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Fair Justice

Friday, 16 April, 2010 - 1:32 pm

Dear Friends,  

Three years ago we hosted "Evening of Treasures" - an auction supporting Chabad of Vancouver Island, and it fell to me to find the donors. This wasn’t different than any other fundraising campaign - never easy... apart from one particular phone call that I made to a person who I never met, who had no idea where Vancouver Island is... 

I had called Agriprocessors, a large kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa asking them to donate a freezer full of kosher chicken to use at the auction. When I got to speak to the owner, he agreed without letting me finish my sentence. I didn't even have the chance to thank him properly.... 

Later I found out that this person was Mr. Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.  

Today, I have an opportunity to pay back my gratitude for his generosity. This week the United States prosecutors have recommended that Sholom Rubashkin be sentenced to life in prison for financial corruption charges during to his role as an executive in Agriprocessors. 

The US federal government has been overzealous in pursuing Sholom Rubashkin and has submitted him to considerably more severe restrictions and potential punishment than others in similar cases. Rubashkin, a father of ten including one autistic child, will be sentenced on April 28 and faces the possibility of life in prison , far beyond the sentences imposed on others whose crimes were significantly more severe than anything Rubashkin may have done. 

Jurors concurred that Rubashkin did not gain personally from his legal errors and had no intention to cause any monetary loss to anyone. Rubashkin’s lawyers also pointed out that Mark Turckan, who pled guilty to a 21 year cover up of misapplying funds from the same bank, and was found to have caused a similar loss to what DOJ argues was caused by Rubashkin, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. 

World Jewish leaders have carefully researched the prosecution of Sholom Rubashkin and are deeply disturbed.  I am joining thousands of other Rabbis and organizations who are urging their communities to voice their concerns.

In issuing this call, we are in no way condoning any criminal conduct.  Rather, we are asking that Sholom Rubashkin be treated like any other American. 

I urge you to communicate your respectful concern over the handling of the Rubashkin case, and the excessive sentence being considered. (For more details, and to sign an online petition, please see the memo available at 

Please consider forwarding this to your family and friends as well.

Comments on: Fair Justice

Fiona Prince (Morah Feygah) wrote...

Thank you for this story, Rabbi. I agree that Rubashkin's sentence should be similar to others who've committed similar crimes. I will sign the petition.

Nicholas Michael Cohen wrote...

I feel that this man should be treated with appropriate kindness.