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Protestor at a Prayer Rally

June 20, 2011 – 10:52 pm114 Comments

This is the poster advertising the event

The following is a personal account sent to us by someone who attended the prayer event held last week for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin. The author supplied their name and address to us but wanted to write anonymously on this issue, due to the whistle-blowing nature of the piece.

A prayer event and fundraising rally was held in Melbourne for Sholom Morderchai Rubashkin. It is extremely embarrassing that the COSV (Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria) publicized this event and advocated that people attend the event.

Who is Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin?

SMR is a convicted criminal who has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for various forms of fraud. While this may sound like an excessive punishment to us in Victoria, it is actually within the lower end of the sentencing guidelines for the crimes of which he was convicted. He received 25 years for the counts of fraud; sentencing guidelines call for 22-30 years. He additionally received another two years for lying under oath in court. He can still be tried for many other crimes, but the federal government and the state of Iowa do not want to allocate resources to more trials when it is impossible for SMR to reoffend from behind bars. Sholom was the CEO of Agriprocessors, the largest glatt kosher abattoir in America.

What was wrong with Agriprocessors?

Agriprocessors was mired in scandal from 2004 when animal cruelty became public, where even strong defenders of kosher slaughter such as Temple Grandin were sickened. Agriprocessors was routinely fined for polluting and for unsafe handling of meat and was involved in helping illegal aliens get fake papers to work at the plant. The undocumented workers, including young children, worked long days in dangerous conditions, and were paid under the minimum wage with no overtime. The dangerous conditions for children in the meatpacking plant are reminiscent of Uptain Sinclair’s The Jungle which was the impetus for child labour and food safety laws. When workers tried to unionize, the company tried to claim that the votes didn’t count because the workers were illegal aliens. Agriprocessors was the target of the largest immigration raid in American history.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in the legal, moral and ethical and halakhic lapses of SMR and the running of the company under his tenure.

Is Rubashkin sorry for his crimes?

No! Rubashkin turned down a plea deal and has to the best of my knowledge never said he is sorry for the harm he caused hundreds of victims of his crimes. His courtroom apology was an apology to his family and the [Jewish/Chabad] community for embarrassing them and dragging them through his ordeal, not an apology to the victims of his various crimes. He aids and abets the attempts to make him into a holy man without having to admit guilt and he writes spiritual letters from prison to school children.

So why are we supposed to be praying for him and giving money?

In reality I am not sure but let me give a few reasons that the rabbis who talked gave:

Rubashkin is the victim of an “alilas dam” a blood libel. In other words he did nothing wrong and is merely the victim of an antisemetic prosecutor, judge, jury etc. without attempting to refute the mounds of publicly available evidence of guilt.

Rubashkin is a holy saint. It is true that Rubashkin gave much money to charities and to political campaigns and did help some Jews in need. However he did that by swindling others and mistreating them. Would the organizers of this prayer rally also defend Hamas’s human rights record on the basis of the terrortists’ building of hospitals and other charities?

Rubashkin is a Jew. Plain and simple as that: “When a sheep is feeling pain in one part of its body the whole body feels the pain, so too is bnei yisroel.” The irony of using an image of animal cruelty to enlist help for somebody who grossly violated prohibitions of “tz’a’ar ba’alei chayim” (cruelty to animals) flew right over the head of this rabbi.

I would probably have heard more, but was too sickened by the goings-on to stay and listen.

The “pidyon shuvim” fund which is the name of the fund to help SMR is a term usually used to describe the redemption of those captured for being Jewish and imprisoned for no good reason except to extract a ransom from the Jewish community.

What is wrong with us supporting Rubashkin publicly?

The most obvious fact is that supporting an unrepentant criminal unconditionally sends a message to our community and children that it is ok to commit fraud and other crimes as long as you still keep external signs of piety and donate to the community.

It is a chilul hashem and embarrassment to the Jewish community that we look like we support criminals. It looks especially bad that the Jewish community is trying to deny crimes by screaming antisemitism and that, considering that currently SMR has “only” been convicted of white collar crimes, we are playing into the nexus of Jews supporting white collar criminals.

Rubashkin is never going to be repentant when he feels that he has the communal backing, financially and spiritually, even while he denies wrongdoing.

One last important reason which only was shown fully after the event is how it assists Rubashkin’s legal case. The lawyers in SMR’s oral appeal before a tribunal of judges stated:” the Jewish religiously observant community would never have supported Sholom Rubashkin during his trial and his appeal if Rubashkin was a real criminal”

This is why I decided I must protest and show that the Orthodox community in Melbourne as a whole is not behind an unrepentant criminal. I felt that I must at least try based on the gemara that if one can prevent others in the community from doing wrong and doesn’t then one is just as guilty as the perpetrators. (Shabbat 54b כל מי שאפשר למחות לאנשי ביתו ולא מיחה נתפס על אנשי ביתו באנשי עירו נתפס על אנשי עירו בכל העולם כולו נתפס על כל העולם כולו)

I printed fliers with information about the Rubashkin case and I was handing them out to some people while listening. When I could take no more of the words coming from the stage I waited for a pause between speakers and shouted: “Let it not be said that in Melbourne the Jewish community made a criminal into a saint without protest” and by the time that was out of my mouth a man grabbed me so I just threw the leaflets in the air in the way I am sure you have seen protestors do.

The few responses I got from those who talked to me outside were:

That he is a Jew and he only harmed non-Jews but was good to Jews.

That we have to be “dan lkaf zchus”(judge him favourably) and that child labour on a dangerous meat packing plant is not so bad.

Twenty-seven years is too long. Which I agree with, but it is a problem with the American justice system and is not related to how guilty SMR is. Also when you take into account that SMR was only found tried and found guilty of a portion of the alleged crimes, he can be thankful he has only received 27 years.

I personally know someone that when he was under 18 threatened someone with a fake gun with a friend stole a bike from someone that way. No one was hurt in the incident, the gun was fake and the bike was recovered.  He has no prior offenses of any kind and was under 18. The DA is pushing strongly for a 15 year sentence. I do think sentencing does need to be looked at, but it doesn’t make SMR a victim of antisemitism or make him more innocent.

Through writing this and protesting at the event I am less embarrassed to be an Orthodox Jew in Melbourne and hope that others have the courage to protest things they don’t agree with done in their name.

This article has been cross-posted at Failed Messiah

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  • D Fault says:

    This piece is a smear and full of false and misleading statements.
    First of all, Rubashkin was tried and found NOT guilty on ALL counts of immigration and labor violations.
    Secondly, the sentence he received has been call excessive by many a prosecutor and judge and definitely NOT on the “lower end of guidelines.” and exceeded even what the prosecutor asked for. In most courts, he would have received a fine and a few months, not 27 years!
    Thirdly, the process by which he was found guilty itself was highly tainted.

  • Edith Katz says:

    Who is Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin?

    “SMR is a convicted criminal who has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for various forms of fraud.””
    Similar Cases have sentences of 5 to 10 years. He was not tried in court for hiring illegal immigrants or unfair labor practices.

    Agriprocessors was mired in scandal from 2004 when animal cruelty became public, where even strong defenders of kosher slaughter such as Temple Grandin were sickened.”
    —PETA, an animal rights group targeted Agriprocessors for a smear campaign since Agriprocessors was the largest kosher meat plant. They sent undercover people to film for many months and where able to come up with a five minute video. Agriprocessors had consulted with Temple Grandin on a number of occasions and while she was sickened by the five minute video she had personally inspected the plant and was happy with their animal treatment.

    ” Agriprocessors was routinely fined for polluting and for unsafe handling of meat and was involved in helping illegal aliens get fake papers to work at the plant.”
    —Agriprocessors took a closed meat plant and put it back in operation. As they grew they had to deal with new problems. When they were fined they paid the fine and fixed the problems. That is standard in the industry.

    “The undocumented workers, including young children, worked long days in dangerous conditions, and were paid under the minimum wage with no overtime.”
    — Not true. They were paid above minimum wage and paid overtime. The under age workers lied to be able to work. Sholom Mordecai Rubashkin was tried by the State of Iowa for hiring under age workers and was found innocent. None of the witnesses said they ever talked to Shalom Rubashkin. The dangerous conditions were no different than industry standards of exposure to dry ice and working with dangerous equipment.

    “When workers tried to unionize, the company tried to claim that the votes didn’t count because the workers were illegal aliens.”
    — Not true. The Rubaskin Family had a warehouse in New York and the workers in New York tried to Unionize… That is a separate company that was not connected to Shalom Rubashkin but the Union did try to unionize the meat plant was voted down.

    “Agriprocessors was the target of the largest immigration raid in American history.”

    “Rubashkin is a holy saint. It is true that Rubashkin gave much money to charities and to political campaigns and did help some Jews in need. However he did that by swindling others and mistreating them.”
    — Sholom Rubashkin was generous to Jews and Non-Jews and did not mistreat anyone. He was generous to the city of Postville and people all over the world.

    He does not deserve 27 years. That is unfair and unjust.

  • R B says:

    It is not surprising that the Melbourne Jewish community joins forces to protect a criminal just because he’s Jewish. They behave as if they still live in Poland of the 1920s, and not only about such issues. I am glad to see that there are some candles in the darkness of this community, like the man who wrote this article.

  • The Poster says:

    D Fault:

    Even if what you said is true, and it isn’t, it is still an embarrassment for the Jewish community to stand behind someone who has treated people this badly and refused to assume any guilt.

    1) You are wrong as you can see in original court documents here.

    2) It has been called excessive, but it is the norm. Why does bernie madoff get life in prison for fraud but a murderin new york could end up walking out of prision after a certain number of years? Why does the person I mention face 15 years in jail while in Australia the same person could get a wholly suspended sentence? Thats the way things work. SMR is no more a victim of the system than millions of other people are.

    3)There is no taint at all in the process he was found guilty under. His defense are trying to make it appear that way, with events like this. Care to elaborate so that people can decide for themselves if that is true.

  • Adam Neira says:

    Mar Samuel stated in his interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecies that we are commanded to “Seek the welfare of the nation you dwell in !’. i.e. The better the patriot the better the Jew.

    Jonathon Pollard broke very serious laws in his home nation.

    Sholom Rubashkin broke serious laws in his home nation.

    Gilad Shalit in service of his country was kidnapped.

    In matters of jurisprudence, the three cases are entirely different.

    When the full Messianic Age is upon us no-one will be left to languish in prison. However, as we are in the early days of this unfolding certain laws have to be respected, and certain decisions must be adhered to.

  • Reu says:

    The critic of Rubashkin should have the moral courage to identify himself. Failing to do so is very troubling. Second there is no question that Rubashkin made many mistakes. However the prosecution was outrageous. His business was ruined. No other company in the US was prosecuted so harshly on immigration issues. His sentence was beyond belief, 27 years for whiter color crime.

    Six former Attorney Generals of the United States stated that the prosecution was overzealous. Such a protest is unparalleled in the American justice.

  • Kovi Rose says:

    I cannot claim to know the details of the case, however i truly understand the notion of a Jewish community jumping to conclusions either in support or protest of an issue; i for one feel that it occurs far too frequently and the result detracts from the perceived intelligence of the respective community by the outside world.
    If what the author said is true – and SMR did knowingly commit crimes and is remorseless about doing so – i see no reason to support him spiritually, let alone financially

  • Ari Silbermann says:

    I am not sure what is the greater Chilul Hashem!

  • The nudnik says:

    Mr. Rubashkin WAS found guilty in United States Federal Court of several counts of financial misdeeds. The verdict and sentence are currently under appeal.

    The immigration charges were to be tried separately in United States Federal Court from the other counts at the request of Mr. Rubashkin and his lawyers. After he was convicted of the counts referred to above, the US government chose not to try him on the immigration counts because they expected a substantial sentence to be imposed. They are free to reinstate the charges if, for example, the financial convictions are reversed.

    There was a separate trial, in courts of the State of Iowa, on the labor charges. I think it is fair to say that the State of Iowa did not aggressively prosecute the case. For one thing, many of the witnesses were illegal immigrants who had already been deported to their home countries.

    Like others, I have little patience for “Pidyon Shevuyim” for criminals such as Rubashkin, “the Boys in Japan”, and Jonathan Pollard, while little is said on behalf of Gilad Shalit and other missing soldiers.

  • Levi says:

    Get a grip, anonymous whistle-blower. This case only became an international “Cause célèbre” thanks to Pinny Lipshutz at the Yated. And the only message this sends is that we financially support our bretheren in need.

    I give tzedaka to chareidi shnorers from Israel even though I dissaprove of their lifestyle (I don’t recall ever having a Dati Leumi person knocking at my door). I don’t see how this Rubashkin is any worse (or better).

  • Interested Reader says:

    D Fault,

    Please ensure you get ALL the fact out.
    Yes, charges against him as an individual were dropped for illegal migrant and child labor. However, the company which he was the CEO and major stakeholder was found guilty of these 400 + charges. In other words, his high priced lawyers separated the man from the company on these charges, but to leave out this detail that his company was found guilty is hiding the truth. At the end of the day he was the CEO of said company and had a good idea of what was going on at his plant.

  • The biases of the writer are very obvious in this disgusting slur that is short on facts and long on rhetoric.

    SMR was not charged with animal cruelty. He was charged with using illegal and child labour, and with bank fraud. He was found not guilty of using child labour, and I think (not sure) that the illegal worker charges were also dropped (this may have been because the fraud charges were stronger). In addition, the bank fraud charges were constructed using a little-used law from the 1930s.

    Under ordinary circumstances, someone who has been found guilty of committing such crimes would be slapped with a large fine, and a short sentence, often suspended. That is what should have happened.

    There are dozens of Orthodox Jews doing nominal time for white collar crime in Otisville (upstate) NY. There aren’t worldwide campaigns to free all of them. They have been dealt with by the legal system for their crimes, and then they move on and continue their lives.

    SMR has been punished disproportionately for his sins.

    Why is this? Most likely, it is because SMR & Agriprocessors incurred the wrath of the uber-powerful lobby group PETA, who continue to campaign against shechita, and against anything they deem to be cruelty to animals. It was PETA who “exposed” practices at the plant, but as stated above, SMR was never charged with animal cruelty.

    The case has been riddled with irregularites. The presiding judge provided advice to the prosecution in forming the charges. Prospective buyers of Agriprocessors were warned that if they purchase the business, they risk being pursued on other charges (it is unclear if these were even valid). As a result, SMR’s assets were sold for far less than their true value, and he is now bankrupt, and unable to mount an appeal against the charges and the huge sentence. The prosecution successfully denied SMR bail because their claimed he was a flight risk because of the right of return (to Israel). That’s a pretty ugly precedent to have in the US legal system.

    This looks to me like a victory for PETA against shechita. Anyone who thinks they will stop there is naive. Agriprocessors moved their business to Iowa to bring the processing next to where the animals were, and thus had a competitive advantage over their competitors. Those competing abbatoirs who may have been relieved to see SMR go down ought be looking over their shoulders, because they are next on the list. If the travesty of justice that is the SMR case stands, who will defend them?

  • Not Sure David says:


    I think you have a valid conspiracy theory, perhaps mine is equally valid

    1) The tactics used by the government to convict SMR are similar to those used in the 30’s to convict Al Capone. They knew what he was doing was immoral & illegal but they couldn’t get him for all the evil things he did – so they got him on irregularities with his tax returns

    2) Let’s consider the politicians (Note: Judges & DAs in America are known for their politcal ambitions) – perhaps they are happy to jump on the bandwagon of support in order to placate the Religious community ‘voting blocks’ and garner the support of the politically powerful Chabad community. Let’s have a closer look at these politicians, who donates to their campaigns and who their constituants are.

    3) Obviously there were irregularities – the prosecution were looking to arrest 700 people. Judges are required to sign search and arrest warrants, with that vast number of arrests in a single case – planning is vital and the Judge would have had to ensure it was done properly

    4) Obviously when lawyers for SMR seperated the responsibility of business and the man, surely the value of the business was bound to decrease with such huge liabilities over its head.

    Perhaps my theory is just as valid as yours and all from the same information

    Thank G-D this trial was conducted in the Republic of the USA where criminals can appeal and appeal and appeal and where entire cases can be ruled invalid on technicalities – consider the OJ Simpson case

    Perhaps SMR would prefer old school Chabad law enforcement met out by the governments of Russia or the Ukraine – I’m sure those righteous countires would see the light of his sainthood and release him…

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    If I have something very negative to say,about someone and it is usually to his or her face anyway, I also want to be assured in my own mind that the person will listen. I am never afraid to put my name to it. I like to know all the facts. Anyway who is the author of this article that he feels that he can stand judge and jury on SMR? As a G-D fearing Jew, SMR has only one true judge. He is family and needs the support of his brothers and sisters in this time of his excessive judgement.
    Who are you and have you personally investigated this matter or is it the author just wants to have a good ole ‘Let’s bash the Orthodox Yidden session’? Maybe you are envious of the level of emuna of some of them and maybe of SMR. What does he have that you begrudge – good name, wealth, nice family…….??? You make your own mazal in this life.
    Goodness knows, I wondered for years as a child, how Jews could let other Jews go to the camps and ovens and it wasn’t until I had a massive argument at Uni with a fellow student one day who argued that ‘many Jews in Europe deserved to die.’ He put up some puerile, offensive arguments that had me close to tears and feeling crushed with depression that a Jew could say that about other Jews.
    Are you a Tzadik or a prophet of some kind that you feel you can write this and are you, most importantly in possession of irrefutable facts and have you at least two witnesses to attest to those facts…….ahhhh, I forgot that’s right, if they are kosher witnesses you probably won’t believe them anyway. You think the goyim do not lie? I have news for you and it is all bad.
    Judge people favorably lest you be judged as harshly as you judge others. Then you will see how it feels.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    As readers know, I am not at all religious. but, in the same way that a secular person cannot get away with fraud, theft or other crimes, nor should an observant person. It is as simple as that.

    We all need to be judged in the same way. Covering one’s activity with a cover of piety or charity for a particular religious group such as Chabad, the Syrian Jews in New York, or the Spinka is a trick for the gullible and shameful for the Jewish community in general.

    It’s the same as Christian preachers for the mega-churches engaging in sleazy businesses under the cover of piety and then claiming they are persecuted by the law. On the secular front, we only have to think of someone like Steve Vizard where his public persona as a great philanthropist and public figure covered for grossly unethical behaviour and he was lucky to escape jail for technical reasons.

    So I am amazed that Rubashkin has his defenders. He is in jail for his crimes, not his religion. Using corporate law tricks to separate the person from the crime (e.g. child labour is unethical). The Rubashkin family has been mired in legal and ethical controversy including others going to jail. The Rubashkin family express no remorse for their activity but instead, has used their lawyers to engage in plea bargains and so on.

    There have been much smaller scale problems in Melbourne, but too often, people have played the fall guy, protected others, or fled. It is truly shameful.

    Tikkun Magazine (which some people will hate on principle) had a good article about this ethical problem in the strictly observent community (http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/Cohen-jewish-felons/print) and it parallels what also appears in more scholarly literature. White-collar crime is not seen as real crime, yet it is.

    “No matter how we try to justify it—whether as victimless crime, the result of past persecution, something that only affects “outsiders” while helping the Jewish community, a just response to unjust policy, or irrelevant missteps by the otherwise pious—criminal behavior simply cannot be condoned in observant Jewish communities. It undermines the foundations of what we believe, as well as damaging us in the eyes of the outside world. The disgrace of Jewish fraud is not only a disgrace against God, but also a disgrace to ourselves and each other. The Torah and Jewish teaching will give us guidance on how to live ethically, even in our complicated modern society, if we only listen to its truths. At day’s end, the burden lies with all of us. In the words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.” ”

    And I’ll defend your right to live your observant life, but I won’t defend criminality.

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:

    Read this for starters!!


    Next, the judge should have recused herself as she was implicit in the 6 months prior to the Rubashkin raid. Intolerable!!

    Next, read this “Life for Rubaskin” piece.

    It details the entire “Money Laundering” libel and it’s after effects.

    Using an Act from 1930 which had never been used before!!!!


    Pack-hounds smelling blood, Jewish blood?

    As to the anonymous article… you weren’t wearing a burqa when you had a go at the rally, so why hide your identity here?

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:

    The following public document was just released, and it';s most interesting to see the number of notable people who are seriously troubled about the way the Rubashkin affair has been handled.

    Without doubt there is more here than meets the eye.

    What troubles me is that the moment an Orthodox scapegoat appears, almost automatically the Jewish secular knives come out plus the odd religious(?) know-all, without rhyme or reason, without the full facts, claiming the accused guy must be guilty and the more orthodox he is, the guiltier he must be.

    Clearly, the author of the anonymous post knows very little of the entire background, and had he know just a fraction more, he would have been just as troubled as the signatories contained within the post below.

    What, will he insist that they have all been bought off by the Jewish (orthodox) community? These people have serious concerns, not only about the severity of the penalty, but of the actual conduct of the Rubashkin affair, right from it’s planning stages, the charges and the “kangaroo court” dealings until this very day.

    For heavens sake, how can a judge be involved in the planning no, make that plotting, then sit in judgement over the accused?

    27 years! What the heck!

    Dreyfus seemed to have better odds!

    And dear Anonymous poster, please read Isaac Balbins article


    Dear Friend,

    In one of the most bitterly contested and controversial criminal trials in many years, similar in many ways to that of Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew has been sentenced to an unprecedented twenty-seven years prison.

    Six former United States Attorneys General — Nicholas Katzenbach, Ramsey Clark, Edwin Meese, Richard Thornburgh, William Barr, and Janet Reno — and seventeen former federal prosecutors and high-ranking Justice Department officials and tens of congressmen have decried the sentence as unbelievably harsh punishment for a first-time non-violent offender.

    This coming Wednesday night Sydney Jewry will be joining Jewish communities throughout the world for an evening of prayer and solidarity for Shalom Rubashkin. The evening – from 8 – 9pm sharp – will be addressed by community rabbis and will feature Shalom’s son Meir Simcha.

    Pidyon Shivuim – Redemption of Captives – is one of the greatest Mitzvot of the Torah. Please do your best to participate.

    Australian Friends of Shalom Rubashkin

    For more details on the case, see the Justice for Sholom website http://justiceforsholom.org/.

    For what other communities are doing, see http://sholomacrossamerica.com/

  • sb says:

    I was there when this anonymous writer suddenly began screaming and behaving like a mental asylum escapee. (Most people in the hall dismissed him as “who is that meshugener?”)

    He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself and especially the way he tries to portray a man who while he may have done some wrong things (who hasn’t?) has been (mis)treated by the US justice system in a manner that Stalin would’ve been proud.

    That mamzeres anti-semitic judge would have sent Rubashkin to the gallows had she had the possibilty to do so. As someone has already mentioned, Dreyfus had it easy compared to Rubashkin.

  • Chava T. says:

    We do have a caustic letter writer in our Melbourne community who is exercising his/her journalistic talent and is highly judgemental. Letters are flying around and no topic is sacred. Originally from the US, this person needs to tone down the criticism which is affecting people targeted in a negative way. Nothing good will come of this and this writer should turn to other positively productive efforts.

    There is hardly an important person in the US who has not used illegal immigrants to clean their house, weed their garden or outsource labour requirements. The US government only have to follow children home from school to deal with illegal immigrants: indeed their economy is based upon cheap labour from this source.

    The world has not changed. Pollard, representing an ally of the US languishes in jail a lifetime later whilst others received a one-year term for the same conviction. Pollard represents the barometer of the US attitude towards the Jews. The statistics on blacks in jails are no different.

    There has been a foul-up in the US justice system, and hopefully our prayers and efforts will sort it out.

    In the meantime, the judgemental writer would be aghast to have his/her name publicised as being a trouble-maker. Journalistic licence, particularly for a person who is within the community, does not give the right to rub our nose in the dirt every day of the week. You are on notice. Watch your step in future because the criticism in your letter quite clearly identified you.

  • David says:

    On top of this, I read this morning on ‘The Age’ website about David Kramer and the apparent sexual abuse at Yeshivah College. The story makes me shake with sadness and fury on a personal level.

    Who the hell do these psychopaths think they are? I’d like to see whoever buried the incidents serve time – although I know that will never happen.

    The arrogance and evil astounds me, if this is a true story, and I’ve no doubt that it is. As if we need to give people reasons to hate Jews!

  • Malki Rose says:

    what on earth does one issue have to do with another?
    If your point is about Orthodox people creating a Chilul Hashem, then say that, rather than appearing to taint an already heavily polluted topic with this sort of irrelevant additive.

    Your entire comment is based on the assumption that SMR is guilty of said crimes.
    You remark that this is about a criminal act rather than being Jewish, but then ironically go on to refer to this incident as ‘Jewish Fraud’. Is it about a crime or about religion?
    While your references to some of the shameful cover-up incidents in the Jewish community (or in fact any community, an entire town covered up the whereabouts of two Palestinian lads who had slaughtered a family in Itamar.), are indeed shameful and more so because we come to ‘expect more from those who claim to live a life of god’, there is no reason to believe that this case is one of those cases. There is no evidence of hush money, blackmail nor are their documents to support that efforts to suppress criminal behaviour transpired.
    If I don’t tell the Glen Eira Council that there is a Jewish housewife who employs Slovakian cleaning ladies without work permits, am I guilty of a cover-up? Am I even possibly guilty of Jewish fraud?

    I have to agree with David Werdiger, its about the ‘hows’. The gravity of the sentence, and that it simply does not fit the alleged crimes. As he also pointed out, there are several other overriding motivations behind the entire case. Including PETA’s desire to make an example of SMR and achieve some of their own outcomes.

    If, as professed by some commenters, this is not about religion or that Jews should not be treated any better or worse in the eyes of the law, then a simple question needs to be answered.

    Would any American’s in the same situation, under the terms of the current (and yes desperately flawed) US legal system be treated in this way and would such a draconian sentence be handed down?

  • Shame on You Galus says:

    Shame on you Galus Australis for publishing an anonymous piece that is so full of slur and is not backed by any credible evidence. What was to be accomplished by this piece?
    I will not be reading articles on Galus from here on – obviously there is little thought given to the credibility and quality of the journalism found on these pages. Everyone is entitled to opinion and opinion pieces are a vital part of reporting – however the information in the above piece is incorrect and it is very simple to find the correct data using google and finding FOI documents published from court transcripts and the like.
    And why doesn’t your brave ‘whistle-blower’ stand up with his/her name and make these comments? Why don’t you insist on providing a proper real name to your writers when the article is not of a sensitive personal nature to the writer themself?
    Goodbye Galus. But not Good Luck.

  • Rachel SD says:

    The “ultra powerful lobby group” that David Werdiger refers to, PETA, is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Videos of what they found in their investigation are available on their website: http://www.peta.org/features/agriprocessors.aspx

    Whilst kosher (and halal) slaughter where animals are killed without being stunned is coming under scrutiny in general in this part of the world, on the PETA webpage about agriprocessors, they say that the problem isn’t with kosher slaughter in general, but with what was happening in agriprocessors in particular.

    When one hears a group described as an “ultra powerful” lobby group, one thinks of say the oil lobby, which is powerful and wealthy for obvious reasons. It is absurd to use this epithet to describe an animal welfare group in America (perhaps in India an animal welfare group might be ultra powerful…).

  • frosh says:

    Perhaps stories like this, currently in the news, are the reason for the whistle-blower feeling the need to remain anonymous.

    In Chasidic Village, Attempted Murder Arrest Is Linked to Schism

    Don’t start a new minyan, or those from the established minyan will literally try to burn you alive!

  • The Poster says:

    I don’t so much mind being idenitified, as obviusly I went in person.

    I was hoping that people would actually talk about this case rather than resort to ad hominem attacks.

    But as Chava T said: “You are on notice. Watch your step in future”… shows why I would want to remain anonymous.

    If anyone thinks I hate SMR or I am out to get him they are mistaken. If he wasn’t being nurtured by a community telling him that he doesn’t have to admit any guilt, then maybe he would have felt remorse. If that was the case, I would be happy to use the Rubashkin case to spearhead a campaign of sentencing reform.
    But in the current reality I am ashamed of the Jewish community’s support for him just like I would ashamed of them supporting the person I mention above who is facing 15 years even though he was a minor and thought he was just doing a stupid prank.

    You may not have noticed but I was careful to say that Agriprocessors was a mess, but not lay the blame directly on SMR. I did this because although he was at the top of a messy system, it wasn’t him alone and I don’t know how much he personally knew. It is hard to imagine he had no idea of all the different criminal, ethical and halahkic violations, but I am willing to be dan l’kaf zchut way beyond what is logical and say that in most of the cases he was incompetent rather than malicious. However on what he was convicted of there is no doubt that it was premeditated in an atmosphere that led him to believe he could get away with it, and if caught he could rely on the communal support he is getting.

    All these allegations of antisemitism are ridiculous.
    The prosecution wasn’t and only asked for time according to sentencing guidelines: “In the event the Court calculates the advisory guidelines in substantially the same manner as done so by the U.S. Probation Office and urged by the government, the government anticipates no upward departure would be necessary to achieve an
    adequate sentence in this matter” – I recommend reading the entire prosecutor’s sentencing memo.

    The Judge wasn’t antisemtic and sentenced SMR just like others according to the guidelines.

    David – I don’t think PETA played a part in the eventual downfall of SMR. As I stated above in this comment, he recieved the time that was called for. Bernie Maddoff is doing 120 years for white collar crime, which is also a lot more than those sent “upstate” but that is because that is the way sentencing works. I do agree with you that Jews being denied bail because they can flee to Israel is a very dangerous precedent, but in this case some of those associated with agriprocessors did flee to Israel, making the point,sadly, relevant. Also until Israel makes it harder for those fleeing prosecution to immigrate, then like Russian citizens, who are refused bail because Russia will them them flee, Jews may unfairly be denied bail. This is not antisemtic in any way, its just bad policy.

  • Wolf says:

    Fact: This man is indusputably a white collar criminal

    Fact: This man was no regular man. He held himself out to be religious, to adhere to certain, strict, higher moral principles. Which he did not. After all, how can one be a ‘frum yid’ if he can’t even adhere to BASIC principles of ‘menschlachkeit’!

    Fact: This man committed a massive chillul Hashem

    Fact: Davening for this criminal publicly makes the chillul Hashem worse, think about it, its a no brainer!

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I did not use the term ‘Jewish fraud’, that was referred to by the Jewish lawyer who authored the article in Tikkun.

    I stick with the others on this site who can see the woods for the trees rather than picking points in the raft of charges, bargains and eventual conviction rather than the greater moral issue here.

    On the one hand, his supporters claim there is an anti-semitic motive in the case —but Rubashkin claimed religion as his defence. –“Judge Reade rejected a defense argument that Mr. Rubashkin was not motivated by greed, but was trying out of loyalty and religious faith to sustain a business owned by his father, Aaron Rubashkin. At the time of the raid, Agriprocessors was the largest kosher beef producer in the country. ” [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/us/22iowa.html]

    And what the connection is with Pollard is beyond me.

  • frosh says:

    Whether this poster should or shouldn’t be obliged to use their name is a valid question, perhaps without a simple answer.

    It’s a question of accountability vs safety, as is typically present in whistle blower cases. Witness the reaction and threats from commenters on here like Chava T, as well as the story I linked to in my above comment, and one can understand why the author of this article has concerns.

    However, the real irony is that there is a flood of anonymous comments demanding the whistle-blower not be anonymous.

  • The Poster says:

    L’kaf zchus – I was also confused at first why the packer’s act was prosecuted criminally here when it wasn’t used in general. As I was researching this I realized it was very complicated. Firstly once there was an investigation into the business practices of agriprocessors these violations which actually cost people money were uncovered, and had to be dealt with. Once there is a criminal case going on, why would these not be tacked on, especially because the same fraudulent practices were involved to specifically break this law.
    “Similarly, defendant’s Packer’s Act violations consisted of more than simply late payments. Defendant signed checks that appeared to be timely and then held them. He also had some payments run through Agriprocessors’ postage meter and then held. Given the
    relative simplicity of a run-of-the-mill Packer’s Act violation, these characteristics of defendant’s Packer’s Act offenses could be readily characterized as unusually sophisticated.” – above memo page 36

    The judge had no reason to rescue herself.

    Malki – It kind of is one of those cases. We are helping a criminal who has been found guilty think he doesn’t have to feel remorse and regret.

    Ilana Leeds – The Lubavitcher Rebbe,Rabbi Menachem Schneerson described the Holocaust by comparing God to a surgeon who amputates a patient’s limb in order to save his life. Does that uni student’s view seem

  • The Poster says:

    For all those defending the communal action I hope you can agree that none of these are true:
    1) Rubashkin is the victim of an “alilas dam” a blood libel.
    2) Rubashkin is a holy saint.
    3) That he is a Jew and he only harmed non-Jews but was good to Jews is at all an acceptable thing to say publicly or privately.

    Also I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this but it seems to be true from my non-professional reading of legal documents:

    Another comment brought up that old 1921 (US) Packers and Stockyards Act urban legend, only they got the date wrong (1930). Australians who don’t know anything about the US Department of Agriculture or the (US) Packers and Stockyards Act will probably think no US livestock buyer ever received any sanctions since 1956 or 1930 or 1921 or whatever for not paying for cattle on time. In other words, selective prosecution. The truth is that the US Department of Agriculture (not the US Federal Court system) usually fines tardy payers and now even posts details of the judgements on the Internet. A post on this website documents this and even tells you where to find the information on the Internet. The Packers and Livestock act does permit the (US) Justice Department to prosecute cases as well, in place of the US Department of Agriculture. What is even more interesting is that the conviction did not add any jail time for Mr. Rubashkin. He was just ordered to pay back interest to the one cattle buyer (out of many) who proved economic loss due to late payment for cattle. – from FM

  • Larry Stillman says:

    It is unfortunate that most commentators here continue to be anonymous, though I understand the original writer’s concern.

    Rubashkin claimed religion as a defense– and if you defend his actions on religious grounds then you have a real moral problem.

    “Judge Reade rejected a defense argument that Mr. Rubashkin was not motivated by greed, but was trying out of loyalty and religious faith to sustain a business owned by his father, Aaron Rubashkin. At the time of the raid, Agriprocessors was the largest kosher beef producer in the country.

    “No matter defendant’s motive,” Judge Reade wrote, “he defrauded the victim banks out of millions of dollars.” She also sentenced Mr. Rubashkin to pay almost $27 million in restitution to the institutions.” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/us/22iowa.html

    But there are some real idiocies going on in the discussion here.

    I too was an illegal worker in the US–a domestic worker while a poor student. To make the claim as Chava T appears to do that Agriprocessors was engaged in something similar to what I did is faintly ridiculous. Rubashkin & co were engaged in union busting and something akin to slavery for hundreds of poor illegals.

    What appears to be completely absent in the discussion of his defenders is any sense of moral outrage at how big business-including the kosher meat business operates. At least some orthodox leaders Jews have a conscience. See http://tiny.cc/g8r9h.

    This is not being anti-capitalist, it’s not all about working around the edges of corporate law and covering it with acts of charity to buy loyalty.

  • James says:

    I entirely agree with this article. It is a hillul Hashem to support a convicted criminal. The sentence was not excessive if one considers the magnitude of the crime. Anyone who donates money to this cause is deluding themself that they are doing something good.

  • Jason says:

    2) It has been called excessive, but it is the norm.
    is it NOT the norm to be sentances for 27 years for voer stating Invoices and not paying Cattle dealeres on time. Rubashkin is NO berniie Madoff

    Why does bernie madoff get life in prison for fraud
    Rubahskin is FAR from Brnie Madoff, apples are NOT oranges, Infact most people get less time in prison for similar laws Rubashkin broke

    To learn the true facts of the case you can goto:


    No one ever in the History of the Unites States was ever sentnced to 27 years for the simmilar crimes at Rubashkin was convited of. Please dont bring up Madoff be cause it is not the same.

    7 Former United State Attorney Generals, many well respected Federal Judges and many well respecetd Politcians agree that 27 years is accessive.

  • Steven says:

    Julian Knight is serving 27 years for deliberately murdering 7 people and inuring 19 (on the news tonight).

    Even if you assume SMR is guilty of himself skinning cows while they are alive, (like they do in Malaysia these days), what penalty would he get?

    Even if you assume SMR is guilty of knowing employing 500 under-age workers, what penalty would he get?

    Even if you assume SMR lied and borrowed more than he was entitled to, what penalty should he get?

    Well certainly not 27 years according all the judges and attorneys general.

    And remember that an abottoir is for killing animals not a petting farm, so occasionally things probably go wrong. Do you think he went out of his way to hurt the animals? And when they lined up the short Mexicans, even the government couldn’t tell their age by looking at them. So he filed lies to get a loan he wanted to pay back – OK he is guilty – give him the sentance all the others get – a couple of years.

  • Fredrick von nusselberg says:

    You do the crime, you get the time.
    It’s an absolute chutzpah that anyone can collect money for such a shyster.

  • Ruvien says:

    to “Posted”

    You write:
    “But in the current reality I am ashamed of the Jewish community’s support for him.”

    Well the feeling is mutual, we are ashamed to have such a parasite as you living amongst us in our community.

    You write :
    Sends a message to our community and children that it is ok to commit fraud and other crimes as long as you still keep external signs of piety and donate to the community.

    I am worried about what we will tell our and his (Rubashkin’s) children when they ask us, what are you doing to assist fighting the great injustice done to Rubashkin.
    Speaking about children, we can arrange a meeting between you and his children; maybe you can explain your point of view on this case.

    On the positive note
    It was nice to see how our community got together to pray, and fundraise for the common good, to do a great mizva , and the Jewish community in Sydney doing so as well.
    It makes me proud to be a Jew living in Melbourne, and belonging to this wonderful community. Am yisroel chai.

  • mmt says:

    I am disgusted with this articular and with some of the comments here we have a man that at every and any time some one came to him for help he was there for them. He had a mission to make kosher meat cheap and available all around america, and a anti shchita organisation called PETA did every thing in there power to stop him,
    he was taken to court on a number of charges and dismissed the two mane charges he was held on was 1) a cattle law that was made just after world war one and has never been used until this case of “if you buy cattle you must pay up within 24 hours 2) of bank ford which was he took out a revolving lone from a bank with a cap of 30 million dollars in order to take money out for this lone he had to show how much he was making the ford was that he said he was making more money then he was, the bank was aware of this yet they did not make any charges because they where making good on the interest and they never came close to there cap of $30m when this was said in court in SMR defense the judge dismiss it saying that the bank is not being charged SMR is

    also the judge how was taking the case was the same person how master mind the raid on the plant and the areast SMR is now the judge how senteced him for life when the prosecutors only asked for 25 years
    now to show are suport we are happy and proud to stand by SMR in his time of need.

  • James says:

    My questions to Mr Rubashkin’s supporters are:

    1) Do you say that he did not commit the crimes of which he was convicted?

    2) Do you say that people were not harmed because of his criminal actions?

    3) Do you say that the basis of the appeal is more than merely a claim that the judge involved may have been biased, but actually relates to the substance of the conviction?

    4) Do you say that he was unfairly treated because of his religion and have evidence to support this?

    If you answer yes to all of these then I say good on you. Otherwise I think you need to look at your moral compass.

  • LT says:

    I want to know if you have by any chance looked into the deatails of this very unfortunate event or are you just talking from what you think second i know that you clearly have not or else you wouldn’t be on the side of the prosecuters but clearly you are in the dark so let me set this straight. they accused rubashkin of 9,000 accounts of child labour fraud then dropped it because they realised that there were only 36 accounts to start off with, that is with their original statement which wasn’t true because they couldn’t prove it and dropped it. i am very upset as im sure many others are too that not only a faulty and misleading review was published on the rubashkin case but the very writer happens to be a jew. i am really hoping you will apologies for what you wrote as it was very misleading and totally untrue.

  • Chava T. says:


    We didn’t even believe that the Russians could go on Aliyah, not a million of them. They were written off thirty years ago.

    And now nobody in their right mind thinks that the Golden Medinah is not ours to rightfully live there. But wait…. it is coming. Starting with Pollard, our barometer of what they really think of us behind our backs, and how they treat us given the chance. Now this.

    Sometimes we need a push. Maybe it has begun already. Check out the prices of real estate before the next great Aliyah, because when they go so do we.

  • Disgusted says:


    This article disgusted me to the enth degree. How could you even talk about a fellow Jew like that. The beauty of the Jewish nation is that we all take care of eachother, in every situation and in every place around the world. If u would be in SMR posision we the Jewish nation will help you too. So get your facts streight and stop being a self hating Jew. There are plenty of
    Others that hate us. We don’t need to hate ourselves too.

    Whoever wrote this article should be ashamed of themselves and realize that they make a BIGER chilul hashem then the whole SMR story.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Rubashkin’s defense lawyers, as is their right, got him acquitted of charges against him concerning underage labourers –[ they argued that he did not see warning signs in the plant about underage labourers]–he originally faced 9000 charges regarding child labour and related matters and many charges were dropped after his other convictions.

    However, as the NY Times put it, [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/us/22iowa.html?ref=agriprocessorsinc]

    “In a separate state trial in Iowa, Mr. Rubashkin was acquitted earlier this month of all charges that he knowingly employed under-age workers at the Agriprocessors plant.

    While state prosecutors were not able to convince the jury that Mr. Rubashkin was personally aware of minors in the plant, the trial evidence showed that at least 29 immigrants under 18 were employed on Agriprocessors’ packing lines, some working night shifts and wielding sharp knives.

    The company itself pleaded guilty at the outset of the trial to multiple charges of abuse of under-age laborers. Because Agriprocessors is bankrupt, prosecutors said they would not be able to collect any fine.

    Last year, responding to the Agriprocessors events, the Iowa state legislature passed a law making it easier to convict employers who hire child laborers and increasing penalties.

    Nearly 400 immigrants who worked in the plant, most from Guatemala, served federal prison sentences of up to five months for identity theft and were deported.

    But some of the former workers will be allowed to remain in the United States. To date, 41 of the immigrants have been approved to receive a special visa, known as a U-visa, that is granted to victims of violent abuse, said Sonia Parras Konrad, a lawyer who represented those workers. The workers showed that they had been struck by managers or sexually assaulted while working at Agriprocessors, she said.”

    Why would people want to stand up for such a company and its boss is beyond me. For the Melbourne orthodox leadership to get involved is even more bizarre.

    Nor is Rubashkin a political prisoner. He is in a medium security prison.

    Even on appeal I suspect that the charges will stand and he will still be in jail even if there is a variance in sentence. There were multiple serious offenses, including engaging in the falsification of social security ids, sophisticated money laundering, and perjury. Even the Iowa ACLU is not challlenging the judgement, but the possible perception of wrong process by the judge in her involvement with the prosecution before the case–not the judgement.

    It is worth reading the judgment to see the seriousness of his offenses (and his disabled son’s needs). To see him as a hero and martyr and now sainted is stupid. He committed serious offenses.

    [see the judgement @ http://www.iand.uscourts.gov/e-web/decisions.nsf/0/F8D3CEF81A587C1486257749004DCB35/$File/LRR-08-CR-1324,+United+States+v.+Rubashkin,+Sentencing+Memorandum,+06212010.pdf ]

  • Astonished says:

    Sorry to be harsh, but there was a certain race, yimach shemam, who were
    Big on animal rights. Don’t cry Tzar balie Chayim and make your own definition of pidyon shvuyim. The fact is ‘yochid verabim, haloche kerabim’. Rabbonim all seem to agree, whatever the case with rubashkin is, that he is a fellow jew who was dealt rediculously harsh with. Many many congressman and even judges have cried that this is a great travesty of justice. And you, the writer, are one person – quite alone in your opinion, seem to be more concerned about animal rights than the plight of a human being and fellow Jew. Please rethink. And really…shame on this website for
    publishing this cowardly article.

  • Ari says:

    I am not sure why people are so amazed at this hideous act of Chabad controlled organisations – If the Rebbe(זצ”ל) is alive, then reshayim can also be saints – as long as you see things in the right way it all makes perfect sense – we’re all one body you see.

    But seriously, this entire fiasco makes light the suffering of truly righteous Jews who were really held captives in years gone by simply to garner money from the community. The statements here regarding PETA truly undermine the severity of true anti-semitism and makes Orthodox Jews look terribly foolish.

    Ensuring the safety of one’s livestock let alone workers are values which are well-worth upholding and are also clear halachot. It is a shame that for once in our history, when non-Jewish society decides to take these issues as seriously as they should be taken by all halachically committed Jews, it is davka part of that camp that call such people anti-semites and raise money to support wealthy criminals.
    אוי לרשע אוי לשכנו!!!

  • Larry Stillman says:


    I am not so sure that people who are defending inhumane treatment of animals or choosing to ignore it in their posts on this issue have been exposed to either a) scheitah or b) ‘normal’ slaughtering or c) they regard mammalian pain as less than what we feel. See the evidence of cruelty at http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/rubashkin.html for use of ripping hooks in throats.

    Strange to say, I have, seen animal killing up close. Slaughtering is grisly and pretty revolting. The one thing I did respect about the shochetim I saw at work was that they took their work very very seriously. You want to cause the least suffering possible to an animal, particularly cattle, who get very easily frightened in the noise and smell of the slaughterhouse. The controversy over slaughtering in Indonesia should make the posters well aware that ritual slaughtering has to be done properly or else there will be calls for it to be banned completely.

    It is clear from the testimony and film that Agriprocesses was not following either civil or halachic procedure. The Rubashkins were following the profit path.

    The criticism of the Rubashkin conviction is not for the convictions, but the length of sentencing from a tough judge.

  • Wolf says:

    Larry Stillman:
    “It is clear from the testimony and film that Agriprocesses was not following either civil or halachic procedure. The Rubashkins were following the profit path”

    I wholeheartedly agree, as do many of my orthodox Jewish friends. If anything, this criminal not just defrauded the secular world, but the religious world too!
    If he isn’t going to be sentenced to cherem for the chillul Hashem he has committed, then at least we should distance ourselves from this crook!

    And to all the sheep out there, bear this in mind my friends; the only argument on rubashkin’s side is in regards to the severity of the sentence… NOT the fact he committed these heinous crimes!

    Don’t hide behind ridiculous irrelevant analogies or pretending there’s any genuine modicum of antsemitism, or that we should support a criminal that broke ‘dina malchusa dina’ and erodes our nation’s great name in this world!

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Thank you Wolf, can I say, a sane wolf amongst the silly sheep?

  • The Poster says:

    I find it kind of funny that all the anger directed against those who don’t want to blindly support SMR are not rebutting any of what I said, but instead merely stating that I don’t know anything about the case, but refuse to present the other side of the story on the facts except to post a link to justiceforsholom.org. Pretending that posting a link without referring to which part of the website actually refutes anything posted here is useless.

    The two issues that people seem to have a problem with are the length of the sentence and that that politicians and judges agree with that the sentence is too harsh. Even if one was to concede those two points (which I do not), there is still no reason to call SMR a holy saint who is the victim of a blood libel.

    As to refuting the length of sentence. For a full understanding you have to read the judgement which was posted here and the explanations of how the American Federal sentencing guidelines work. Nothing is out of the ordinary. Its slightly complicated, but it really isn’t so hard to realize that that is the way things work.

    As for the politicians it isn’t so surprising that they are willing to write letters if someone asks them to and they think it will help their political career.
    The first thing you should notice is some of these letters aren’t actually support, but are merely stating facts. Such as this one by Carolyn Maloney which merely states that SMR was convicted.

    2)They don’t have any better information that you or I do and are relying on what “their constituents” tell them and “news reports”.

    3) They are just writing what they are told to write, look how similar they are. They are being lobbied to write these letters, and once a few have been written by people who will write anything it is easy to get the rest.

    4) A lot of money raised for SMR has been pumped into PR campaigns (there are no public records for where the money goes so I don’t know how much, but considering the amount of PR they bought it must have been very expensive) that don’t mind bending the truth or worse as in the case of 5WPR which was caught red-handed astroturfing and sock-puppeting for the Rubashkin case. The people signing these letters are relying on the “facts” from the PR provided to them and not on the actual facts in the case.

    The other issue is the application of the packers act criminally. Well, listen up people, he didn’t get an extra day for that!!!

    If you don’t want to read the full judgement here is an excerpt:

    2. Number of victims: USSG §2B1.1(b)(1)(A)(i) The parties dispute whether the court should apply the upward adjustment in USSG §2B1.1(2)(A), which directs the court to apply a two-level upward adjustment if the offense involved 10 or more victims. A “victim” is “(A) any person who sustained any part of the actual loss determined under subsection (b)(1); or (B) any individual who
    sustained bodily injury as a result of the offense.” USSG §2B1.1 cmt. (n.1).
    As previously stated, the court found that the victim banks, FBBC and MBFB, both suffered millions of dollars in actual loss. The court also found that Waverly Sales, Inc. suffered a loss due to the lost time value of the money Agriprocessors owed it. The government argues that the other livestock suppliers are victims. The court recognizes that Defendant’s conduct subjected the other livestock suppliers to a genuine financial strain. However, because the government failed to present sufficient evidence for the court to
    determine the amount of loss that these other livestock suppliers suffered, these other livestock suppliers are not “victims” as defined by §2B1.1 cmt. (n.1). When an individual or entity has not suffered any part of the actual loss determined under §2B1.1(b)(1)(L) or bodily injury, that individual or entity cannot be considered a “victim” for purposes of §2B1.1(b)(2)(A). See United States v. Miller, 588 F.3d 560, 567-68 (8th Cir. 2009) (“We have already determined that the district court did not clearly err in determining that the government failed to prove any actual loss in this case. It necessarily follows that there were no ‘victims’ within the meaning of USSG §2B1.1(b)(2)(A)(i).”).
    Because the court declines to consider any livestock provider other than Waverly Sales, Inc. as a “victim,” there are only three victims at issue in this case: FBBC, MBFB and Waverly Sales, Inc. Therefore, the court shall not apply the 2-level upward adjustment for 10 or more victims in USSG §2B1.1(b)(2)(A)(i).*

    * Defendant argues that this case only involved one victim, FBBC. Defendant contends that MBFB was not a victim because it was not in privity of contract with Agriprocessors. Defendant provides no legal support for this argument and the court shall disregard it. As previously stated, the basis for determining actual loss is whether Defendant caused a reasonably foreseeable pecuniary harm to an individual or entity. The court finds that it was reasonably foreseeable that Defendant’s bank fraud would cause injury to MBFB. Defendant also argues that no livestock providers are victims because they were all repaid and suffered no loss. To the extent this argument relates to Waverly Sales, Inc., the court disagrees. The court finds that it was reasonably foreseeable that Defendant’s intentional delay tactics with respect to its payments to Waverly Sales, Inc. would cause Waverly Sales, Inc. to suffer pecuniary harm in the amount of $3,800.51. In any event, Defendant’s arguments related to these issues make no difference to the application of this enhancement because the court declines to apply the additional 2-level increase for 10 or more victims.

  • Moshe says:

    For all I’ve heard on the subject, it seems that for some people, as long as you call yourself religious, wear religious garb, give charity to your own people (Jews) then you should receive the backing of your community, regardless of what you do (and remain remorseless) …

    Now lets take a look at some other people ….
    – They call themselves religious
    – They wear religious garb
    – They give a large amount of charity and help the community in many ways
    Should that then give them a free ticket?

    Does that then forgive all that they do?

    No .. The US and Israel call Hamas and Hizbulla terrorist organizations.

    As Jews we cannot pick and choose. Be saintly Ben Adam L’Makom (Man and God) … but not towards your fellow man (or choose which men you will act morally with). That they were ‘only Guatemalan’ and non-Jewish. We are all human. Remember, it was the Nazi’s who tried to legitimize what they did because “Jews” were not really fully human.

    We Jews have many Saintly people among us, people that we should be proud of, that we should look to emulate, that are on a higher level spiritually and morally. Though SMR may have good qualities, ‘some’ things which could be emulated .. bottom line is that he is an unrepentant criminal .. and for the Jewish Community to stand up and say he is a saint and that what he does is the epitome of Jewish morally is just wrong and in itself a chilul hashem.

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:

    That means everyone on this blog is an unrepentant criminal, although most have not been caught out. Everyone here has done shvartz, has paid tradies in cash (avoiding GST isn’t stealing, is it?), no one has undeclared income, and of course everyone has been absolutely kosher in all the tax returns etc etc etc. So, we too are unrepentant criminals, the only difference is that most have not been caught.


    Pigs will fly!

    SBR is not a saint, but then he’s not a war criminal either. Good law process has not been followed and if good clean transparent legal techniques would have been employed, the end result would have been acceptable.

    We in Australia could never in a million years see a judge so intimately involved in the pre-raid, the sentencing and the appeal as what occurred in the SBR saga.


    What SBR received was not above board and that is worrisome.

    Neither is his punishment. It just doesn’t fit the crime, nor is it consistent with similar sentences meted out to other similar incidences. That is what worries the legislators, the Judiciary etc…

    They are not arguing about his supposed sainthood.

  • Wolf says:

    In regards to comments made by “Lkaf Z’chus”;

    a) “Everyone here has done shvartz”, no everyone hasn’t. Some may have when they were students, tutoring maybe, but most don’t. Personally I try very hard to be honest and declare EVERY cent that I earn, because that’s the law and that’s the halacha. Most people are in this category. However, people are human and not perfect, and a bona fide immaterial error is just that… not commercial fraud.

    b) You clam that everyone “has paid tradies in cash”. So what? That’s 100% legal, whether the tradie declares it or not is his business, not mine! As for me, I will always get a receipt and if it’s work done on a tax deductible investment, then I’ll claim it too!

    c) You sarcastically remark that “of course everyone has been absolutely kosher in all the tax returns etc “. That’s right, most people are, including myself and everyone I know. Again, a bona fide error is just that… not commercial fraud.

    I don’t know what sort of backward warped ‘Yiddishkeit’ you were brought up with, but in genuine Yiddishkeit (which is beautiful and Holy) there is a mitzvah of ‘Dina Malchusa Dina’, which roughly translated means that a punishable law of the land has the force of halacha.

    This Rubashkin fellow was not an 18 year old kid earning some shvartz babysitting money on the side.
    He was not a poor man commiting small-time petty fraud and disrespect for the law in order to just survive on meagre rations.
    He did not make immaterial bona fide errors.
    He did not make immaterial errors of negligence.
    He made material, criminal, white collar fraud, knowingly.
    This position is indefensible.

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    I hope Rubashkin sits for as long as possible. He is a stain on the Jewish people and the best argument for a ban on shechita.

    His father should also die in jail. He is the real mastermind of the fraud, and he hides behind his wife’s (truly) good deeds and lets his own son take the fall.

    There is no mercy whatsoever in kosher slaughter and it is allowed only because of the goodwill of democratic governments, which would rather see all animals stunned first in compliance with 21st and not -4th century standards of animal welfare. Kosher firms should know their place and do everything possible to promote that goodwill. Few if any do.

    In 50 years, chances are that religion will fall by the wayside as access to information breaks down the walls built by clergy to keep their followers from questioning.

    The Rubashkin affair will be one of the salvos that brings those walls tumbling down like the story of what (never) happened in Jericho.

  • The Poster says:

    Lkaf Zchus –

    Your comments about how rife theft and corruption are in your “religious” world are a bigger chilul hashem than anything I could write. Because what a critic said could be taken as untrue, but you are defending such practices while stating they are commonplace so there is little doubt as to the veracity.

    While trying to defend SMR you call him SBR, and this is while claiming that you know more about the case than those who have actually gone through the documents and details?

    And as to arguing about his supposed sainthood, that is the argument. I have no problem with people raising money for his legal defense fund or even the defense fund of accused terrorists(not that I am equating the two, I am just saying imagine the worst possible) or anything else. People are entitled to a good defense, which he could have used in terms of accepting the plea deal offered or not resorting to tricks and games, such as pretending they needed to file a FOIA to know that the Judge Reade was involved in planning the legal logistics necessary for a large raid on a company that has lots of illegal workers that may not speak English. I think there are causes that are much more deserving of attention, where time and money would be better spent. But if people pay more attention to Rubashkin rather than other Jewish criminals who actually are sorry but aren’t big machers in their community, then I think it doesn’t look great, but that’s their money and their time. People spend big money on simchas when they could use that money to help the poor or buy fire equipment for Israel, but that isn’t something I would feel absolutely compelled to protest, it is their money to waste.

    My problem is when people scream alilas dam, blood libel and fling accusations of antisemitism willy-nilly and call this pidyon shuvim. This makes a joke of the real blood libels, the real antisemitism and real pidyon shvuim and is also crying wolf. When people make someone who did things wrong halahkically, ethically, morally and legally into a saint, I also have a problem. Everyone should have a problem with this!

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    buy fire equipment for Israel

    Israel is a wealthy country. If the government and people don’t want to spend their huge tax revenue on fire equipment, let it burn.

    Not that a Jewish simcha is very enjoyable, but better to enjoy your money as you wish than to support those who have money and want yours as well.

    Like Rubashkin, whose family has plenty put away and even a meat business in South America.

    And like Israel that has all that hi tech but still takes aid from the US.

    Between the frum crooks and the secular beggar state, I am proud to say that I no longer consider myself a Jew.

  • Marky says:

    “i no longer consider myself a jew”

    Good riddance!!

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    And good riddance from me, one of those who identifies with the silent non-tribal and atheist majority of the world, to you and your little tribe that wrote a fable calling itself the chosen people and foisted it on the rest of the world.

  • Jason says:

    “Like Rubashkin, whose family has plenty put away and even a meat business in South America”

    You seem to know more then the District Attorney

    “i no longer consider myself a jew”

    Very good riddance :)

    Bottom line, no one on this forum brought any example of someone else who comitted more or the same crimes as Sholom Rubashkin ever got 27 years. Logical point it seems Sholom Rubashkin was SINGLED out to get 27 years for Financial laws he broke.

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    Yes. I do. The family is very good at hiding assets. Sholom was the fall guy for the rest of the mafia family.

    A bank lost over 20 million dollars because of this greedy felon. He should be sentenced to hard labor at a cattle processing plant until he dies of exhaustion.

    Pity his father ever escaped the Soviets. He sucked the lifeblood from the people who gave him refuge.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    I haven’t had time or opportunity to read about Rubashkin’s case so this is not a comment on the substantive issue (although I can certainly understand why the writer of the original piece felt he didn’t want to disclose his or her name – some of the comments here supporting Rubashkin, are very aggressive).

    But in a category of awful all of its own, are those from Rubbish Kan; we all know anti-semitism when we see it.

    And whether or nor Rubbish Kan is/was Jewish is irrelevant. His comments are racist, spiteful and full of hate.

    I would suggest people completely ignore his comments from here on.

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:

    Ah, the Jewish anti-semites come out in full force. Didn’t take long,did it?

    Poster, you throw the words Chillul Hashem around as if you really know what that means. Your whole post, disguised as some holy crusade to save Jewry from the likes of SBR are simply odorous. I can think of no greater Chillul Hashem then a Jew baying for the blood of another Jew, when even Goyim have difficulties with aspects of how the justice system in this case.

    You, and the rest of the howling pack make yourselves out to be more righteous than Mother Teresa, but just can’t wait to see the guy hung drawn and quartered. You certainly ferreted out the best of the community who not only wouldn’t have a problem tying the noose around Rubashkins neck, but would gladly act for free as the hangman.

    Furthermore,reading the drivel of all these “honest” compatriots of yours, who have never committed any illegal acts makes me cringe when they open their mouths and utter the words Chilul Hashem as if they really knew or meant what they say.

    Just as well you weren’t the judge in the case. You probably would have sentenced SBR to 227 years, rather than the 27 the good clean judge did in the states.

    Yep, I’m proud of you. They just don’t come any better.

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    I was Jewish. I am not anymore.

    The Rubashkin case is one of the reasons I am not Jewish anymore.

    This is not a chilul Hashem because there is no Hashem except in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

    Yahweh is as fictional as a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings character.

    The Chosen People myth is racism.

    The Torah and the Nuremberg Laws are very similar.

    My comments are the painful truth.

  • Wolf says:

    To ‘Rubbish Kan’

    a) You say that you are not Jewish anymore. That is sad. You say that cases like this Rubashkin case has put you off Judaism, that is understandable, but sad. It is sad because as an orthodox Jew myself, I find it difficult to understand why supposedly moral people support a white collar criminal and religious fraud (Rubashkin). What you have to understand is that many people wear a black hat and beard, but aren’t religious at all. It’s a hard thing to digest, and a sad fact, but its true. It’s something that should change, but not a reason to dissociate from Jewishness altogther.

    b) You say that G-d doesn’t exist, it is a myth, Why? Do you know that for a fact? Saying that matter of factually is as short sighted, from a secular scientific point of view, as saying that he definately does exist. You have no evidence one way of the other, so why come to conclusions? Just be comfortable saying that at this point you don’t know!

    c) You say that “The Chosen People myth is racism”, how is that? Jews can be white, black, yellow, red or polka-dot! Race is not an issue, and anyone can become a Jew if he/she so wishes. Furthermore, every mainstream monotheistic religion claims it is the ‘chosen people’, Judaism is no different. The aim of a free democratic society is for people of diferent religious, social and ethnic backgrounds to co-exist together peacefully through mutual respect, regardless of one’s personal religious, cultural and ethnic differences. Australia is a beautiful, wonderful, free country for these peaceful humanist values, and I am thankful for that.

    d) You equate the Nuremberg laws with the Torah, how?

    Nuremberg laws were made with the express intent on totally annhilating the Jewish people. It is evil, sinister and borne of an age-old reasonless hatred. It is essentially a death sentence.

    The Torah is made as a code of moral ethics given to us, the Jewish people by G-d, for the Jews and all the world to keep (the non-Jews have the 7 noahide laws). This code is the basis for many western secular democracies to this day. It is a beautiful set of laws, that not only tells us basic laws such as ‘not to kill’, but also discusses and enforces higher moral laws such as ‘not to slander’ (motzi shem ra), even if it is true (loshon hora)! It promotes keeping the law of the land (dina malchusa dina), even though this Rubashkin fellow seems to have been a bit selective of this one! Learn Torah with a Rabbi my friend, and you may change your opinion for the better! :)

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    The Torah was written with the intent of exterminating seven indigenous tribes of Canaan, or for justifying that genocide.

    There may be a force that created or even runs the universe in some way, but history and science have destroyed the Yahweh myth. Even if there is some sort of deity, it is not this Yahweh who chooses a people and wants them to eat crummy, cruelly slaughtered, expensive meat and wants them killed for not resting on a day of rest!!

    I find woodworking far more relaxing than learning Torah on a Saturday or any other day, and if I want to rest on a Thursday by taking a day off and going to the beach, and then making up for the lost time by working on Saturday, so be it.

    As the Internet makes more and more information available, and more and more Jews find out more about Judaism, it will fall like the Berlin Wall. So will Christianity. Islam will take a bit longer (and it is the worst of the three).

    Every rabbi (ra-bee) I have ever ever met proves to me, either by the lack of ability to answer my questions or by his corruption that there is nothing out there.

    I was once frum. I saw the light as so many others are seeing it now. There is at least one child in every frum family who goes secular now. He or she is usually the smartest, most creative or most ambitious child in the family.

    Anyway I have no more desire to waste time here. Your god is just another outdated, bloodthirsty Middle Eastern idol, like Baal or Moloch.

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    The code came from Hammurabi and is just common sense (when you take out the Shabbos and no other god crap). A society can’t run if murder and theft are permitted. When you screw around, you get the clap or AIDS because screwing around is not good for the species and the back orifice is not a sexual organ. That’s nature, not god.

  • Wolf says:

    Dear Rubbish Kan;

    a) You say that the Torah was written with the “intent of exterminating seven indigenous tribes of Canaan”. Fact, it wasn’t. Indeed, if you take the time to read the Torah, it very clearly explains that all the people that took Canaan when we were in Egypt (they were in no way native), had a right to surrender. In our commentaries (I forget which one but I remember the message!) we learn that his teaches us that we must ALWAYS give our enemies a way out, a path to withdraw or surrender. It is the opposite of genocide.
    We even learn in the Torah that Jews have certain attributes, one of these attributes is mercy. This is the reason king Saul didn’t execute the king of the evil Amalekites as he was instructed, because he was merciful! (to his detriment even!).

    b) You say that “history and science have destroyed the Yahweh myth”, really, how? I find that the more we learn in science, the more we see just how much we don’t understand. Once again, it is understandable to say that from your point of view there is no more or less proof of G-d one way or the other more than any other possibility, but why flat out deny His existence if you don’t know with certainty of any definate alternative?

    c) Why do you call a rabbi a “rabbi (ra-bee)”, this is antisemitic nad may hurt a lot of your own people. How would you like if other people undermined and name-called you for being secular? It is truly fascist to disrespect othet religions and beliefs like this, how can you call yourself moral? I don’t agree with you or many other people but I certainly don’t go name-calling on priests simply because I don’t believe in their religion.

    d) You claim that the Torah came from “code came from Hammurabi”. No it didn’t and if you knew your stuff really well you could have better ‘dis-proofs’ than that. In fact I have studied middle-east ancient mythology academically, and I can tell you that the ‘connection’ is VERY loose, and virtually non-existent.
    If you wanted to make pagan connections to the Torah then you should probably read other books, I know I have a few, and I know that its arguments are far more effective! how ever by no means beyond dispute.

    Judaism is not a proselytising religion, nor is it blood thirsty. It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it promotes respect and tolerance of all people and nations, on the understanding that other nations are different, but equal, no less human or deserved in any way. Why do you hate your Judaism so much?

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Can people *please* stick to the topic. There are other opportunities to discuss the validity or otherwise of religion and one’s attachment or disenchantment.

    I would be very interested in hearing from people who are committed to other streams of Judaism and their views on the case and its relationship to ethics and morality or otherwise.

  • Rubbish Kan,

    We have rules on here against hijacking threads and trolling.

    Consider this a first and final warning.

  • Rubbish Kan says:

    Eds: Comment removed. I guess you didn’t understand the warning. You are welcome to submit an article to the editors on your “disavowal of Judaism”. However, this article has nothing to do with that topic, and it is unfair of you to the author and to those that wish to discuss the topic for you to treat this like a personal therapy session.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    From an Australian perspective this sentence certainly seems tough but in the US, sentencing practice varies enormously from state to state and is generally much tougher than in Australia.

    Larry – one response to the ethical question you raise turns on the issue of how much Jews should stand up for each other even when it is clear someone has done the wrong thing. The way Jews relate to each other is sometimes said to be like a family. I don’t think anyone would criticise a parent who supported their off-spring in trying to seek a reduced sentence or lodge an appeal. And if the community had gone about seeking donations to support Rubashkin in those terms I think that would be fair enough.

    There is an ethical basis, and a strong case in Jewish thought, to say that justice is universal (all people are equal before the law) and social justice is universal (no humans are more humans than any other humans) but that within Jewish communities there is an additional layer of connection and responsibility, and people may go the extra mile to protect and back other Jews, even in contentious circumstances.

    But seeking support for Rubashkin on the basis that he has been victimised because he is Jewish, in the absence of any clear evidence of that (haven’t read anything convincing here), and citing his acts of charity for other Jews as an excuse for breaking the law is very unethical . And if at the support meeting people said things to the poster along the lines that his (Rubashkin’s) conduct was not so bad because it only affected people who are not Jewish, well that is disgusting and I’m glad GA has aired it.

    We all make mistakes and sometimes people do stupid and illegal things and in families and close communities we forgive more readily than we might forgive a stranger. That is a very human response. People have the right to support someone in their community even where that person has done wrong things. But if Rubashkin hasn’t apologised to the victims of the crime for which he has been convicted, it is surprising – and yes, probably just wrong – that so many people are willing to provide and seek financial support for him. (Perhaps his failure to show contrition affected the length of his sentence. It is a relevant factor in sentencing.)

    A couple of comments specifically on the criticism of GA for publishing this piece without disclosing the name of its author. Given the aggressive tone of some of the comments here,I can understand why the poster wanted to keep his or her name private.

    People who have criticised the anonymity of the poster (mostly anonymously themselves) should keep in mind that journalists often won’t reveal a source buttake accountability that there is a reasonable basis for the information, and that there is a real source who is providing the information in good faith. The editors of GA know who the source is, and publishing this piece is not very different from what newspapers do when they cite a source who does not want to be named.

    The editors of GA do put their names to their blog which provides a point of accountability unlike say AJN Watch which does not state anywhere who is responsible for its …content Also there are comments here for and against idea of community support for Rubashkin – even if they are not evenly divided. So at the very least that reveals a need for this discussion and for the opportunity for people to on the one hand question the ethics of a decision to provide financial support to a convicted criminal and on the other to defend that decision for reasons which may not otherwise be well understood.

    Many people commenting here seem to feel that Orthodox Jews who face criminal proceedings are more likely to be singled out for criticism than secular Jews. It does sometimes seem that Orthodox Jews who are accused or convicted of offences are often given a harder time by the Jewish press than secular Jews in the same position.

    Some possible reasons for that are:

    – Assuming that the role of the press is to bring things into the open, it so happens that in Australia, cases of secular Jews who have had big run-ins with law have been involved in high profile cases which have been extensively covered in the general press so there is less need for the Jewish press to publish . (For example in recent years, Marcus Einfeld, Richard Pratt)

    – Often episodes of Orthodox Jews accused of breaking the law also involve a Jewish community institution or – as in this case – a service for the Jewish community (selling kosher meat) so that also makes it more newsworthy as it involves matters of Jewish law and custom and affects people in a Jewish capacity.

    -The Orthodox community does tend to be very supportive of Orthodox people who are accused of wrongdoing – overall that’s probably more good than bad – but that in itself can become newsworthy. So there are quite a few cases where secular Jews have been convicted of crimes over the years (including quite recently , a young Jewish person convicted of murder in Victoria ) and which get only passing mention or no mention in the Jewish press – but in none of those cases, did a community gather in this way to raise funds and support that person (although of course their families are likely to have done so privately) . In other words, the public and communal activity rather the crime or alleged crime , becomes the news

    But one other reason that Orthodox Jews get more press is that Orthodox Jews and particularly people in position of spiritual influence and leadership are often held – even in subtle ways – to a higher standard. Is that fair? (By the way I don’t think that this is such a case)

  • Larry Stillman says:

    But Mandi, why should R. need funds for an appeal etc when the family appears to have money for expensive spin doctors and so on? There appears to be manipulation of a particular community going on here.

    As for the issue of orthodox Jews and serious fraud etc. I think the problem is that it is appears to not be at all taken seriously by certain elements and sects within the haredi community and every opportunity is taken to avoid responsibility when the law catches up (eg fleeing to Israel, engaging in heavy duty politics and so on). the problem, as many now, also involves elements in serious crimes like drug smuggling as well.

    By the way, the similar ethical and legal issues that can edge into criminal behaviour need to be pointed out for secular Jews. A few nights ago there was a program on SBS about a secular gay Israel who has gone into business baby farming in India, shipping over fertilized embryos from the US and elsewhere to be carried by poor Indian woman. I was disgusted and quite upset how having a child was turned into a business in countries where the ethical boundaries around baby farming and invitro are pretty loose (both Israel and India). I am not at all opposed to gay parents or invitro, but having such speculators engaged in the business is disgraceful. He stands too stands to be condemned.

    We also see similar issues arising in the body parts scandal that affected Israel and a major hospital in Durban where organs were removed from poor people from Israel, Romania and elsewhere. A bunch of Israeli doctors were involved and the organs and body parts issue has arisen on other occasions as well (letting classic anti-semitic tropes loose).

    There is something in Jewish culture that is wonderful (entrepreneuralism, creativity), but it can also lead to extraordinary immorality and worship of the Golden Cow (not to speak of the numerous big time fraudsters in the US). The lack of a moral centre occurs among religious and secular people, but perhaps it is more noticeable amongst the very religious because they overtly project morality and religiosity and then cry foul when caught.

  • Jason says:

    “But if Rubashkin hasn’t apologised to the victims of the crime”

    There are no Victims of this crime to appologise, the Share holders of the bank would have made thier Profit from the Rubahskins loan had ICE allowed Rubashkin to contiue proudction, the bank was constatntly being paid and loved making thier profit till ICE did not allow Rubashkin to continue, many even the members of the Congress in the United States condemed they raid. The Feds are not that Honest.

  • Ruvien says:

    A Gut Eruv Shabos
    On positive note
    This Week Thillah Gathering for Mr Runashkin also took place , in Sydney Australia, Toronto & Vancouver Canada , Jerusalem Israel , Moscow & ..Petersburg Russia, Dnepropetrovsk & Kiev Ukraine .
    No protesters were seen in any of these gatherings.
    The Attorney General of Russia Mr Yuriy Chayka has express interest in Mr Rubashkin case , and promise to write to his counterpart in USA the letter of concern, about so call American justice , in the case of the Rubashkin .

  • The Poster says:

    If you really think that only Rubashkin has gotten 27 years for his crimes then I have a bridge to sell you.

    Here are just a few examples that I found with a simple google search on the first page I come up with (no, none of them run a meatpacking plant and engaged in falsifying documents and the exact frauds that Rubashkin dealt with, some caused more losses than SMR, some less):

    William Shaw
    Dwight Shelton
    Colin Nathanson
    Adrian Florin Fechet
    John Peter Galanis
    Corenelius Robinson
    Miguel Romero
    Milton Retana

    There are plenty more out there.

    Jason – wow a victimless crime! Madoff’s victims also were “constantly being paid and loved making thier profit” until the scheme collapsed. For Madoff it was just the market ruined his plot. For Rubashkin his undoing was that despite many warnings not to keep breaking the law from the government and from inside the company, he continued doing so.
    From what I saw about the congressional response to the raid, most of the points brought up were how the workers were being prosecuted more efficiently than those who facilitated the hiring and how the people at the bottom of the chain were worse off than those at the top. i.e. that SMR et al wasn’t being brought to justice.

    Ruvien – Halvai that there were. People are afraid of looking like they hate SMR and they know that is what they will be accused of.

    I think SMR is a victim of the system that is supporting him, not just a product of the system. The victimization he feels and the apathy with which he committed his crimes which is what is leading to the harsh sentence wouldn’t come to be if the community he lived in wasn’t the way “Lkaf Zchus” painted it above.

    Shabbat Shalom.

    I know that most of you are defending Rubashkin on incorrect facts l’shem shamayim, to those that are I hope that you may soon merit to see the truth.

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:


    You posted

    Assuming that the role of the press is to bring things into the open, it so happens that in Australia, cases of secular Jews who have had big run-ins with law have been involved in high profile cases which have been extensively covered in the general press so there is less need for the Jewish press to publish . (For example in recent years, Marcus Einfeld, Richard Pratt)

    Please refresh my memory as to whether or not Pratt & Einfield featured on the front page of the AJN in the same manner and to the same degree as Rabbi Engel (Adelaide)did when he was charged a few years back.

    He too was deemed to be guilty of everything except driving over the neighbours cat…..and again at the first opportunity all the typical “Chilul Hashem” know-alls came out in full force.

    But justice prevailed and in the end, much to the consternation of the Ortho-bashers, when all charges were either dropped or dismissed.

    Shabbat Shalom

  • Ruvien says:

    To Mr Poster :
    1. Hillel said : Do not judge your fellowman until you stood in his place.
    2. Biurim : There are four types among charity givers :
    e. That neither he nor other should give is a wicked person.

  • Jason says:

    “Here are just a few examples that I found

    William Shaw
    Dwight Shelton
    Colin Nathanson
    Adrian Florin Fechet
    John Peter Galanis
    Corenelius Robinson
    Miguel Romero
    Milton Retana”

    this is unbelievably; how people come to these blogs and lie about Rubashkin, first you were debunked from just the average comments on this blog how Rubashkin was never ever convicted for hiring or had knowledge of under age workers and you have the audacity of posting criminals who took money from the average Joe on the street and comparing them to Rubashkin, just like you keep on comparing Madoff to Rubashkin, I have Googled (or anyone can google it up) the names you posted and it comes out they have scammed average Joe on the street, Rubashkin bulk conviction was of inflating his Invoices, just like many people inflate their salaries on the average Credit Card Application, just like many people Inflate their salary when they apply for a regular buissnes or home loan. again you are proven wrong just another time

    “Madoff’s victims also were “constantly being paid and loved making thier profit” until the scheme collapsed.”

    The scheme was going to collapse when the bank was paid off, just like every home and Buissnes loan and Mortgage is paid up to the bank, including the Mortgage’s that people inflate their salaries when they apply for their Mortgage if not for the raid that has been condemned by many Congressman, Federal Judges and 7 former United States Attorney Generals including Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Carolyn McCarthy, Edolphus Towns, Carolyn Maloney, Steve Israel and Yvette Clarke amongst others. Additionally the head of the Democratic National Committee, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been active on Rubashkin’s behalf, as well as a number of former U.S. Attorneys General and esteemed Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

    “I know that most of you are defending Rubashkin on incorrect facts l’shem shamayim, to those that are I hope that you may soon merit to see the truth.”

    We are posting the F A C T S of this case, yes we agree that Rubashkin Inflated his Invoices to get a loan, we agree that Rubashkin broke a 1921 law that states you cannot pay your cattle dealer late (which Rubashkin was the only person ever to be convicted of such a crime), however we agree with 7 former United States Attorney Generals plus many federal Judges and many Congressmen that 27 years is just to much for a first time offender where people who have committed similar crimes received very light sentences something like 1 to 3 years max. We also agree with the Obama Administration who has outlawed such type of raids.

  • Wolf says:

    To Jason,

    a) You say that “Inflated his Invoices to get a loan”, but then go to belittle the act as something minor stating “just like many people inflate their salaries on the average Credit Card Application”, really? I was fully unaware of that. Furthermore, it is in no way analogous. For one person to slightly fudge a credit card application is in no way the same thing as Rubashkin’s case where not just did he make a habit of it, not just was it totally off the mark, but he knew beyond any shadow of doubt that it couldn’t be paid.

    b) You write that “Rubashkin broke a 1921 law”, and then make out that because this law is so old it is therefore somehow invalid?!? The laws of the Torah are ancient, yet as valid today as they have always been, your argument is nonsensical! Why would you want to support any criminal that broke any law?

    c) You write that “27 years is just to much for a first time offender”, that is absolutely true!…. EXCEPT, he is no “first time offender” at all. In fact he had been fined regularly for years for all sorts of civil indiscretions relating to his business, the treatment of animals at his abatoir, and the hiring of illegal workers in terribly dangerous, inhumane conditions. He was busted on a whopping 86 counts of white collar commercial fraud, not 1!

    It boils down to the same few questions I’ve asked a few times on this site but have never had answered;
    1) How can one be a ‘religious Jew’ if one is not even a basic law abiding ‘mensch’?
    2) Why do we as a community want to support a white collar criminal? After all does giving charity make someone immune to the laws of Torah, menschlachkeit, and society?

  • R B says:


    The fact that the prayers in favor of Rubashkin took place around the world means nothing about the crime or the punishment. Same for the lack of protests – after all, the prayers were advertised in Chabad circles, others did not much chance to know about them.

    And finally, if you rely on Russia’s justice system in order to justify anything… no comment.

  • Yaakov says:

    Halakha: Could Rubashkin be put to death?

    The aftermath of corporate collapses such as Enron and Worldcom has turned financial fraud in the USA into a worse crime than running drugs or killing someone.

    White-collar crooks deserve tough treatment. In a hearing which pre-dated the Agriprocessing raids, Dynegy’s Jamie Olis was jailed for 24 years, and for many fewer transgressions, although later his sentence was reduced.

    On 21 April 2004, Neil Weinberg wrote in Forbes: “Former Tyco chief executive Dennis Kozlowski is a lucky guy. Not because a stubborn juror landed him a mistrial. He’s lucky because even if New York prosecutors retry him, as they’ve vowed to do, the flamboyant former exec is looking at 15 to 30 years, no more. Were Kozlowski in federal court instead, he could easily be facing what amounts to a life sentence–with no chance of parole–under rigid new sentencing guidelines.”

    The New York Times reported on October 29, 2008 that Iowa labour authorities levied some USD 9.6 million in fines for wage violations at Agriprocessors Inc, the largest wage violations penalties ever levied in Iowa at that time. The guidelines had been in place for six years at that time, and in regular use.

    The fines were in part for illegal deductions from wages the company made for company uniforms. Inspectors found 96,436 deductions for uniforms from the wages of over 2000 individual workers. Agriprocessors was also fined for illegal deductions from the salaries of 1,073 workers and also failed to pay wages totalling over USD 260,000 to 42 workers arrested in the raid on the plant.

    Sentencing guidelines are in regular use all over the world. In Victoria, for example, Judge Paul Mallaley wrote his sentencing manual nearly 20 years ago. In the USA, Congress cranked up the penalties for white-collar crimes in 2002 as part of “emergency” measures in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform movement. For example, an accountant who puffs up company earnings can be blamed for a corporation’s subsequent collapse.

    Anyone nailed for causing more than $1 million in losses to investors faces serious jail time. A chief executive who makes a material misstatement that causes a 1% drop in his company’s billion-share float now faces 11 years. If he is instead caught trafficking 40 grams of heroin, he’ll be released in three years.

    So no-one ought complain at the treatment handed out to Shalom Rubashkin. The guidelines allocate years on a sentence calculated on “offence level” points: so many for fraud, so many for causing certain levels in financial losses, so many for harming so many people, so many for being a “sophisticated” executive and further if one has a professional qualification, such as a lawyer or accountant.

    Harsh penalties are needed because people simply don’t learn. His brother-in-law, Rabbi Milton Balkany, was convicted in February 2011 of extorting $4 million from a hedge fund and sentenced to four years in prison.

    The “torah-compliant” Rabbi’s crime was this: On tapes played to the Court, Balkany demanded that a billionaire hedge-funder would write two cheques each for USD 2 million. One would go to the Brooklyn girls school Balkany has run for 40 years, the other to another needy yeshiva. The “donation” would shape the rabbi’s spiritual advice to a particular Jewish prisoner serving a sentence for fraud. Balkany’s advice would be that the inmate say nothing to investigators about any wrongdoing he might know about at Cohen’s hedge fund.

    The writer has no claims on advanced torah scholarship but wonders by which mystery of kabbalah or gematriah the Rabbi felt that this was acceptable behaviour, even if it raised money for Jews. One would expect that a culture of torah observance would instil a culture of compliance with the legal rules of the “host” culture. Our law as Jews includes, to a certain extent, the secular law of our host country (”Dina de-Malkhuta Dina”) as well as commercially established customs (“Minhag ha-Soharim”). After all, if we’re a light unto the nations, we don’t want the nations to be involved in extortion, no matter how noble the recipient of the ill-gotten gains.

    There can hardly be said to have been the culture of compliance required by Sarbanes-Oxley at Agriprocessors. Two HR managers Laura Althouse and Karina Freund, helped illegal immigrant workers obtain false resident visa numbers so they could be hired at the plant, according to Althouse’s guilty plea.

    According to the Arutz-Sheva report of the case, Rubashkin had at least some guilt. “Prosecutors also discovered that Rubashkin inflated his original receivables to secure a bank loan; even though no losses were incurred, the exaggeration constituted federal bank fraud. Moreover, when Rubashkin …[ticked a box] on the original application, he swore his firm was not involved in illegal activities. That statement was deemed false by virtue of the illegal aliens who were discovered working at the plant.”

    The major defence mounted by those asking for prayers for Rubashkin appears to be that whilst the company of which he was a senior executive was convicted of many crimes, he was convicted of few and that his sentence was harsh. Halakha does not appear to allow the defence of “limited liability”, and for you law students out there, the Beth Din may well have decided Salomon v Salomon differently.

    According to Rav Asher Meir, “the major halakhic authorities have not accepted the “legal-person” view of the corporation. R. Yitzchak Weiss (Minchat Yitzchak Vol. III, 1) cogently points out that even the secular law does not view the corporation’s legal personality as entirely independent of its owners.”

    In their article, Jewish Law and Modern Business Structures: The Corporate Paradigm (1997) 43 Wayne Law Review 1685, Broyde and Resnicoff suggest that a corporation at halakha is a sort of partnership (shutfut). The shareholders are regarded as partners who own a percentage interest of the corporate assets. There are limitations – some believe that Jewish shareholders are partners only if the corporation has primarily Jewish shareholders or if they own voting shares – which don’t apply here as Rubashkin fitted both limitations. A narrower view- which would also catch Rubashkin – is that one looks to the shareholders’ ability and intention to control corporate conduct and to use or sell corporate assets.

    In 2011, kosher doesn’t just apply to the narrow limit of the law – there’s a triple bottom line in kashrut including social and environmental factors which inform the legal view.

    Rubashkin is fortunate that he has been tried by a secular court in this century. A religious court at the time of the Sanhedrin may well have sentenced him to death.

  • Ruvien says:

    TO R B

    Thillah Gathering for Rubashkin this week will take place in Johannesburg , Sth Africa.
    In Jerusalem Thillah Gathering for Rubashkin was organise by Breslov & Gera Hasidim .

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Please read the US government’s response to Rubashkin’s motion for bail.

    Sorry people,as they say ‘he has form’. to claim he is an innocent bystander in all of this, or just a minor miscreant


    Read why the US govt. has opposed the bail, based on his behaviour.

    He engaged in deliberate acts of continuing fraud and coverup, after his problems began, including getting other people to flee the country and his own attempts to flee to Israel. For a holiday? To make donations?

    And here is a guy, willing to post bail of millions, put up Torah scrolls as collateral (what do you say to that?), now having people going around the world scraping for donations?

    Defensible? Or was it all ‘accidental’? No way.

    Why feel obliged to offer support?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Jason – fraud is almost never without victims but the principle is about breaking the law . I am seriously surpised surprised at how many people commenting here think that everyone commits all sorts of fraud. no – I think most people are honest. That’s why people get so outraged about tax fraud because the cumulative effect is that the majority of people – who actually do the right thing – carry the load tax wise . In the case of fraud against banks, all consumers wear higher cost to meet the fraud and dishonesty of a minority whose fraudulent activity causes direct and indirect loss.

    A subjective view on whether , in any particular case, the person who committed fraud was able to meet ongoing obligations or not is irrelevant. If a person committed fraud, that is dishonest and immoral. People say the same thing in defence of insider trading crimes but the law aim to provide a level playing field and stability for the system in an overall sense.

    If the reports are accurate that Rabushkin was convicted of fraud and didnt express contrition – well more fool anyone who gives money to his defence. To my mind it’s a matter of personal conscience – but it is very telling that many of the people making the case to provide support for him in spite of this, also think that most people are dishonest.

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:


    Rubashkin is fortunate that he has been tried by a secular court in this century. A religious court at the time of the Sanhedrin may well have sentenced him to death

    What utter garbage!!

    However as you have introduced that inane comment, wrap your head around this one.

    A religious court at the time of the Sanhedrin would have sentenced to death the “mechalel shabbos befarhesia” posters on this thread.

    Wouldn’t have left too many posters me thinks!

  • Jason says:

    ““just like many people inflate their salaries on the average Credit Card Application”, really? I was fully unaware of that. Furthermore, it is in no way analogous.”

    Of course your not aware of that, read about the famous LIAR Loans that was booming in the early 2000’s to Mid 2000’s in the United States: http://www.davemanuel.com/investor-dictionary/liar-loan/

    “And then make out that because this law is so old it is therefore somehow invalid?!?”

    Please STOP making up stuff about me and Rubashkin I never said the Law in I N V A L I D, all I said was that out of Millions of people who broke the 1921 law of paying the cattle dealers late, is that Rubashkin was the only person ever to be convicted of this crime, so yes Logically speaking Rabbi Sholom Rubashkin was SINGLED out to be prosecuted for violating this law.

    “EXCEPT, he is no “first time offender””
    Again you lie, According to the District Attorney Mr. Deegan and the Federal Court system and Judge Linda Reade in the United States Sholom Rubashkin is a FIRST Offender whether you like it or not like it.

    “the treatment of animals at his abatoir,”
    Was never ever fined nor was there any legal charges against Rabbi Rubahskin.

    “hiring of illegal workers in terribly dangerous, inhumane conditions.”

    I really wish you get sued for this slander, Rabbi Rubashkin was never ever convicted or fined for “hiring illegal workers in terribly dangerous, inhumane conditions.”

    “He was busted on a whopping 86 counts of white collar commercial fraud, not 1!”

    Correct 86 times for inflating his Invoices and hiding it, which was a big boom called the “Liar Loans” http://www.davemanuel.com/investor-dictionary/liar-loan

    1) How can one be a ‘religious Jew’ if one is not even a basic law abiding ‘mensch’?

    This is not about a Jew or Gentile issue, if any first time offender gets 27 years for Inflating his Invoices and breaking a 1921 law of paying your cattle dealers late, the whole world should make a fuss, no one ever in the History of United States ever got such a punishment, as no one on hits forum ever brought a case of anyone who has committed S I M I L A R crimes faced 27 years.

    2) Why do we as a community want to support a white collar criminal? After all does giving charity make someone immune to the laws of Torah, menschlachkeit, and society?

    you don’t have to support anyone, you do what ever you want with your money, but don’t mix in what other people do with their money it is their money not yours and the people that Support Rabbi Rubahskin feel that 27 years was unjustly done, as you yourself CANNOT prove why Rabbi Rubashkin would get 27 year sentence.

    “Jason – fraud is almost never without victims but the principle is about breaking the law . I am seriously surpised surprised at how many people commenting here think that everyone commits all sorts of fraud. no – I think most people are honest.”

    The Bulk of Rubahskin fraud was that he infalted his Invoices to the bank, yes it is illegal and this was done in a time when banks were giving loans as gifts, you can read about the Liar loans in the early 2000’s http://www.davemanuel.com/investor-dictionary/liar-loan/

    Also Rabbi Rubahskin paid back every single loan, this proves that Rabbi Rubahskin was going to pay the 27 million Dollars if not for the raid that brought down the Postville economy, you probably don’t care about the local people in Postville, you only care that a man who has a beard and looks funny to you is sitting in jail, that is all you care about, I dont know youbut the way yours writing it comes out this way!

  • Jason says:

    “Is Rubashkin sorry for his crimes?

    No! Rubashkin turned down a plea deal ”

    There was never ever a plea deal for Rubashkin, unless you can prove other wise!

  • Wolf says:


    Your answers to my questions and that of others range from non-sensical, to just plain absurd.

    i.e “you yourself CANNOT prove why Rabbi Rubashkin would get 27 year sentence”, um, that’s why crimes have varying sentences mate, as long as its between the minimum and maximum prescribed sentence and not outside that range, then the ‘proof’ of the range of the sentence is in the legislation iteself!

    or he’s another gem of yours, “Millions of people who broke the 1921 law of paying the cattle dealers late… [but] Rubashkin was SINGLED out to be prosecuted”, really? Is that true? If it even were true would it make him any less of a white collar criminal?

    And this one takes the cake! “Rabbi Rubashkin was never ever convicted or fined for “hiring illegal workers in terribly dangerous, inhumane conditions.”” That is correct… sort of, his company ‘Agriprocessors’ was, regularly, for years, with his knowledge… BIG difference…. NOT!.

  • Jason says:

    “um, that’s why crimes have varying sentences mate, as long as its between the minimum and maximum prescribed sentence and not outside that range, then the ‘proof’ of the range of the sentence is in the legislation iteself!”

    Please don’t use insults as this is away out of you not answering any of the facts, Judge Reade does not MUST follow the guide lines, she could have given Rabbi Rubashkin a lesser sentance as per the Laws of the land.

    “really? Is that true?”
    Yes it is true
    If it even were true would it make him any less of a white collar criminal?

    “If it even were true would it make him any less of a white collar criminal?”
    Since we know this is true and a verified F A C T so yes Rabbi Rubahskin was singled out therefore making your protest null and void

    “sort of, his company ‘Agriprocessors’ was,” Not Sholom Rubahskin, there was a trial and he was found NOT guilty to your personal charges, In-fact he personally Instructed his Human Resources NOT to hire under age, what the HR did behind his back that is another issue.
    yes regularly, was never vere fined for your personal accusation against Sholom Rubashkin

    for years, with his knowledge… again till you personally bring proof that Sholom had any Knowledge of hiring 1 Minor never mind many.. your statement stays Null and void, in fact he was found NOT guilty to those charges.


    To the “protester” you are a fool for protesting and making up lies, with out any facts, with this I leave you the protester the last Question that no one on this post can answer:

    Who else other then Shalom Rubashkin was ever convicted for 27 years in prison for Inflating his or her Invoices and breaking the 1921 law of paying the cattle dealer late?!.

    All you can do is insult!

    Here are more facts of this case for those that would like to learn more, Federal Judge Criticizes Raid:


  • Mandi Katz says:

    Jason – people understand why people want to support a fellow Jew in tsuris. Many people commenting have said that 27 years seems like a very tough sentence. It is a very harsh punishment for property crimes.There has to be a better way for society to deal with theft and fraud – that sort of sentence makes sense only for someone who has committed violent crimes and is a danger to society.

    Of course people are free to support Rubashkin financially or in any other way and of course don’t need anybody’s permission or blessing to do that.

    What people commenting here object to is the extent of denial being used to justify that support , and in particular, people object to that sort of denial being put forward with the endorsement of Orthodox institutions. When that happens other Jews have the right to say that they think those comments and positions are not right and to express concern that those sort of justifications are being made in the name of Jewish practice and ethics, or will be seen to reflect a Jewish community standard. .

    And when people cry anti-semitism while being unable to acknowledge that criminal behaviour is the primary issue or even an issue at all, that makes the anti-semitism claim seem ridiculous.

    And people who think this is “Ortho bashing” should read these very considered words by someone who is very much part of an Orthodox community.


    As to your specific question Jason – its hardly surpsising that no-one can cite a prior example where someone has committed exactly this offence pursuant to exactly this section of this statute and who received exactly this sentence. That doesnt of itself prove that this outcome is discrimanatory.

  • Yaakov says:

    Lkaf Z’chus,

    Oh yeah, our observance of Shabbat is better than your observance of Shabbat so we can hide behind a corporate veil and rip off over a thousand illegal workers. He failed to pay wages and the Good Book says, Thou shalt not steal. He took illegal deductions from workers’ pay and committed the offence over 90,000 times. His company was fined 9.6 million dollars for it. Sarbanes Oxley imposes a culture of compliance and he was at the very least non-compliant whilst one of the company’s controlling minds.

    But his observance of shabbat is better than mine (which I question) because I ride a bicycle to shule and he walked, (which I concede) so you would have it that he is innocent and my argument is invalid. Or is my argument bad simply because other posters in this thread have written their responses during Shabbat (I haven’t).

    And would you mind putting your real name to your contribution? I am Yaakov Gorr.

  • Lkaf Z'chus says:


    As if I am going to waste my time arguing with a Tipesh who is an Am Ho’oretz?

    But I will say this…

    If anyone is foolish enough to bring up a dovor shtus, then refer it back to Halacha, they have to cop the heat when their take on halacha or the Talmud is deficient.

    Not only yours is deficient Rabbi Gorr, I am embarrassed to say that any grade 4 boy in Addas would wipe the floor with you.

    You foolishly brought up your imaginary synopsis about what the Sanhedrin Might do in an Inyan of Momenus, but I’m telling you what they WOULD do to a Mechalel shabbaat Befarhesia, particularly someone who had been given Hasro’oh.

    If that got under your skin, I can’t help it and whether it bothers you or not, doesn’t matter, but that is what the Talmud teaches us and in fact if you know anything about Bnos Tzlofchod, you’d understand.

    But as this has nought to to with SBR, this diversion is a waste of time, so I say to you the following…

    Keep your money..Rubashkin doesn’t need it.

    100 others will get the zchus rather than you.

    But you may need the funds for yourself, as a heart transplant may be in order because sadly Rabbi Gorr, you have no heart.

    I bid thee farewell and only ask that you ride your bicycle safely and abide with all the laws pertaining thereto.

    Cheerio mate!

  • Jason says:

    “What people commenting here object to is the extent of denial being used to justify that support , and in particular, people object to that sort of denial being put forward with the endorsement of Orthodox institutions.”

    It is not the Orthodox institutions, it is 7 former United States Attorney Generals think the 27 years is discriminatory, there was nothing on the poster of the event that indicated that Anti Semtism was involved nor did any of the speakers indicate Anti Semitism was Involved, you have just made that up.

    The protester who represents YOU and your Community came out straight with a lie that Rubashkin deliberately hired under age workers, which is totally NOT true as per his record from court documents

    “He failed to pay wages”
    Yes he failed to pay the wages after the Raid that was condemned by many Federal Judges and many well respected congress man. What a shame!

  • Gerrer says:


    You hit the nail on the head. Yasher Koach.

  • Menachem says:

    You had a little bit too much of a dose of Rosenberg…

    The real facts are way on Rubashkins side.

    Look at this article written by a goy: http://www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson290.html

  • GMB says:

    It is a chilul Hashem that you wrote this, and I hope that Hashem is more lenient with you when you have to answer for doing this, than you are being with Sholom Rubashkin, who deserves our prayers. Sadly you are not the only fool with similar views that I have had the misfortune to come across.

  • Lkaf Zchus says:

    Make sense out of this!!

    The prosecution in the Opes Affair where the director knowingly and deliberately defrauded clients and investors of more than $600 million, are asking for a maximum of a 12 -17 months jail term, yet the creep of a judge in the Rubashkin issue sentenced him to 27 years, even though in all likelihood the bank in that case would not have lost a penny has the raid not occurred, and even then despite all the interest the bank had received the total loss of principal was approx $30 million.

    American justice a la anti-semite!


  • Mandi Katz says:

    Rabbi Feldman has now said he will sue the AJN. AJNWatch makes this comment – “Meanwhile we look forward to Australia’s rabbis and rabbinical organisations to offer more support to Rabbi Feldman than they did to Rabbi Engel.” (sic)

    Posters here who had a lot to say about the AJN picking on Rabbi Engel should ask themselves why rabbis and rabbinical authorities didn’t stand up for Rabbi Engel. Are they “orthobashers” too?

    I’m genuinely interested in what people think are the reasons for the rabbinical authorities’ failure to stand up for Rabbi Engel.

  • Oliver Shalom says:

    Hi Mandi,

    From my experience, Rabbonim will go quiet when another Rav gets caught doing something he shouldn’t have done. They’re worried about defending the indefensible, then get tarred with the same brush if the other Rav is found guilty. This is why we didn’t hear much from Rabbonim during the Engel case.

    There was a collective sigh of relief when the Engel case was withdrawn. Plenty of Chabadniks will tell you that “he was found not guilty” (which isn’t true), or “he’s innocent as he wasn’t found guilty” (withdrawn charges are not a proof of innocence). My Adelaide sources confirm that there was plenty of evidence (they were questioned by police if their children had attended Engel’s school, and had they ever received the signed report cards, the answers to both were “no”).

    What peturbs me and many I know, is that so many Chabadniks, Rabbonim included, say in reference to the Engel case, the Rubashkin case, the East Bentleigh Chabad case and now with Rav Yossie Feldman’s comments/emails “He’s a Chabdnik, therefore he MUST be innocent. There is no way he could ever be guilty of anything. If there is evidence, it must be a mistake, or he’s being framed.” And that’s why so many don’t have faith in a Rabbi handling cases of abuse, neglect or other problems within the community, as the odds of a fair hearing are stacked against you if the accused is:

    1) A Chabdnick, and you aren’t
    2) A Rabbi, and you aren’t
    3) A major donor, and you aren’t
    4) A “connected” member of an inner-circle family, and you aren’t

    Notice how the Rabbonim of the NSW association have publicly come out attacking the AJN for reporting on Rav Feldman’s emails, rather than publicly pulling their colleague into line for his outrageous thoughts on reporting of abuse? It’s all about deflecting attention from one of their own, when the community is so angered by his stance.

  • Reality Check says:

    Oliver Shalom,

    Firstly, great name, and secondly, do you think the Messiah will ever come when Chabadniks behave in this way?

  • Oliver Shalom says:

    Reality Check,

    Moshiach will come, but not until all peoples start to behave better towards each other. Surely Moshiach’s journey gets a little longer every time a Chabdnik behaves in this way, and that’s pretty sad when Chabadniks are the loudest when it comes to spruiking Moshiach’s imminent arrival.

    Then again, 50% of them believe that the late Rebbe was/is Moshiach, so who knows what path they’ll go down over the coming years; The gospel of Shloimie? The “stories” one reads in the weekly “Lamplighter” editions are getting more and more miraculous.

    If they don’t stop the nonsense and get back to Torah-true Judaism, they’ll really end up being the closest religion to Judasim.

  • Oliver,

    Why would you expect the RCNSW to publicly castigate the person who leaked the e-mails? One of their Rabbis wrote “… most among us would agree … to address the despicable conduct of those Rabbonim who leaked our discussion”. I’m sure they are dealing with the issues internally, and it’s quite obvious that some Rabbis on the RCNSW had daggers out for Feldman.

    While I’m not defending Feldman’s views (no-one is), they are a product of internal leaked discussions. For the AJN to turn it into a sensationalized front page story without even talking to any of the protagonists is reprehensible. They did a similar thing to me last year in relation to a letter I wrote to the Rabbi of Yeshivah Shul that was leaked to them. It is truly gutter journalism.

    The actual story is this: in private discussions, one Rabbi disagrees with group of other Rabbis on very sensitive issue, and is overruled when a consensus is reached. That is not a front page story – that is pure muckraking. It says more about the journalistic standards of the AJN than of Feldman himself. Maybe we should see leaked internal e-mails of the AJN editorial committee discussing what they should or shouldn’t print. Is that a news story? No, because they print anything!

  • Sam says:


    You say that you are not defending Rabbi Feldman, (and I do believe you) but your posting implies that the AJN has committed a bigger transgression. It seems clear that leaked discussion by other rabbonim of RCNSW was designed to pressure Feldman to resign, as being head of the council, maybe that wasn’t possible any other way. I disagree that it was gutter journalism, and the article deserved front page if only because the public must be informed. Would you be happy to have your children or grandchildren in a school where he was the head, and a policy in place which is kept hushed, that any child abuse may or may not be reported to the police. Come on David, maybe you want to re_phrase some of what you said.

  • Sam,

    My intent was not to weigh one sin up against the other, although if you think the AJN did the right thing by publicizing a leaked e-mail, then your views on the relative merit of each are established.

    It’s probably naive and myopic to think that other Rabbis were so incensed by this particular e-mail from Feldman that they leaked it in order to pressure him to resign. Rather it’s far more likely that a fellow member of the RCNSW wanted to get rid of him, and just used this as the vehicle.

    You make an assumption that because Feldman expressed these views in “private” discussion, that he would implement them as a secret policy in a hypothetical school he was running. On what basis do you say that he would defy the final ruling of the RCNSW just because he had a dissenting opinion during discussion on the matter?

    Compare this to any other situation where a group of people (say a board, or a panel of judges), discuss and debate a matter or policy, and then reach an consensus. Along the way, there are bound to be people who expressed contrary views, and at the end, they all agree on what the final decision is. Are the deliberations themselves newsworthy?

  • Sam says:


    Thanks for your response. I don’t consider the article printed by the AJN a sin at all. Do you consider it a form of loshen hora?
    In my view this is the justification.
    (1) It is a business that needs newsworthy articles.
    (2) It was very much in the public interest that Rabbi Feldman’s views on this sensitive topic are known, particularly amongst his congregants.
    (3) It is not libel, and if there is going to be an attempt by him to sue the AJN then I think that will be an extreme uphill battle.
    (4) The article publicizing his views was seized as the opportunity by ORA to make a very strong statement to the contrary which was also extremely important for all Australian Jews to hear.

    I don’t think that we can know why the discussion was leaked, but it is clear that someone or more a likely a group of rabbonim wanted to see him disappear. I think that the exact reason why, is not highly relevant. We do not know what other problems there may have been between him and the rest of RCNSW.

    OK he had a dissenting view the rest of the rabbonim on the RCNSW, but even if he was pulled into line, I have no belief that he would privately change his philosophy as to his own importance and his position of (mistaken) authority in criminal matters.

    BTW is Rabbi Feldman still the head of the Council?

  • Sam,

    It’s not loshen hora because it’s true – he’s not disputing that he wrote those e-mails. I find his views completely abhorrent and totally out of touch with contemporary values and the laws of the state. However, where we disagree is that I don’t think they are “newsworthy” because he never expressed them in a forum that can be deemed public, or as an official policy of his, his shul, or the RCNSW.

    The AJN were very clear about them being from leaked e-mails, so I agree that there seems to be little grounds for a libel claim.

    The ORA and any similar organization should have (and did) make strong statements about their policies regarding these matters. They should not be prompted into doing this because of the views of one of their member Rabbis. They should be doing this as a matter of course.

    None of us have any idea of what Feldman believes following the internal RCNSW discussions, and after all this publicity. Speculation about what he thinks or what he might do is probably closer to defamation than what the AJN published.

    He has stepped down as president of the RCNSW.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    and The Age has reported on this too:


    David raises a very good point about how committees, boards can have frank discussions if they are scared that their views will be leaked. And I am not in any way, shape or form endorsing Rabbi Feldman’s views – just asking the question of how you accommodate unpopular views in those forums.

    Maybe one lesson is that ‘academic’ discussions of this nature shouldn’t be by e-mail. Some public companies distribute bound hard copy board papers only and collect papers after each meeting to minimise risk of papers being seen by unfriendly eyes. Papers can only be obtained by third parties by court order. Deeds of indemnity may give a right to directors to ask for the papers but the general principle is that for discussion to be frank, it needs to be hard to leak….

    Its all very grey as to when private deliberations are a matter of public interest, and the role of the press is to agitate and uncover. If organisations want to protect their private deliberations, they have to manage that – not expect or hope the press will be kind.

  • Marky says:

    Sam, you don’t consider it a sin/loshon hora 1) because it is a business that needs newsworthy articles.

    Do you have any source that in such a case it is permitted?

  • Marky says:

    David, you write: “It’s not loshon hora because it’s true”

    All loshon hora is true, because if it is not true then it is motzi shem ra, not lh.

  • Sam says:


    I didn’t say whether I considered the publication of the Rabbi Feldman article by AJN loshon hora, I only asked David how he viewed it. I stated that in my opinion that publicaton was not a sin, and on the contrary it was a valuable service to the public, and also very newsworthy.
    Do I actually need a “source” before making a statement of my personal view? Not in my world view!
    The simple answer to your question is no, I have not consulted a “source”.

  • Marky – you are quite right – I mixed the two up.

  • Oliver Shalom says:


    Clearly you and I have a different interpretation of the term “gutter journalism”. It’s the AJN’s duty to report the news, and bring important matters to the community’s attention. In this case, I think the AJN did the right thing. They were given the email chain, they asked Feldman to confirm his opinions, even after the RCNSW meeting, and he didn’t back down from his original thoughts, although he agreed to go along with the RCNSW statement. He stated that if there was no legal obligation to report the abuse, then there is no need to report the incident to the police.

    To claim that to report outrageous and unacceptable opinions and statements of a well-known Rav is to “sensationalise” a story is complete BS. By blaming the AJN for reporting it, rather than Feldman for his complete naivety and lack of humility on a very sentitive subject, you appear to be jumping on a bandwagon of AJN-watch consipracy theorists and “Chabad, right-or-wrong” members, somewhere I would never have placed you before.

    When someone gets caught out, you don’t blame the victim, or the reporter, but the person who did the wrong thing. And in this case, it’s not just a little thing by a little guy off the street, but by the Head of the RCNSW and the Rav of a known shule with an outrageous and dangerous opinion. When confronted about it by the AJN after the RCNSW meeting, his response should have been “Yes, I was wrong, and I was counselled by my learned colleagues of the RCNSW. All abuse cases must be reported to the police”. That would have been the end of the story. But we sadly live in an era where some Rabbonim come with egos the size of houses, and as such Feldman kept going with his original stance, without shame. And that’s where the story grew greater legs than it should have.

  • Oliver,

    Yes – you and I disagree as to whether this is “news”.

    However, you are incorrect in suggesting that I said we should blame the AJN instead of Feldman. It’s not an either-or situation – just because they are wrong doesn’t make Feldman right.

    The AJN is wrong in my opinion for sensationalising, and Feldman’s opinions are wrong as well. I didn’t defend his views – I contextualized them as views expressed during a policy discussion that should never have been made public.

    Now that they have been made public, your suggestion as to the appropriate response are spot on. Rabbis have a habit of digging themselves into even deeper holes when confronted with situations like these. I am definitely not in the “Chabad right or wrong” camp.

  • Real Pidyon Shvuim says:


    The Real Pidyon Shvuyim Case You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
    Jacob Ostreicher, an orthodox Jew from New York City, is being held in a dangerous Bolivian prison while authorities investigate him for money laundering. He is the victim, he and his associates say, of a local agent he and his Swiss partner hired to manage their rice plantation. They say the agent turned out to be a Colombian confidence woman who became entwined amorously and financially with a murderous Brazilian drug trafficker. A widely respected human rights organization is backing Ostreicher and the Swiss government refuted a Bolivian claim that the Swiss partner was under investigation in Switzerland.

    His case seems more legitimate than Rubashkin’s, the Satmar yeshiva student drug smugglers in Japan, and other cases haredim have popularized as pidyon shvuyim.

    I wonder why?

  • ivan cher says:

    Might Ostreicher be a former Jew WHO TOOK HOLY ORDERS IN ENGLAND ??

  • Marky says:

    Ivan, I have no idea what you are going on about.

    Real Pidyon shvuim. The askanim in New York are indeed working around the clock to get Ostreicher released. They were already working on this case over two month before anyone(including fm) heard about it.

    A country such as Bolivia needs a completely different approach to places such as Japan and the U.S., otherwise it could get worse.

    Also, I think the victim in this case has the money to cover any expenses needed as opposed to the two others you mentioned.

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