Video, Photos: 7,000 Attend Historic Lakewood Asifa for Reb Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin


rubashkin-asifa-in-lakewood[Video and photos below.] One of the largest asifos of its kind in the history of Lakewood, NJ, took place last night with some 7,000 men of all ages gathering at Lake Terrace Hall for an atzeres tefillah vehisorerus on behalf of Reb Sholom Mordechai ben Rivkah Rubashkin. The crowd of thousands heading to the hall caused traffic backups for miles, the likes of which the town had never seen before.

The event was the second asifa held in Lakewood for Reb Sholom Mordechai, following an event held a few months ago at Bais Faiga Hall.

The 27-year sentence of Reb Sholom Mordechai continues to confound legal scholars – including six former U.S. attorneys general – who have said a lengthy prison sentence for the 51-year-old first-time, non-violent offender is a travesty of justice.

Upon arriving at the hall, attendees were urged to donate to the Pidyon Shvuyim Fund to assist in the legal expenses of Reb Sholom Mordechai’s defense. Screens were set up throughout the main ballroom, as well as in the adjacent chupah and kabbolas ponim rooms. Screens and chairs were set up outside the hall as well for the overflow crowd.

The event began with a large minyan for Maariv, followed by heartfelt Tehillim led by Rav Aharon Schustal.

The asifa was attended by the four roshei yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah, as well as dozens of Lakewood rabbonim who filled the large dais that stretched along the width of the hall.

The program was opened by Rabbi Menashe Frankel and divrei bracha were delivered by Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah.

With warm words of introduction, Rabbi Frankel introduced Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz, publisher of Yated Ne’eman. Rabbi Frankel told the audience that it was Rabbi Lipschutz, who, before most people even knew about the Rubashkin case, took on this cause and persevered despite questioning and criticism from many people. Ultimately, said Rabbi Frankel, people finally saw the injustice that Rabbi Lipschutz had identified two years ago.

“It has been said that this campaign for Sholom Mordechai is no longer about one man,” said Rabbi Lipschutz in his opening remarks. “This is no longer about a cause. This has become a movement. What is this movement all about? It is a movement fostering achdus, a movement fostering nesius ol im chaveireinu, a movement of real achdus… a movement of dikduk b’mitzvos, a movement of emunah and bitachon…”

“Every time thousands of people gather to hear stirring words of inspiration, and express their pain over the sentencing of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, and pour their hearts out in prayer that Sholom Mordechai ben Rivka be delivered from his awful plight, it is a proclamation that the campaign is gaining steam,” said Rabbi Lipschutz.

Rabbi Lipschuitz then told a heartwarming story which demonstrates the special nature of the Rubashkin family.

“When Rav Dov Kreiswerth and Rabbi Simcha Lefkowitz and Rabbi Shmuel Lieberman started Keren Hachesed way back when here in Lakewood to provide food for yungeleit for Yom Tov,” he said,they went into Mr. Aaron Rubashkin’s store in Boro Park and asked him if he could donate something. Mr. Rubashkin turned to them and said, ‘Do you see these showcases? Take whatever you see. Take everything in the store.’ They said, ‘But you need it for your customers! What will you sell?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry about me and my customers. It’s for Torah, it’s for Bnei Torah, tzoo kenen machen Yom Tov. Take everything. Es iz far Torah. Altz far Torah.’

“And that is the way Sholom Mordechai was brought up,” said Rabbi Lipschutz. “Gurnit far zich, altz far Torah.”

“From the outside, he looked like a simple, poshuteh Yid,” said Rabbi Lipschutz, describing Reb Sholom Mordechai, “but on the inside he is a ball of fire.”

Following Rabbi Lipschutz’s remarks, Rav Shlomo Leizer Meisels introduced the keynote speaker, Rav Ephraim Wachsman, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Me’or Yitzchok in Monsey. Rav Wachsman, with his remarkable range of yedios and his clear and powerful oratory, delivered a resounding message of achdus and the importance of engaging in pidyon shvuyim. He quoted both Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky who stated that the Rubashkin case is one of bona fide pidyon shvuyim in which Yidden should participate.

Rav Wachsman shared inspiring stories about Reb Aaron Rubashkin, patriarch of the respected Rubashkin family, and his son, Reb Sholom Mordechai. These vignettes demonstrated the unwavering bitachon and yiras Shomayim of the Rubashkins.

A pin drop could be heard as Rav Wachsman weaved maamorei Chazal with words of contemporary gedolim in exhorting the massive crowd to go above and beyond in helping their brother in need. At the same time, Rav Wachsman reminded the crowd that Klal Yisroel is in golus and that we must always remember the state that we are in and the very real possibility of being persecuted and prosecuted at any time.

Following Rav Wachsman’s drasha, Rabbi Menashe Frankel introduced the guest speaker, Mr. Bob Barr, calling him “a true mentch.” Mr. Barr received a standing ovation and a thundering round of applause.

Mr. Barr, a high profile, forceful advocate demanding justice for Reb Sholom Mordechai, has published articles and held press conferences highlighting the disparities evident in the prosecution of Reb Sholom Mordechai and the subsequent sentencing. Mr. Barr delivered an articulate and passionate speech, with an in-depth message pertaining to the travesty of justice and the appeal process that Reb Sholom Mordechai is pursuing.

Mr. Barr, now a member of the Rubashkin legal team, explained what justice is supposed to be and what is expected of those who are in positions of authority in this country. Mr. Barr’s speech was punctuated by numerous rounds of applause from the thousands of audience members who clearly appreciated his eloquence and his timely words.

While explaining that the road toward Reb Sholom Mordechai’s freedom will be a long, expensive and arduous one, Mr. Barr stated that he is optimistic, in part due to Reb Sholom Mordechai’s own optimism, ever-present smile and steadfast faith.

Following Mr. Barr’s presentation, Rabbi Meisels expressed special thanks to the publishers and staff of Zman magazine, who went out of their way to generate a great deal of publicity for this cause of pidyon shvuyim. “Zman went to Iowa to visit and interview all of the people who were involved,” said Rabbi Meisels, “including Reb Sholom Mordechai in jail. They also interviewed the lawyers and other important players in Iowa, New York and Washington, DC, and played a significant role in waking up many thousands of Yidden around the world. Zman was personally involved in creating the Klal Yisroel Fund that raised over a million dollars for the defense of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.”

In their upcoming issue, Zman will have an exclusive article about Mr. Nathan Lewin, who is leading the Rubashkin appeal process.

The evening concluded with warm words from Reb Getzel Rubashkin, son of Reb Sholom Mordechai, who shared personal feelings about the travails that his mother, Leah Rubashkin, and the entire family have experienced during this difficult period. With words of bitachon and chizuk, Reb Getzel thanked all those in attendance and the thousands who have attended similar asifos and have opened their hearts to this cause.

As the crowd made its way to the packed parking lots around Lake Terrace Hall, a feeling of unity and purpose was palpable. It was a truly historic event, one that demonstrated extraordinary achdus amongst Klal Yisroel, showing that kol Yisroel areivim zeh b’zeh isn’t just a mantra, but a reality.

Click below for videos of the event:

Tehillim, Rabbi Menashe Frankel and Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler:

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Rav Pinchos Lipschutz:

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Rav Ephraim Wachsman:

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See below for photos of the event:

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Significant funds must still be raised for the legal defense costs and the upcoming appeal. Anyone who can help out and lend support should take a moment to send a donation to the Pidyon Shvuyim Fund. The help of Yidden across the globe is severely needed.

You can easily donate by clicking on the following link:


Alternatively, you can mail contributions to:

Pidyon Shvuyim Fund

53 Olympia Lane

Monsey NY 10952

{ Newscenter}

{This report courtesy of Yated Ne’eman}


  1. One of the main points Mr. Bob Borr made last night was to educate ppl through posting positive comments online on this site and specificly on mainstream media websites that have news about rubashkin. we must raise awareness so the ppl in power will feel the heat.

  2. One of the main points Mr. Bob Borr made last night was to educate ppl through posting positive comments online on this site and specificly on mainstream media websites that have news about rubashkin. we must raise awareness so the ppl in power will feel the heat. I am sure they see the comments on this site too…

  3. It was a beautiful Kiddush Hashem. May that mitzvah alone be there for Rabbi rubashkin.
    I wonder where all the polotician and personel ate and met before the event.