into these issues (i.e. deciding whether something is strictly required by halacha vs. a generally followed minhag). Requiring courts to do so would be terrible public policy, frustrate Congressional intent, and would be contrary to any of the caselaw on RLUIPA that I am aware of.

        Is 25 years still excessive? Maybe. But sometimes prosecutors are aggressive for other reasons. It’s definitely not so obviously excessive that we’re forced to conclude that anti-Semitism is at work. -We agree then. My point was that it is difficult to definitively say that there is not any anti-semitism at play here, given our distance from the matter and the steps people go through these days to avoid appearing racist/anti-semitic, even though they sometimes are.

        Dan lekaf zchut -I am not sure if you are using this phrase colloquially, or mean to apply the halachik concept. If the latter, there are multiple reasons why the halacha would probably not apply in this case. If the former, I will say that your desire to judge favorably is colored by your experiences. I have seen many, many cases where public officials, at all levels of government, were motivated by things other than public service and the pursuit of justice.

  • Little Pom’s Mom

    Just for the record: as someone who has done extensive work related to freedom of religious expression, both in the military AND for those who are incarcerated; let me say that the gov’t will make REASONABLE allowances for religious practice. This does not mean that every little whim (or even minhag) will be treated with the same level of courtesy that a doctrinal teaching will. For many minority faiths (such as Wicca, for example) it means that they can (and often are) denied ANY access to ritual items or even religious services. The 1st Amendment does NOT mean that a prisoner can make whatever religious demand they want & the warden has to deliver. This is simply not the legal reality of the world & those who are screaming for Rubashkin’s Tzitzits are 1) legally in the wrong and 2) overlooking the fact that other prisoners can and will use any long rope or cord as a weapon…and thus the Dept of Corrections has a legitimate security rationale for denying his request. Its NOT anti-semitism….its doing what they can to accomodate the needs of one prisoner without risking the lives of others.

  • Excellent post! There are many things Jews should be outraged about. The treatment of Rubashkin is not one of them.

  • mench

    I would agree the main motive not being antisemitism, but rather some very aggressive special interest groups (the local unions, PETA). But be that as it may, it doesn’t minimize the wrong against Rubashkin.

    • Dave

      So, the Bush Administration was in cahoots with both PETA and Meat Cutters Unions?

      As someone said on another forum, those are three groups that work together exactly never.

  • Anonymous

    “However it has become customary to wear one of these garments with the strings attached for prayer as well as during the day.”

    Actually it’s a d’rabonon to wear a four cornered garment with strings attached and not just “customary”. That being said i do agree that it was a bit excessive of him to not walk without them. That’s what we call being an “o’nes”, (unable to do it for reasons beyond his control). But i do respect his commitment to Judaism. He may be a bit misguided but he seems to have his heart and mind in the right place.

  • Just a Jew

    I’m going to say it like it is.
    I get the feeling that the person who wrote this may not like Lubavitch so much, and it has nothing to do with the specific facts of Sholom Rubashkin.
    So stop talking BS, and say what you mean, because it shines right through your whole encrypted post. You’ll deny it, and you’ll oppose it, and you’ll try to disapprove it, and to be honest I’m not interested in arguing with you, but it was so blatantly obvious I had to point it out.
    I cannot believe you don’t feel sick from your own words.

    • If he wasn’t lubavitch no one would care

      I knew it had to go there – I love it when lubavitchers pull the chabad card and feel like it’s people attacking them. That’s why this guy is getting so much attention compared to all of the other “frum” criminals.

      Oh they hate us because we’re chabad, you people just can’t stop with that bullshit. You milked us for everything we had because two of your shlichim were killed over in India, big deal, I see my brothers get killed every day in Israel and what do we get from you all caring achdus loving chabadnicks. Then you milked us with all of these support chabad contests and now you want to take it to the next level and say that we don’t like you.

      Face it, no body really likes chabad, we get along because you do some damned good things, like all of the soviet and Iranian shit you pulled but, don’t pull that card on us just because we think some guy who broke the law should get thrown away for 25 years.

      I can almost guarantee and that if he wasn’t lubavitch, you folks wouldn’t give two shits. Just like the only reason Martin Grossman got any support was because he was chummy with a chabad prison chaplain.

      Let’s say Rubashkin was some Lakewood guy, would you folks be getting all of these Attorney Generals and PR people to float your case around the media and convince us that it’s anti-semitism?

      • Anonymous

        completely true. The american justice system is manifestly racist against african americans, it is an international scandal but chabad never rioted about that.

  • ipitythefoo

    Just on the subject of undocumented underage workers –

    I have worked in a couple kosher establishments.
    ALL employed illegal Mexican immigrants.
    When one closed, another establishment absorbed the immigrants as a chesed to them.
    These people would not be employed as doctors and lawyers otherwise, in fact the best paying work that ANY of them could find was in kosher establishments.
    I’m sick of hearing this bullshit, especially how dangerous a job might be to someone 17 instead of 18.
    This is idiotic and silly, I can assure you all these individuals very willingly accepted their pay and likely loved their jobs.
    Lets not speak for them, lets let their actions speak.

    • Anonymous

      they would have also liked safe working conditions and minimum wage. Be serious, working as a slave in america might be better than working as a slave in a third world country but that doesn’t mean the slavers are heros. He isn’t being charged with exploiting immigrants but he should be.

      The reason they want to go to America and put up with poor conditions is for a better life for their kids, America offers a better life precisely because of labour laws won partly by working class Jewish immigrants last century. they didn’t keep quiet and gratefully accept the opportunity to work as slaves in dangerous sweat-shops, and that is why america is such a desirable destination for immigrants today.

    • A. Nuran

      If it’s that bad with our labor laws imagine how bad it would be without them.

      And if employers can get away with treating one sort of employee like rotting dog shit they’ll get around to treating the rest of them the same way.

  • ghottistyx

    Someone help me out here. So Chabad is machmir about wearing tzitzit. But is there a clause about if a person can’t wear tzitzit, such as they have no access to it, or the one pair the have is possul. According to their shitta, will they be punished for “sha’ah ha’dachak”?

    I understand that comparing tzitzit to yarmulke is “apples and oranges” as yarmulke is COMPLETELY minhag d’rabanan and tzitzit is d’orayta. However, I know that in the case of yarmulke, you ARE allowed to remove it b’sha’ah ha’dachak (for example, if you are in a dangerous neighborhood and wearing the yarmulka will probably get you attacked). But is there no similar stance on tzitzit? Should we compare it to a case of a person being in a place where he has no access to kosher food?

    Finally, it is my understanding that there are mixed shittot when it comes to wearing tzitzit. I recall that the Soloveichik family will not wear tzitzit on shabbat just in case it becomes possul, because according to them, wearing a possul tzitzit on shabbat will be an extraneous accessory to a garment and will be equal to carrying. This is, of course, a chumra that as far as I know the Soloveichiks are alone in keeping. I asked a sho’el u’mayshiv who was a student of Rav Aharon Soloveichik for over 20 years. He told me that a friend of his tried keeping this minhag of not wearing tzitzit on shabbat. Rav Aharon refused to allow him to do it; he said that this is a Soloveichik family minhag, but the rov don’t follow this, so he has to follow the rov. It’s the old Akavya ben Mehalalel argument…”I heard it from my rov (which would have been his father, Rav Moshe…), but you only heard it from me, so I can’t permit you to follow it, because I’m not your rov.” I don’t know if other members of the Soloveichik family hold this way, but as far as minhagim related to tzitzit go, this is an interesting one.

    • Anonymous

      You can’t blame the american justice system for not understanding all this. 😉

      • ghottistyx

        Thank you. But my question was NOT about the American justice system, but from ChaBaD’s point of view.

  • Anon

    Six US former attorney-generals have stated that his sentence is excessive.

    All the charges of employing illegal immigrants were dropped.

    The fraud he committed was not of the ponzi style. He didn’t steal money from people. He apparently inflated the value of his business to raise a higher loan which he had been paying back.

    32 years? for that. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the case but these is definitely something not quite kosher with it.

    • Monsey Hocker

      Actually, dude, you are a liar. The six former AGs said that a life sentence would have been excessive. None of them said 27 years is too harsh.

  • Anon

    There was also a problem with the trial judge who should have disqualified herself as she has worked with the prosecution at the pre-trial stage.

    • Monsey Hocker

      Are you a Rubashkin? More nonsense. The trial judge is also the chief judge and part of her JOB is to arrange schedules, court calendars and sign warrants. She disclosed her involvement and if you read the crap Lewin is spewing and then read the actual FOIA docs, you’ll see Lewin is full of it.

  • Monsey Hocker

    People come on here. We all know why the frum velt is treating Rubashkin like he walks on water. It’s because all he did was steal from the goyim. It’s not like he did anything really sick and disgusting like wear a blue shirt on shabbos or serve Cumberland Farms milk instead of Golden Flow at shalosh seudos.

  • Mike

    The term anti-semitism is just a coverup for anti-gentilism. Jews like Rubashkin HATE gentiles and HATE this country, and so they break laws and then scream anti-semitism. People like him are going to that well too many times and it’s going to backfire.

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