Update from Wendy Runge


wendy-weiner-rungeBy Wendy Runge for Matzav.com

L’Shana Tova and Shavua Tov. When I arrived at home Erev Rosh Hashana, it was merely an hour before candle lighting, and the 500 mile round trip drive was absolutely exhausting. However, I arrived with the scent of Yom Tov bursting through the windows, the table beautifully set and wonderful members of the kehilla delivering food, flowers and their sincere good wishes! What an experience!Just the day before, the Judge corrected the glaring mistake of scheduling my pre-trial hearing on Rosh Hashana, and changed
it…pending the hearing on Wednesday. Pending is the key word because on a whim of the Judge, I would be in court whenever he wanted me to be. Remember, in the US legal system, the Judge has all of the power…and there are many, many layers of protocol and procedure to navigate lest we do something wrong and face his ire. Judge Gamble is a fair and experienced Judge, and my attorney, Matt Whitaker, feels that we were blessed that this chief Judge selected our case to handle personally. However, in this round of hearings I have now seen His Honor show his temper and his impatience and it is scary how my life will be dictated these realities. I almost did not make it home before Yom Tov.

It was clear that the Prosecutors have put many road blocks in our way to make sure Mr. Whitaker spends as many (expensive) hours as possible working to make sure my Constitutional rights are preserved. They have worked tirelessly (remember, the Prosecutors are paid a salary by the State to pursue criminals…and sometimes people that can be an effective political tool to make their bosses look “not so bad”) to smear me and ruin my personal and professional reputation.

 When the dust settled Wednesday, we won more motions than we lost and we’re in a good position to go to trial in January. This is
purposefully scheduled after the Governor and the Attorney General face their worthy opponents in the election. We feel this is very important to changing the “witch hunt” mood of this case.

Hours equal dollars. One hundred hours of work by Matt Whitaker to prepare my defense will cost $40,000. It will take 100 hours to merely depose the State’s witnesses against me and organize the case. My former partner is scheduled to go to trial on November 1 and we are deposing these witnesses together to split the cost so this money must be raised immediately.

$40,000 I don’t currently have and I need your help to raise this month. With your help and prayers, we can continue to fight for my life. Please mail your tax deductable contributions to Kenesseth Israel Synagogue, 4330 W 28th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55416. Attn: Wendy’s legal defense fund.

It isn’t lost on me that B’nei Yisroel has a court date every year with the heavenly Judge. The great thing is that He is Avinu
Malkanu, Our Father – Our King and we must approach Him directly. Minimal protocol. No procedures that take us away from analyzing and repairing our behavior. AND HE’S OUR FATHER!!! We get to go to our loving father and get things straightened out to move into the New Year with a clean slate.

Not so in Iowa…unless you help me.

May this year bring you everything good, and everything that comes to you should be recognized as good because it all comes from Avinu Malkenu.

Thank you so much for your support. Please pass this to anyone who might be able to assist us. G-d bless.



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  1. Please know that Wendy is a wonderful balas chessed and is mommy to a beautiful “torahdik” family.. She is fighting for her life and needs our help. Please open up your hearts (and wallets) to contribute whatever you can.

  2. In August 2008 my feature film production company was invited to take part in a new and exciting film program in Iowa, which is my parent’s home state. The Iowa Legislature recognized that encouraging local film and television production could provide much needed jobs and a broader tax base. At that time, the Legislators and the Governor had recently enacted a rebate program that offered producers and investors a return of HALF of the money we spent in Iowa — all qualified expenditures — and they were seeking partners to help them build an infrastructure for film and television production. We were selected and encouraged to do as much business as possible to help Iowa get the program off the ground.

    Every step of the process we sought advice from our attorneys and accountants and received approval from the designated State officials to make sure we were meeting the requirements of the program. We completed our project and in December 2008 we were awarded every single dollar that we had been anticipating, and ENCOURAGED to bring more business like ours to Iowa! At the behest of the State officials, we filed applications for future projects and made plans to invest significantly in two different sound stages in Council Bluffs and Newton, where economic development of film production would make a HUGE impact on the community.

    The film incentive program was shut down by the Governor in September 2009 due to government’s mismanagement of the program, and in an election year, the Governor needed an outsider to blame for the issues. He and the Prosecutors have selected me and my project. I have been charged with 15 felony counts for doing EXACTLY what I was told to do, and if convicted, G-d forbid, I face 25 years in prison.

    This same Prosecutor brought the child labor charges against Rabbi Rubashkin, and asked me about my relationship to them. I suspected anti-Semitism might be the reason for these charges, especially when there are 25 other similar projects who did what we had done. Then, the former Judge scheduled my pre-trial hearing on Rosh Hashana because “Rosh Hashana is not a State holiday in Iowa, therefore she has to appear”.

    HaShem has given me an incredible challenge to PROVE my innocence and as Reb Michel Twerski’s bracha concluded, “To be victorious!”

    I work every minute of every day to face these horrible charges the way the Spinka Rebbe instructed me to: B’Simcha. Everything HaShem does for us is good…and should be celebrated. What a task!

    Fighting these charges is exhausting, and on top of it all I need to raise a great deal of money to pay my attorneys to protect me. Our four children deserve a Mom by their side at their Bar and Bas Mitzvahs, chasunahs, the birth of their children and all of life’s challenges. Please help me with your tzedaka, your tefillah, and acts of chesed because Avinu Malkenu is listening to our prayers.

  3. Please keep clear heads & let the facts be judged in a court of law-have to believe that justness will prevail-she needs to quit complaining & work on her case.

  4. I know Wendy Runge from many years ago, I am absolutely certain that she did not do any of this on design, but is certainly a victim of selective prosecution. Fortunately, the ugly head of anti-semitism is not reared too badly in the U.S. when we Jews keep out of the grasp of the government, but once any semblance of wrongdoing can be established, whether right or wrong, I have no doubt that anti-semitism and Jew hatred takes a role. If Wendy was from a large Iowa gentile farm family, this would not have been prosecuted at all. The comments from the prosecutor in this case were meant intimate that all Jews know each other, and all Jews are crooks. Classic anti semitism. But, this is still the United States, medina shel chesed, and I have no doubt that a jury of Wendy’s peers wil find her not guilty. The problem is , this is after the government has dragged her name through the mud and made her pay tens of thousands in attorney’s fees. The fact of the matter is, we as Jews have to keep our nose squeaky clean, because the instant something doesn’t look right, anti semitism will be a factor in the prosecution. Now, with that said, I do not think this is outright Jew hatred, but what this is is selective prosecution of an “outsider”, and I have no doubt that Wendy will be proven innocent. Also,I have no doubt that R. Rubashkin will be found the same, once the real story of the ex parte communication between law enforcement and the judge is fully revealed. Unfortunately, a man has been ruined, a town ruined nad many other lives ruined. The simple fact is that law enforcement since 9/11 has tremendous resources and man power, but really no place to use it , so when they get something to do, they go crazy. Like storming a meat packing plant like it was a guarded fortress. So, it is my opinion that Wendy should not use the anti semitism card, I don’t think it is going to help, and may perhaps antagonize the situation in angering the prosecution who will swear up and down that they have no biases against Jews, just like gentiles get all defensive and angry when you acuse them of anti semitism or other bias.