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How Did We Get Here? Explaining the Unabashed Support for Rubashkin

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Allow me to begin by saying that it is not unreasonable to want to help Rubashkin. Certainly, when one of our own is thrown into the justice system we hope and pray that their experience will be as pleasant as possible. Incurring a harsh 27 year sentence is an eye popping, hair raising turn of events. Rubashkin deserves our compassion, empathy and assistance.

The question is does he deserve it any more than any of our many brothers (and sisters) that are in jail for fraud? Or other crimes?

And why does the frum media characterize any news about Rubashkin losing in court as “shocking”?

Some may answer that his sentence is so severe for a crime that seems so small (although in legal terms it is not – see: The Rubashkin Case: A no-spin, unbiased summary) it is a case that deserves our collective attention. This is a shortsighted view. Rubashkin had the frum world and their absolute support long before his conviction and long before his sentencing.

In fact, I believe Rubashkin had the frum community before the raid in May 2008.

In my opinion, this all began with PETA. Read…


The Rubashkin Case: A no-spin, unbiased summary

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I post this as a public service. (And a challenge to all the frum sites and newspapers to publish this summary.)

For a couple years now, the “frum” news sites and papers have reported a whitewashed version of the Rubashkin case. This has caused foolish outrage, claims of anti-Semitism, calls for the lives of the judges who presided over the appeal, condemnation of the criminal justice system and a gross double standard / hypocritical view of justice. All the frum media has been able to learn from this episode is not to trust the government and that we are a few logical steps away from Nuremberg Laws being applied to America. I have not seen one mainstream news article or editorial on honesty in business. Not one. This is understandable, because in the eyes of the frum community, Rubashkin is the victim of a blood libel and a contemporary Dreyfuss. In my opinion, this is reprehensible. We lose credibility as a community when we are not honest. But more importantly we are missing the greater lesson in all of this. Don’t break the law.

All the while, the frum community is footing the bill. (For an excellent review of why this case is not Pidyon Shvuyim I recommend an article written by Dovid Lichtenstein in the Spring 2011 issue of Hakira.)

This post is an attempt to set the record straight. Everything in this post is public record. Everything in this post is based on facts. There is no opinion in this post. Read…


Lessons in Anti-Semitism From Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean

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A little while ago I read the unfortunately mis-titled book, Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean.

I say unfortunately mis-titled because the book was excellent but it really was not about Jewish Pirates and certainly was not limited at all to the Caribbean.

The book was good because it tells the story of some of the most famous Converso Jews following the Spanish and Porteguese Inquisition. The well footnoted text gave me a better appreciation for the 15 century Mediterranean Jews, their struggles and their success.

Perhaps above all, as I was reading the book I found myself with a greater appreciation for Sephardi Jews. Read…


A Must Read Maharsha

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Head over to DovBear for this post: An Appropriate Maharsha

(If you don’t know who the Maharsha is, don’t bother…)


27 Years Is A Harsh Sentence But Not The Only Harsh Sentence

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Cross-posted to DovBear: Harsher Sentences Are Not The Answer

This is what the shoe feels like when it’s on the other foot.

For decades, right-wing / republican / conservative / Judeo-Christian Valuists have talked a big game when it comes to fighting crime. Running on “Law and Order” platforms and promising harsh sentences for criminals was a sure way to gain support.

On the other hand, bleeding heart liberals have been trying to model the justice system after the softer Euro sentencing structures.

Traditionally, middle class white people support Law and Order style justice. Harsh sentences make them feel safer and they are less likely to know someone who will be incarcerated, thus they are removed from the effects of the harsh sentencing of criminals.

Lower class folks usually support softer punishments. Read…