Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rubashkin appeals court-ordered detention

By Lynda Waddington
The Iowa Independent
11/25/09 3:47 PM

Smoldering culture clashes reignite in Postville

Defense attorneys for Sholom Rubashkin continue to assert that their client, despite being recently convicted on 86 fraud-related charges, is not a flight risk and should be granted bail pending sentencing.

Late last week U.S. District Chief Judge Linda R. Reade ruled that Rubashkin, who served as the on-site manager at a Postville kosher meatpacking plant that was raided by federal authorities in May 2008, should be held without bail, pending his upcoming sentencing on numerous fraud and money laundering charges. This week, defense attorneys for Rubashkin filed an appeal of that decision, and have requested the court to impose more sanctions on their client to ensure his lack of flight.

…Defendant Rubashkin would respectfully submit a continuation of the prior conditions with additional conditions will ensure Defendant’s appearance at sentencing or any other court proceeding. On November 18, 2009, Defendant Rubashkin presented evidence that individuals stood ready and willing to post equity in their homes which totaled nearly $8,000,000. Additionally, sacred religious scrolls of nearly $500,000 were offered; the significance of the same in the Jewish religion, however, is priceless. Additionally, Defendant Rubashkin has requested the Court consider evidence presented at pretrial detention hearing. … Conditions such as curfew, home detention, or home incarceration may be ordered. Moreover, the Court may now subject Defendant Rubashkin to 24-hour armed surveillance and order Defendant Rubashkin to pay for the same…

Rubashkin and his wife, Leah, reside in the Postville area and are in the process of raising 10 children. One of the younger children, a son, has a developmental disability and, according to documents filed with the court, is extremely close to his father.

The Jewish community in Postville and beyond has long argued that Rubashkin’s religious faith and the bonds that he has formed in Iowa would prevent him from fleeing charges or criminal conviction.

In a perhaps naive move to show their solidarity and support of the Rubashkin family, some members of the Jewish community in Postville have placed signs in their windows and yards that placed a photograph of Rubashkin on top of an American flag with the phrase, “Send Sholom Home!” The signs, which area military veterans viewed as being akin to support signs for Prisoners Of War, have reignited cultural unrest within Postville, and are being offered up as further proof that the insular Jewish community there doesn’t fully understand the social ramifications of its actions, however well-meaning.

In the wake of Rubashkin’s conviction, University of Iowa professor Stephen Bloom, who authored a 2000 book about Postville, told The Iowa Independent that he knew “from the very beginning [that] almost all of Sholom Rubashkin’s actions reflected an mind-boggling sense of imperial disregard for just about everything that ethical, law-abiding people hold as plain and simple rules of civic and financial engagement.”

“Rubashkin always played very fast and very loose. He and his lieutenants seemed to be not just above the law, but above how employers and business people normally carry out their everyday tasks. There was an air of supreme arrogance swirling around Rubashkin and his men, particularly when it came to paying bills and accounting for those bills.”

Because the Rubashkin family came to Postville to begin a new community instead of joining with the existing one, Bloom said that a certain culture clash was simply inevitable.

“The larger issue to me wasn’t so much blending into the existing culture, it was a sense that Rubashkin and his men had come to town and really didn’t give a damn about anyone or anything — except making money their way. They were the new guys in Northeast Iowa, and what they said, went. If you didn’t like it, well, that was just too bad,” he said.

The sentiment of “you better get used to how we do business because we call the shots now” was one Bloom and others came to expect from Rubashkin and others within the Jewish community.

Bloom also predicted that the guilty verdict would spur “scores of Rubashkin loyalists to scream” anti-Semitism. Indeed, just hours after Rubashkin was taken into custody, the official a prominent Chabad Web site asserted that Rubashkin had been denied basic religious rights by federal authorities, and in the comments to that post as well as others on the site it has been suggested that “a frumer yid” doesn’t “deserve to be in jail together with goyishe criminals”:

now is certainly not the time to stand in judgement of sholom mordechai to decide whether or nor not he deserves to be in jail. He made some mistakes, I’mm sure he would not repeat, given what he is facing now. However, does a frumer yid deserve to be in a jail together with goyishe criminals? Absolutely NOT! EVERY SINGLE STOP needs to be pulled out to free him! INSTEAD of sending aroisgevorfener e-mails and faxes to stupid goyim – you should be banging down the doors of ALL “shluchim” who sat and ate like chazeirim at a “gala banquet” and who know and have contacts with key political top-dogs, that can have influence with senators, governors, congressmen/women, presidents, etc. THESE ARE THE ONES THAT YOU SHOULD MAKE THIER LIFE A LIVING H**L UNTIL they do something! that’s the only way anything can change for Sholom Mordechai. (al pi tevah) CALL, CALL, CALL, WRITE, FAX, FAX, FAX, 10-20-30 times a day until they poshut go nuts – and then they will do something! WHAT GOOD ARE THEY, AND WHAT GOOD ARE THIER CONNECTIONS IF NOT FOR THIS INYAN!? At least, if they are not doing the Rebbe’s shlichus, let them get a yid out of prison!