Novominsker Rebbe to Address Massive Five Towns Rubashkin Asifa Next Week


novominskerThe campaign to free Sholom Rubashkin will be coming to the Five Towns and Far Rockaway area.¬† On Dec. 22, the Pidyun Shvuim Fund, an informal organization that pays for Rubashkin’s defense fund, will¬†host a rally at Congregation Knesseth Israel, the White Shul, in Far Rockaway.

Michael Orbach reports in The Jewish Star:

“No matter Defendant’s motive, he defrauded the victim banks out of millions,” Judge Linda Reade explained in her sentencing memorandum. “He unlawfully placed his family business’s interest above the victim banks’ interest. His family business and he personally benefited at the expense of all the victim banks’ innocent shareholders.”

The sentence has caused a widespread outcry in the Jewish community.

“I think people are bothered by what they perceive to be the unfairness of the trial and the disparity in the sentencing for a first time offender,” explained Rabbi Pinchus Lipschutz, the editor of Yated Ne’eman newspaper and the man largely responsible for the effort.

The organization has held similar rallies in Monsey, Borough Park, Flatbush and Miami and raised close to $2 million. The reason for the rally in this area is simple, according to Rabbi Lipschutz.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel,” said Lipschutz. “We’re desperate.”

Money raised will help pay for an appeal that Rubashkin’s legal team, led by Washington attorney Nathan Lewin, will be making on Jan. 3. Supporters insist that the verdict is unfair and that the imprisonment is a virtual life sentence for the 52-year-old Rubashkin. They also contend that the Judge Reade was overly involved in the federal raid that proceeded the trial. The rally has attracted strong support from rabbis and community leaders in the area, including the Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Bender of Darchei Torah, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger of Shaaray Tefila and Rabbi Eytan Feiner of the White Shul, who will also be delivering Divrei Torah during the rally.

“I feel strongly that this situation calls out for us to unite in protest of an extreme sentence,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Frankel of the Agudah of the Five Towns.

The rally also reflects an effort by the organization to appeal to the more modern spectrum of Orthodox Jewry. Five-thousand pamphlets about the case were mailed out to households in the area. The pamphlet, largely taken from the Yated Na’aman’s coverage of the story, accused the government of prosecutorial misconduct and also took aim at Rabbi Morris Allen of the Conservative Movement and the Forward newspaper that broke the initial story.

Already, the Rubashkin case has become an unlikely unifying force inside the diverse segments of the Charedi community.

“There are no personal interests here,” said Rabbi Shlomo Meisels, a member of the Satmar Chasidic sect from Monsey who also works for the Pidyun Shvuim Fund. “There are no group or sect affiliations, there are no prior mutual relations or personal connections that are causing this involvement. It’s just pure unconditional Ahavas Yisroel (love for a fellow Jew).”

Rabbi Hershel Shachter, a rosh kollel at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University, has written a letter of support for the legal defense fund.

“Though it should be clear that we do not condone any illegal actions and the Torah demands that we conduct ourselves honestly in all our dealings and observe the laws of the land, many experts in the legal and political community have expressed fears that Mr. Rubashkin was not afforded a fair trial, by an impartial judge, but rather received an incredibly harsh and unprecedented sentence from a judge who had been working too closely with the prosecution,” Rabbi Shachter wrote in a letter included in the pamphlet. “It is a mitzva to contribute to and engage in Pidyon Shvuyim on his behalf so that he can afford the legal fees to appeal his trial and sentence.”

Six former U.S. attorneys general have requested leniency for Rubashkin, as well as 24 members of Congress, including Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Rep. Anthony Weiner. Rabbi Lipschutz shied away from saying there was anything anti-Semitic about the verdict, instead saying that he believed it had something to do with unions and PETA, the animal activist organization.

“We believe that had something to do with the targeting of the company,” Lipschutz said.

The rally will begin at 8:15 p.m. In case of overfill, the event will be broadcast at nearby Shaaray Tefila.

{The Jewish Star/ Newscenter}


  1. comment to Moshe if this country is so messed up leave and go somewhere else. Lets see where else you have the freedom to say what you want and not get arrested for it.