Justice for Sholom

Why should you care?

Sholom Rubashkin was convicted of fraud and is scheduled for sentencing this week. While there is little dispute about his guilt (and shame he has brought on to the Jewish community), there seems to be an over-zealous prosecutor who is asking the court to give a life sentence, which appears to be excessive given the nature of the crime and various mitigating factors as described in the video below.

Comments (47)

(47) vivianne waldman, February 14, 2016 7:46 PM

Free Rubashkin !!

Rubashkin's case is a nightmare come true . He must be set free . It the prosecution still thinks there is a case against him , there should be a new and impartial .

(46) j. goldsmith, September 1, 2015 8:44 PM

Rubashkin has spent enough time away from his family

It couldn't be plainer that Sholom Rubashkin is a more than decent human being who, unfortunately, made a mistake, one which harmed no-one. It is unjustifiable cruelty to keep him separated from his wife and children any longer. He has overpaid for his crime and it's time to release him to his family who have suffered undeservedly.

(45) Anonymous, January 28, 2015 9:42 AM

Can You Name Today's Heroes?

I think everyone agrees Rubashkin should be free by now. It's the huge focus, even circus, surrounding him that upsets many.


When I was young, I loved going to any Jewish protest, parade or gathering. I loved wearing a Kipa on campus. Jew was associated with Sharansky, nobility, human rights; with Dayan, Rabin, charisma & strength; with Abba Eban, intelligence & power-politics; with Rav Weinberg, Carlebach, the Rebbe and brilliant, cool-but-warm Rabbis; with Reichmans, success, charity & modesty; with Golda Meir's balance of honor, feminism & Jewish-motherliness; with a 6-Day-War, miracles, open respect - even from all enemies; with Soloveitchik, Twersky & universally admired spiritual literature.

Today's young Jewish mental real-estate is "occupied" by criminal-victims: Pollard, Rubashkin, etc. (yes, victims of injustice, but nailed red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar); Superstar thieves like Madoff & Olmert; a lone Ultra-Orthodox loonie who makes CNN's international homepage for spitting on a little girl.

But what changed? Our people, or just our focus? I walk around Israel and we have a lush forest of more heroes than ever, spiritually, militarily, economically, medically & academically. Yet young-adult guests at our Shabbat table focus on the TREES of Rubashkin and other victims d'jour. We have the power to focus on our FOREST of greatness. (And the irony is that our forest is at its biggest, thickest & greatest in 2,000 years!)

We get the energy to shine our light in the face of darkness from what inspires & motivates us. We need to shift our focus, dinner conversations, headlines, causes, gatherings, speeches, protests, and mental zoom to our more noble personalities and activities.

Today, Jews have no lack of greatness. Yet each of us as individuals, and all of us as a people, have only so much conversational bandwidth.

Focus it.

(44) lynette joel, January 28, 2015 12:47 AM

Free Shalom Rubashkin

Rabbi Rubashkin and his family are wonderful people, I had occasion to spend many years getting to know and love this family. This is unjust, and cruel. I would like to see him completely pardoned, He and his family have suffered enough

(43) Beverly Margolis-Kurtin, January 26, 2015 9:16 PM

Why not death?

American Jews have always thought that they were living in a land of justice, that nothing could go wrong, go wrong, go wrong...
Jonathan Pollard is rotting in a prison for no good reason. No other person who has done even worse things are walking around free today and have been free for decades. But a JEW? Nope, different justice for Jews.
It is outrageous that a prosecutor should ask for a life sentence which, in reality is a death sentence. His crimes? A. Bring Jewish. B. Not being as wealthy as Sheldon Adelson.
VERY RICH REPUBLICAN JEWS are immune from anything like what is happening to Sholom and Pollard--they weren't rich enough and yet that is what we all are accused of being.
Me? I don't even get $20,000 a year on which to live. If I didn't have my sister and niece living with me, I'd be out on the streets or in prison for one thing or the other.
I am an American. I love this country. I joined her Air Force out of gratitude for permitting my grandparents to immigrate to this country, but I do not trust her to provide justice.
The former CEOs of General Motors are not in prison even though they murdered several people by not changing the locks on the vehicles even though they knew they were defective. Gentile CEOs literally get away with murder, but Jews?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On that I cannot improve.

(42) uzitiger, January 10, 2013 1:57 AM

Rubashkin was given an excessive sentence for being a Jew

This outrage against Sholom Rubashkin shows that the government does not like it when Jews get too successful in business. The sentence was excessive and the judge was collaborating with the prosecutor before the raid on the plant.

(41) Bernardo Apsan, May 29, 2012 1:49 PM

He was unjustly slandered

Please let him go free and defend himself as a free man. And if he is guilty, then the judge might fine him or make him do community service.

(40) Anonymous, July 2, 2010 4:00 AM

Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin made a chillul hashem. The jewish people have to set an example to the world how people should conduct themselves. Everyone would like to be rich, but people have to make money honestly. I feel that he does not deserve such a harsh sentence.

(39) Anonymous, June 23, 2010 12:08 PM

objective reporting

Shalom Aish Please excuse me for the following criticism but it pains me to remain silent. Since you depict yourselves as objective journalists, I pray that you have the courage to post the following. Aish writes: “While there is little dispute about his guilt (and shame he has brought on to the Jewish community), there seems to be an over-zealous prosecutor who is asking the court to give a life sentence, which appears to be excessive given the nature of the crime and various mitigating factors” On the other hand William L. Anderson (teacher of economics at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland) and who sounds certainly non-Jewish, writes the following: “I will go against all of them. Sholom Rubashkin, in my view, does not need “leniency.” He needs to be freed, period, for the man is not a criminal, which is more than I can say for the people who hounded and prosecuted him and destroyed his business, Glatt kosher Agriprocessors of Postville, Iowa. Let me begin” The above is an excerpt from an 8 page document (see it in its entirety on his blog) where he very clearly lays out the facts in a very honest and refreshing way. On the other hand, your 5 line caption is vague and lacking of any conviction – almost sounds like you are trying to appease someone. Please Aish – give Shalom a real chance – depict and represent his innocence. He is clearly a victim of virulent anti-Semitism (over-zealous is a ridiculous, shameful and inaccurate description of such persecution and prejudice) Regards A saddened fellow-Jew from Jerusalem

(38) Andy, May 6, 2010 2:36 PM

Update prosecuton not asking for life sentance and I agree with Daniella

"But last Thursday, Assistant US Attorney Peter Deegan Jr told the court that a life sentence was for violent criminals. Instead, he asked Judge Reade for a sentence of 25 years. Rubashkin's lawyers said a six-year sentence was a more appropriate term." In addition to criminal activities that have been proven it seems to me that he is guilty of turning off many not yet observant Jews to "kosher" and numerous other examples of Hilul HaShem including uneccessarily punishing the many local cattle suppliers who testified that late payments by Agriprocessors pushed their businesses close to bankruptcy. I don't know Iowa penal laws but I'd guess he'll actually have to serve bewteen 7-10 years which seems fair to me. I am a friend of Chabad and believe I try and love my fellow as myself.Of course he did some good and I feel for his family but this is a long time offender who had ample opportunity to change his ways

(37) Daniela, May 5, 2010 3:14 PM

Read the first sentence of my comment

It still stands. If 25 years is a life sentence for someone who older, the appropriateness of the sentence depends on precedent, not how old the person will be when it's finished. He committed more than just bank fraud, and I think people are not being objective here - they're crying injustice and anti-semitism because he's frum.

(36) Anonymous, May 5, 2010 5:10 AM


(35) Anonymous, May 4, 2010 5:48 PM

To # 32... You are way off mark! Nobody did more for the Kosher meat industry then the Rubashkin family, making Kosher meat available almost anyehre in the US. While there may have been bad business management, to say that they purposely sent old meat to non religious organizations, is a lie and pure slander. The boycott of Rubashkin by some in the frum community was due to to jelousy and sinas chinom. It's a shame that these "frum" people used allegations by anti semites like PETA and the workers unions for their own hatred. When their plants get shut down for the same reason, then they might understand.

(34) Greg, May 3, 2010 3:58 PM

Reply to Daniela (32) - regarding "rumors"

Daniela (32), You wrote "Abounded" in caps, but I think it is the word before that, "RUMORS," which belongs in caps. A man does not get a life sentence for "rumors". In fact, one should not get *any* sentence for rumors. As Jews, we all know how dangerous Lashon Hara is, we certainly know that you don't punish someone for "rumors" about their company. On the contrary, if anything, it is the people who spread rumors and repeat them, and even inact boycotts based on them, who should be the ones penalized. The issue at hand is the pursuit of a life sentence (or now, 25 years, still a veritable life sentence) for this case involving falsifying data to get more credit than one's company deserved on a loan. No less than six (!) former attorneys general of the USA (from across the political spectrum) have come out expressing very strongly that this would be a travesty, that it smacks of vindictivness and an abuse of the sentencing guidliness.

(33) miriamsirota@gmaiol.com, May 3, 2010 5:58 AM

he is not as vile as the anti-jewish media would have you believe! were all outraged & everyone i know feels the same way! Were apolled at this lopsided treatment of a man with No previous criminal record at all Nor is he a Danger to ppl on the street! he has surely paid the price many many times over consider the loss of a multi million dollar family business the money lost the public humiliation & witch hunt he & his suffering family endured etc etc remember this man has lived his life 98% proper lets NOT use he 2% to UNDO a very decent man! 2 days ago

(32) Daniela, May 2, 2010 11:54 PM

I second the comment by #27 Anonymous

Should someone who commits fraud, hires illegals and abuses workers get off lightly because he is older and has a large family? If he gets a sentence considered appropriate by the law of enough years as to be a life sentence because of his age, then it's not out of proportion. He's been an embarrassment to our community for a long, long time! Rumors ABOUNDED for years about abuses, cut corners, year old meat sold to non-frum summer camps, the list is long. If he simply "made a mistake" then how come I've known for the past 4-5 years to boycott Aaron's meat because of their shenanegans, including abuse of animals? I don't think we should be so quick to jump to the defense of a criminal just because he wears a black hat. When was the last time such an effort was made for a non-religious Jew who committed such "white collar" crimes?

(31) avraham, May 2, 2010 8:39 PM


We should not be admitting that he did commit crimes, but request the mercy of the court because of his fine character and his family. This is nothing more than a racist witch-hunt! I don’t care if he is guilty of every crime in the book, you can’t single someone out for abuse and then seek legal pretext to punish him! Even the worst criminals deserve basic civil rights, and if these are not met, any evidence or findings against him are rendered null and void, and may not be used in trial! This is the law, and it is designed to protect our basic liberties! The only way to stand up against abuse like this is to call it for what it is. We must strongly protest the injustice of the entire process. Even impartial judges recognize that this is a great injustice and clear anti-Semitism! We must stand up and protest this injustice clearly and strongly. Any other message is validating the abuse. Stop the injustice! Stop the American Shmad! What to do: 1. Pass this letter on to everyone you can! 2. Whenever someone mentions Rubashkin, make sure that his arrest was abusive from the start, and that discussing any other issue at this time only validates the abuse! 3. Protest this outrageous liable as strong and loud as you can! This means calling, writing, and e‑mailing all government officials and letting them know that you are outraged by this anti-Semitic abuse of the legal system! Protest and rally in the streets against this gross injustice! Let the world know that we will not excuse abuse! -- Rabbi Benyomin Walters

(30) avraham, May 2, 2010 8:38 PM


Rubashkin’s arrest was abusive!!! This arrest was never about justice. Powerful people were out to get Rubashkin and to make an example of him. Rubashkin’s arrest was an assault on Jews, Judaism, and Kosher Shechita. Any legal findings were purely used to justify his arrest. Every detail of these proceedings, the aggressive nature of the raid, refusing bail, the one-sided trial, and the completely unprecedented request of life in prison! This is all clearly abuse! It is abuse of Rubashkin’s rights as a citizen and human being, and it is an abuse of all of our rights to fair treatment.

(29) miriamsirota@gmail.com, May 2, 2010 3:02 PM

Wow soo much ahavat yisroel!

Hashem will surely help! we need to learn from this & pray for him & his family lets hoe that this man will be judged farely (in the context of his overal decency & good deeds!

(28) Anonymous, May 2, 2010 2:51 PM

A better way

I have been an advocate of a better way of dealing with these type of crimes. I do not think that people should spend any time in jail for these types of crimes. Instead, I think that they should compensate the community or public that they have harmed. There are caveats but generally I do not see the sense of having a contributing member of society spending time in jail. What kind of justice is that? That is called revenge. I have always felt like this about "white collar" crime and there is not much that will convince me otherwise. If they harm someone then they can work it off. In the meantime, maybe some pressure can be put upon the bank since they are the ones who brought up the charges. Has anyone considered forming a lobby group against this bank? Maybe this is really far out but why not? Maybe I am desperate but I am also very upset.

(27) Anonymous, April 29, 2010 9:09 PM

weak defense of a tough sentence

you treat workers poorly, hire illegals, polute rivers , treat animals inhumanely and defraud the banks. if ever anyone needed a pr firm it was agriprocessors. it could have charged a bit more for its products as it had such a large share.people would gladly eat a bit less meat or cheaper cuts if it meant eliminating many of the above mentioned misdeeds. the fact that he was good to his family and did not live personally in the lap of luxury is meaningless. a full life sentence seems for certain excessive but I'd be surprised if he had to do more than 7 years which seems tough but fair to me. need to check parole options . one never knows as per Pollard but that was national espionage and he ticked off bigger fish. hard to feel sorry for this gentleman as he brought great hilul Hashem and for certain turned many off to the idea of keeping kosher. i hope he has an opportunity to do tshuva and may his family be blessed to reestablish the good family name.

(26) Anonymous, April 29, 2010 3:48 PM

Thank you Aish

Thank you, Aish, for taking the time and making the effort to help another Jew in need. May Hashem send a complete Yeshua to Sholom and his family.

(25) Anonymous, April 29, 2010 1:54 PM


he is guilty he should have to do max time in jail for all his crimes why should he be any different than a non jewish person

(24) Chani, April 29, 2010 5:08 AM


In response to the previous comment, I'd like to say that aish is not condoning his actions. All we want is that Rubashkin should get fair treatment. So far, that hasn't been the case at all. Let's hope that changes fast.

(23) David S. Levine, April 28, 2010 7:18 PM

This Is An Outrage

The attempt to sentence Sholem Rabashkin to life imprisonment is nothing short of an outrage. One of the first concepts one learns in substantive criminal law is that sentences for criminal conduct must be proportionate to the crimes committed. This is simply not the case here. Yes, Mr. Rabashkin misrepresented his financial condition on an application for a Federal government guaranteed loan but he maintained the loan's payment schedule and, unlike what has become the case so often these days, the taxpayer lost nothing as a result of this failure. To sentence someone to a term longer than that received by many who take the lives of their fellow Americans is an outrage that must not be tolerated.

(22) Avrohom, April 28, 2010 2:54 PM

To #17: There is no argument about guilt or innocence.

The point is that the recommended sentence is outrageous--compared to the crime, compared to any precedent in US history, compared to dozens of CEOs convicted of far greater criminal activity. The point is that the judge invoked Israel's Right of Return as proof that Mr. Rubashkin is a flight risk--implying that every Jewish person is a flight risk by virtue of his Jewishness. The point is that former Attorneys General of a half-dozen administrations have signed a letter stating that the recommended sentence is ludicrous and an abuse of the Justice Department sentencing code. When one of our own who mishandled a business with no personal gain is being treated as a bloody murderer, it is imperative that we scream bloody murder. Please pray for Mr. Rubashkin, and by extension, for continued democratic justice for all in the US.

(21) CDG, Yerushalayim, April 28, 2010 8:50 AM

And we thought America was the new Jerusalem...sigh.

If Shalom Rubashkin can get an unfair judgment, so can you! Wake up, American Jews - don't defend his innocence, just defend his right to a fair sentence. Jonathan Pollard is in the same boat - his sentence is also entirely unfair -- and he has served far more than a fair sentence already. How many have stood up for him over the last 25 years? Maybe they count on us to be as ineffective with Rubashkin as we have been with Pollard. Something to think about. Let's defend each other, please. And make plans to come home...and don't leave these fellow Jews behind!

(20) Menashe Kaltmann, April 28, 2010 6:47 AM

America leads the free world!

The USA leads the free world. It is outrageous for the prosecutors in Sholom Rubashkin's case to demand such an excessive penalty as life imprisonment. Heaven forbid this would be a terrible injustice! For the sake of real justice and for the sake of America's moral leadership may Sholom Rubashkin's case be judged fairly! Chaplain Menashe Kaltmann Jewish Chaplain Melbourne Assessment Prison West Melbourne Australia

(19) soli titane, April 28, 2010 3:20 AM

not fair!

Mr. Rubashkin's punishment does not fit the crimes he commited,worse criminals have walked free with much less time in jail. Honorable judge, I have faith in this justice system,do not disappoint me please!!!

(18) Anonymous, April 28, 2010 2:19 AM

there must be a reason

when these strange things happen, Hash-m is sending us a message. We have to pray for our fellow Jews, be more honest in business, stop talking loshon hora (slander). Why him? don't know, but we must pray together and save him.

(17) Anonymous, April 28, 2010 1:03 AM

Do not agree

I don´t agree with Aish Ha Torah web site being used to defend thr rights of a jewish orthodox man who did wrong and who is being a bad example to jewish people. Of course he has a wife and wonderfull kids, but he should have think of this before doing ilegal business. Most of criminals do have wonderfull families, buy I think this is not an argument.

(16) suri, April 27, 2010 11:38 PM

you are not alone

i am with you where it counts and it is clear that hashem is with you too.

(15) philip.lehrer, April 27, 2010 10:53 PM

Looks like another Pollard case.

Of course he should be punished but,life for a crime which bankers are being REWARDED the whole time for is a little exaggerated.MISREPRESANTATION,is NOT a crime,if you look at the Goldman Sachses of today,who are basically accusing HIM of wrongdoing,because they ARBITRARILY,decided to cut people's credit are the real villains. Is the USA becoming so anti-JEWISH (the semites of course,only being our cousins),that it can't see the forest for the trees.

(14) Anonymous, April 27, 2010 8:58 PM

i would like to inform you that whilst you are handing out life-sentences to crimeless people in the society, you are allowing others to get away with murderous acts, such as that of violent criminals of the head of the largest car maker in the US (Toyota). Sholom Rubashkin has clearly not been senteced with the right measures of justice that US claims to have! Please listen to his side in order to clearly see the misinterpretation that you have taken!

(13) Anonymous, April 27, 2010 8:53 PM

Please could you reconsider the sentence victimless crimes of for the the justified approach towards Shalom Rubashkin

(12) Goldstein, April 27, 2010 8:46 PM

You don't put people in prison for life, on money charges !!! This guy did'nt kill anybody !!!!!!

(11) John, April 27, 2010 8:42 PM

Sholom Rubashkin deserves equal justice under the law

Dear Readers, I am a U.S. citizen and ashamed of the direction our government has turned since Obama became President. I believe antisemitism is growing in his administration. If I were you I would expose him and his administration for who they are with facts and never give up till he and his kind are gone. At the same time pray to G^d to deliver the righteous from the likes of him. Sholom Rubashkin committed a crime worthy of fines and some jail time but not life! You can expect more Muslim favoritism from Obama and less justice.

(10) Josh, April 27, 2010 8:12 PM

It's very sad that Sholom Rubashkin may spend the rest of his life in prison. What is even more terrible is that we as an orthodox community will now make our primary focus the miscarriage of justice which may take place but once again avoid dealing with what I believe is the real issue: People within our community are doing immoral things that are antithetical to Torah values.

(9) eva, April 27, 2010 7:21 PM

Please show clemency

I think punishment should fit the crime. To give a person a life sentence for lying to the bank is a horrible crime in itself.

(8) jerry miller, April 27, 2010 6:40 PM

punishment does'nt fit the crime way too severe

This is a good man who made a mistake , and shouldn't be treated like a common criminal. What Toyota did was deadly and it's ceo was tapped on the wrist.

(7) Howard Mintz, April 27, 2010 6:09 PM

Is Obama behind this ?

I can't believe any normal legal system would even think of a life sentence, unless its Iran, for white color crime..........Jeffery Skilling is as bad ?

(6) Anonymous, April 27, 2010 5:21 PM

A Bank is a Federal Institute

I do think it is sad he went to that length in what he did. The former CEO of the company I work for got caught stealing millions from the company. He had to pay back all he stoled, lost all his benefits, got fired of course, got fined, but didn't get sent to prison. I wonder, was it because he was a white, caucasian born in the US? What are these products labeled, that he manufactures? I would like to contact the grocery store I shop at; to see if they can start carrying them. Life sentence? Very extreme! If he is over 70 yrs old, he needs to look into the U.S. laws concerning that on theft and fraud. He has a case to win!

(5) Yaakov, April 27, 2010 3:32 PM

Yosher Koach!

Thank you aish.com for taking issue with this injustice to a fellow Jew. This travesty is not just against Sholom Rubashkin...it's against all of us. It affects us all.

(4) deborah jay, April 27, 2010 3:31 PM

clear anti semitism he was just moving money around and didn't kill any one

(3) Anonymous, April 27, 2010 3:20 PM

Fits a pattern

Many spys got only a few years in prison for betrayal of country. When a Jewish spy forwards nuclear information to USSR, the Rosenbergs are unfortunately sentenced to death. So it is in American jurisprudence. Perhaps this is residual judicial prejudice for another great scandal perpetraded by wealthy Jewish madoff pyramid sceme. Jews always get judged as a group. How to reverse this trend? Perhaps when we have our own country, a country lead by Torah Jews, then we can erase these glaring contradictions. Oh so sorry we thought we had such a country, it has more contradictions than even America does. Please See Arutz Sheva article comparing Judge Procaccias harsh solitary confinement prison sentence of 14 year old protestor to house arrest of super spy anut kam. Do you trust the Hashgacha of a person A.who mistreats his workers? B.Who doesn't pay on time? C.Who lies? Does anyone feel decieved and embaressed by this scandal? We tolerated this situation and now it has come to bite us back. We have collectively failed to plead for mercy for Jonathan Pollards measure of justice. I can't see the communitys efforts on behalf of this man to fare any better. For all the "Chumros" on glatt kosher meat, maybee we should save a few chumros for complying with american civil law? I wish him well, but well, this man has put himself in a deep well.

(2) Dr. Joseph Templeman, April 27, 2010 3:19 PM

Here is a clear case where mercy should temper justice.

Based on what similar small-time white-collar criminals have received in the past, requesting a life sentence for Sholom Rubashkin reflects unjustified brutality on the part of the prosecutor. And this is without taking into account his unusual family situation (ten kids, etc.) and the good that he's done for the community in the past. There are times when the heart should take precedence over the mind...

(1) MYRON SUGERMAN, April 27, 2010 2:51 PM



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