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Windows and Doors

Does Sholom Rubashikn Deserve a Life Sentence?

Apparently, Federal prosecutors in the case against the former CEO of Agriprocessors think so. Citing Mr. Rubashkin’s “blatant lawlessness, utter lack of remorse, his egregious and repeated attempts to obstruct justice,” they have asked Judge Linda R. Reade to impose a life sentence. While all of that may be true, can anyone honestly believe that such a sentence would be just?
Animated by precisely that question, a letter written to Judge Reade on Monday, by six former attorneys general, one former solicitor general and more than a dozen former United States attorneys criticized “the government’s extreme sentencing position” and the “potentially severe injustice” that could result.
There is nothing to defend as far as Mr. Rubashkin’s actions are concerned. He has lied, cheated, and remained arrogant about it all – minimizing the significance of his misdeeds in light of the “greater good” served by his commitment to Jewish educational and charitable causes. Frankly it’s shameful. But worthy of a death sentence? Please.
We send people to prison because of their offenses, not because of their offensive thinking –even when that thinking is really offensive.
Is this, as some have suggested, about anti-Semitism on the part of prosecutors? I don’t know, and don’t imagine that it is. But something is badly amiss here and it needs to be addressed. Let’s hope that it is.

  • Pete E. Bovold

    If you think differently, America needs you more now than ever! I’m afraid that as the “powers that be” try to maintain the status quo, those who think differently, for what ever reason, will be in great trouble. Think Germany, 1920-1938. USA, post Reagan has squandered all that mattered, and, from now on will be swirling down the international drain. There is no chance. The futile attempt at maintaining is too late, and the powers that be know it. Flee, if you can. This is going to get really UGLY. Next, it will be you!

  • baruch

    for the chillul haShem (desecration of God’s name) Rubashkin committed in embarrassing the Jewish community worldwide through his foul misdeeds- cloaked in a talis and kaputa, no less! – he deserves the death penalty.
    Or, better yet, trade him to HAMAS in exchange for Gilad Shalit!

  • Lisa

    Oy! If we all got the death sentence for being a jerk (even a king sized jerk) there would be a lot more of us on death row. I don’t think it’s anti-Semitism either, but clearly this guy has ticked people off so badly they are not thinking rationally. Shun him, drive him from business, publicize his misdeeds so that he has to wear them like a hairshirt – but death?? That’s a sledgehammer to kill a horsefly!

  • lana tyrra

    Yes, give him the death penalty, he hurt many people, jews have enough to contend with, we don’t need another jerk, my girlfriend (we’re both jewish) once made a remark to me concerning a jewish dentis with a very mean money grabbing attitude towards her patients, her remark was “that women could start another holecaust all on her own, with her attitude towards other human beings” made me think, & also frightened me about what others think of jewish people- so for the person in question you reap what you sow, he is also damaging the reputation of a lot of wonderfull, creative, compassionate, intelligent jewish people- like my father.

  • Eytan

    Dear Rabbi Brad I think you’re absolutely right!
    With an antisemitic President (the fact that he has Jews around him is not an excuse) it is obvious that all the Jew haters with a little power feel that their time has come…
    As an observant Jew, Rubashkin deserves the penalty the Torah would give to someone like him. Any idea what it could be?

  • Aaron

    I feel bad for your wife and children that they have to live with your twisted logic. You are one sick puppy!

  • Ian

    R. Hirschfield, a “life sentence” and a “death sentence” are two different things. The former means life in prison — that’s what prosecutors are seeking. No comment on appropriateness — just clearing up an apparent misconception in the post (and comments).

  • Ian

    Update: Federal Prosecutors Retreat from Life Sentence Recommendation in Rubashkin Case

  • Arielski

    “Lack of remorse” is often taken into consideration when sentencing a convicted criminal. Perhaps the prosecution is annoyed to know that Rubashkin also exploited desperate illegal workers, including children, under filthy, unsafe working conditions.
    Apparently Rubashkin believes his pride is worth more than his freedom.

  • Harriet B

    What did he do? I still don’t understand what he did.

  • renah

    I have beenfollowing this case and watched interviews with people who worked for him. Everyone was satisfied with their salaries and working conditions. The interviews were held where they worked and you could see things running smoothly in the background. The Rubashkin plant brought life back to a community that had dies—no work, no income. He recreated a community by bringing in new workers-kashrut experts and providing jobs for the whole town. Even the mayor spoke about the value of having Agriprocessor in town. Noone wanted them to close down, but he was forced to do so. PETA started something stupidly. Maybe they should have checked out the non-kosher processing plants to compare. When I think about how they started this destructive process I feel sick. This is the United States where people are free to create their own success within the law. I don’t believe he broke the laws to the degree that warrants anything more than fines and controls. He provided many valuable services and helped the people who worked for him. I hate to think this happened because he made a success of it.

  • Ollie

    I’m not Jewish, nor am I a lawyer. I’m just a Gentile who loves G_d, loves Israel and loves the Jewish people. I’m just a Walgreen’s cashier. Here are my thoughts:
    FTA: Guy Cook (defense lawyer) said, “There was never any intent to steal or cheat or rob anyone.”
    This lawyer is a liar, too.
    FTA: “People believe in him because the mission of Agriprocessors was to provide an important means for Jews to become closer to their connection to God,” defense lawyers wrote in court papers.
    Then why were illegals hired instead of legal, American/American-Jewish citizens? Something’s not right here.
    I do not, for one minute, think that the charges against Mr. Rubashkin were “attacks on kosher slaughter,”
    Sholom Rubashkin is a liar (fake collateral for loans) and a thief ($525,000 stolen from the company).
    FTA: “…(he) directed millions of dollars to be laundered through a secret bank account” in the name of Torah Education.”
    Isn’t money laundering illegal? It was the last time I looked.
    By ordering employees to create false invoices, he caused them to break the law, too. I know there’s a legal term for that, but I can’t think of it right now.
    Death Penalty?? No! The way he committed theivery and used people… Let him wear “the MARK OF CAIN” for the rest of his life.
    After all, non-Jews will point at him and assume that all Jews are like that. Personally, I know better! But this guy’s “lack of remorse” is sickening!
    He should be shunned by all who know him (or will ever know him).

  • Bernard Roth

    A life sentence will give him time to count up his crimes against the US, against the state, against animals, against safety, cleanliness, morality–all of which affect Kashrut. I would bet 3/1 that he will get paroled by some goody-goody after about ten years. Will he be redeemed by them? I doubt it.

  • Greg

    So you’re basicly saying a man deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life because of the things you list?! Oh, and let’s not forget, it “affects Kashrut”. Now, that’s something even the Bible hasn’t thought of: a life sentence for “affecting kashrut”.
    Let’s be honest with ourselves and put aside our various biases and agendas, and then ask: is it right that he get a life sentence or anything even close to it? Please.
    How would any one of us want to be treated if we somehow ended up in court? I for one can easiy say: with fair, equal and agenda-free justice.

  • Pinkfrogssing

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. We can’t simply look the other way because he is a fellow Jew.

  • pharmacy technician

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  • Neshama

    I signed a petition that was circulating on the internet by Chabad, to tell the courts this … don’t let Mr. Rubashkin off easy, but make sure that he is prosecuted according to the present standard of law for the crimes he is alledged to have committed. No one who has commited a similar crime and has been sentenced has thus far received even close to a life sentence! I repeat NO ONE WHO HAS COMMITTED A SIMILAR CRIME and has been SENTENCED, has come close to serving a life sentence. So please, let’s keep the case at hand in context to the sentencing guide lines and not persecute this man because Jew’s should be held to some higher standard of behavior. Let G-d do that, he will have to face his Creator one day, and then he will have to really answer for the fact that as a Jew, and as a Rabbi he should have known better.
    As for those fellow Jews who are for locking up this man for life, remember that how you judge others in this life is how G-d is going to judge you for your behavior in this life. Forgiveness is the best position to take, if you don’t want to be in the hotseat one day when you face G-d. Think about it.

  • Joe

    I agree. I am shocked to hear that Mr. Rubashkin attempted to obstruct justice etc, but he’s no Bernie Madoff. He committed a Chilul Hashem and despite the good deeds he did, it’s possible there’s dirty money there.
    So yes, he should be served justice. But in a “just” way, the judge has no right to make a “lesson” out of the case.
    Let him pay the price, but life in jail is rediculous. Then again, how many spies for our sworn enemies have been let go while Jonathan Pollard rots in jail with no one in a position to serve justice, willing to go to bat for what’s right.
    There’s lots of anti-Semitism floating around in this country, between Christians who can’t forgive the Jews for deicide, and Muslims who believe we descend from pigs and dogs and don’t deserve to share the air they breathe.
    Pretty pathetic. The only answer is for Jews to remain a coherent nation and put aside our differences. The non-Jewish world does it for us, why can’t we do the same?

  • Zvi

    Mr. Rubashkin may have violated a number of laws, as has been reported, but none come even close to deserving the kind of punishment being sought by federal prosecutors. Mr. Rubashkin’s case is reminiscent of that of Jonathan Pollard. Both have been convicted and no one argues that they should not pay the price for their actions. Clearly, however, both are being subject to a double standard. In Mr. Pollard’s case, people convicted of far more serious espionage crimes have long since been released. This same kind of double standard is being applied to Mr. Rubashkin. This is anti-Semitism pure and simple and we ought not be afraid to say so.

  • Shirley B

    What do you expect? Iam neither of Jewish religion nor black but I see discrimination in our President and our Jewish People. I have so many good experiences with blacks and jews and I see a person and not who they are. There are so many wonderful people in the world which includes all races but for whatrever reasons , most people who think they are superior because they are white or (wasps) really hurt our country. What about the people in jail who have murdered innocent children not serving life sentences? Wouldn’t you rather see Rubaskin out on the streets earlier than child murders and molasters. Whee is the common sense in our courts today?

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