Monday, June 28, 2010

Postscript to a Tragic Event

There is an editorial in the Quad-City Times some of which expresses what is on the minds of many of us who both condemned Sholom Rubashkin’s crimes and decried his unjust and excessive sentence – a sentence devoid of any mercy!

To those of us who did not see Shalom Rubashkin as a Tzadik of unparalleled proportion (which is the way some of his supporters have painted him) – neither did we see him as a Rasha of unparalleled proportion.

He was convicted of a financial crime and Judge Linda Reade threw the book at him. He was sentenced to a 27 year prison term – a virtual life sentence based on a man’s average lifespan in our era. His legal team will vigorously appeal the prison sentence and it is my sincere wish that they can get it reduced to a more just and merciful sentence.

That said it should not be forgotten what Rubashkin’s company - Agriprocessors was like when it was raided. There were so many allegations of wrong doing it would probably fill a book. After his conviction for bank fraud the prosecution had dropped all of those charges in light of the expected heavy sentence he would receive. They felt it would more than cover convictions of those other offences. While it is true that in a recent trial he was not proven guilty of knowingly hiring underage illegal immigrants – that was just one of many charges he would have faced.

I don’t want to belabor all those charges. Suffice it to say that even if he were guilty of only some of them – it was a major Chilul HaShem. That has not gone away and should not be forgotten.

Unfortunately the anger expressed by his most ardent supporters has caused yet another Chilul HaShem. If one goes over to The Robing Room where Judge Linda Reade can be rated by the public one will be shocked at the commentary. Hate mail doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on over there. Here is just one example:

This Judge is an anti-semite of the highest order. She should never have been allowed to judge in this case, since she was the instigagor of the raid. She made mud out of an innocent man, and took away his livelihood and his life. G-D will pay her back. He has his ways.

I have no idea who these commenters are since they posted anonymously, but based on the anger expressed there - my very strong hunch is that many if not most of them are so-called Frum Jews – probably Lubavitcher Chasidim since Rubashkin is one of their own.

Aside from this increasing the Chilul HaShem - I’m pretty sure that website is monitored by government authorities and they do not take hate mail like this against sitting federal judges lightly.

But I digress. The point I wanted to make here was to contrast the current ownership to the previous ownership.

I have no idea who Hershey Friedman is. I don’t know if he is a Charedi… or a Chasid… or MO. I have no clue about his Hashkafos or background. What I do know is that he is making a Kiddush HaShem. The Chilul HaShem that emanated from Postville is being reversed. I will end with this excerpt from the article with which I fully concur:

The plant (Rubashkin) so inhumanely managed has been purchased and reopened by another Jewish kosher processor. Hershey Friedman, Agri Star chief executive officer, has initiated a $7.5 million upgrade and boosted Postville plant employment to 560. He’s complying with federal hiring laws, restoring relations with Iowa livestock producers and demonstrating that the Agriprocessors’ nightmare was the result of a felon’s greed and reckless choices.

Let Rubashkin and some of his Chabad kin cry about injustice. Let Friedman and his Agri Star successors show how an honest, compassionate and profitable kosher business can be run in Iowa.