By Mica Soffer
A Brooklyn financier is bankrolling a documentary on the life of embattled meatpacking executive Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.
COLlive.com has learned that investor and Crown Heights resident Simi Jacobson has put up an undisclosed amount for the as yet untitled film.
Rubashkin and his family owned and ran the now-defunct Agriprocessors Inc., the country’s largest kosher meant plant, until a controversial immigration raid which led to its financial ruin.
Sholom, a father of 10, is currently serving a 27 year sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Otisville, NY.
“When a Jew is sitting in jail, it says that you can even sell a Torah to save them,” Jacobson told COLlive.com in an interview, noting he is not a legal expert in the matter.
“Being in prison is like a live death, or even worse, because the whole physical environment is so terrible – it’s pain for body and soul,” he stated.
Jacobson, CEO of the J-Group investment firm, says he remembers Rubashkin from his days at Chabad’s Gan Yisroel summer camp in Parksville, NY.
“He was the arts and crafts counselor and was a very lebedike guy,” Jacobson said. “Sholom Mordechai could have been a great rabbi and shliach. The business world wasn’t for him.”
The film is being produced by Danny Finkelman, producer of the star-studded “Unity” song for Rubashkin and will be directed by Marcio Arenas, a filmmaker and teacher at the NY Film Academy.
A camera crew has already visited the Postville town in Iowa where Rubashkin built up the Jewish community with a shul, school and a yeshiva. They are currently interviewing various people familiar with the case.
“Danny is keeping the issue alive,” Jacobson said. “Usually when someone gets sentenced people care at first, then they forget within a couple of years. We must keep the fire on because people shouldn’t forget and move on.”
Aside from film making, Jacobson said he has another plan how to assist Rubashkin repeal the sentence which many law experts, including a former U.S. Attorney General, have questioned for its harshness.
“We have to start working together and put arrogance away, which is the first thing they teach us on Wall Street. If you’re not humble you will never grow,” he says.
Jacobson says he is speaking to corporate investors, trying to rally the support of influential firms such as Goldman Sachs, Seahawk Capital and Merril Lynch.
“The people who work there have a lot of clout,” he says. “We need to get Wall St./Corporate America to put pressure on Washington to help Rubashkin, who is right now helpless.”
The investor says he was afraid of witnessing “another Jonathan Pollard situation G-d forbid.” He called on all members of the Jewish community to lend a hand or a dollar, noting that “people don’t realize the strength they have as a whole.”