|Sholom Rubashkin with three of his 10 children after his release. Source: his family; posted in The Algemeiner.|
Last Thursday morning, Jerusalem time, we got the breaking news that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin had been freed from prison by a declaration of commutation from US President Donald J. Trump. Here is a Google search on this event, for full coverage.
I had started writing this article last week, but life got in the way again. I have had a call for prayer for Mr. Rubashkin in the right top corner of this blog for quite some time, along with the other prisoners of Zion. This prayer has not been totally answered, due to the fact of the conditions imposed upon him, including that he must pay back whatever debt is claimed against him. Regular readers of this blog have seen headlines on the sidebar come and go regarding the case, and they will continue to see them, be"H, until Geula Shlema or until the outstanding problems are resolved, whichever comes first.
In case you are thinking how full I am of myself and think I'm an angel, please be assured that I don't. I just don't like the term "devil's advocate" and anticipate that some will think it particularly appropriate in this case. I don't. Especially when a large group of people who ought to know — judges, lawyers, serving Congresspeople and Senators, Jews and non-Jews, on both sides of the aisle — agree that anti-Semitism played such a large, obvious part in what occurred here. It isn't my (or our) imagination.
From Reuters: "...Trump’s latest action leaves Rubashkin’s conviction intact, as well as terms of his supervised release from federal prison and his obligation to make restitution."
As the White House made clear: This does not clear his name or come even close to correcting the miscarriage of justice that has been going on for years. We all know that he did wrong; but the severity of the sentence and conditions have just been too much, compared to those of non-Jews who committed similar offenses and even greater ones.
Neither does it take into account that his business, Agriprocessors, was reduced in value to the point that it was sold for pennies on the dollar according to its true value, due to the "no-Rubashkin rule" the government imposed on it, specifically prohibiting any Rubashkin family member from, not only advising the new owners how to run it, but much more as well. Think how it would be if Mr. Trump had to sell his real estate business for whatever reason, and the prospective buyer would have to make do without his, or any of his family's, near-infinitely valuable experience! The kosher meat market is highly specialized (and no, it isn't like halal, veganism or any other food system, but their practitioners certainly make use of certain aspects of Jewish methodology, such as symbols on packaging), and the Rubashkin family, especially Reb Sholom's father Aaron, who originally owned the company, has a great deal of wisdom to share — but none of that for them. If you ask me: Because Jews. Better yet, read what Prof. Alan Dershowitz has observed on the case, having worked on it pro bono.
Some of my friends have said that Donald Trump released Mr. Rubashkin because of whatever money is left. Yes, Mr. Rubashkin was pretty much the Donald Trump of the kosher meat business, lehavdil (to differentiate; the comparison is far from apt.). According to Fortune magazine, "Rubashkin, 57, ran what was America’s largest kosher meat-processing company..." As we all know, the world hates successful Jews; and this time, it succeeded for a while in making one of them suffer for far more than his crimes warranted. And, as this CNBC article notes, they don't have much money anymore. Thanks, US Government.
Worse yet, the world hates happy, smiling, rejoicing Jews. Victorious Jews. So when they're freed from prison, there seems too often to be some set of conditions (see Jonathan Pollard's latest news...) that makes it impossible to celebrate a completely executed act of justice restored (and in Pollard's case, practically impossible to live a normal life...but I digress.). Even when they were framed and prevented from paying debts, as Mr. Rubashkin's defense team says he was.
Web sites everywhere (see the links at the end) are keeping many Jewish commenters ferociously debating this issue, among others. That's right: Let 'em fight each other. Sheesh. Over a crumb that was thrown our way. Let's have some dignity, please, and behave ourselves; we don't have to take out all our suffering on each other. We're not pit bulls; we are a nation anticipating redemption from the only One who counts.
By the way, in the article above, Atty. Dershowitz says we haven't heard the last from Sholom Rubashkin. Let's keep our eyes open, keep praying, and keep in mind that a Jew truly and appropriately freed is a sign of Geula Shlema -- Complete Redemption!
May the rest be appropriately freed as well.
More relevant reading below. I have linked to opposing opinions as well as those in agreement. However, I do not take responsibility for anyone else's words or of those who comment.
From 2010: NYTimes: 27-Year Sentence for Plant Manager | CNBC: Is President Donald Trump making a play for the Jewish vote? [-or not?] | The Slate: Why did the judge come down so hard on Sholom Rubashkin? | The Times of Israel: How Sholom Rubashkin's supporters got Trump to commute his sentence | The Forward : How Sholom Rubashkin Can Redeem Himself | Tablet magazine: To Understand the Reaction to Rubashkin's Release, Look to Chabad's History | Family and supporters celebrate Rubashkin's release |