Shmuley Boteach: It's A Disgrace Why Rubashkin Singled Out By Modern Orthodox and Conservative Movements And Not Madoff 'Der Ganef'Published on: December 22nd, 2008 at 03:40 PMNews Source: Jpost
In this spirit, consider the case of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, the former chief executive of Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, who has been denied bail and is being detained pending trial in the Dubuque County jail where his wife can visit him once a week for 25 minutes and communicate only through video conferencing. She is charged with looking after their 10 children on her own, including their 15-year-old autistic son Moishe.
WHAT COULD this rabbi have done that would cause the justice system to be so harsh? To be sure the charges against him are serious, including child labor violations and knowingly employing hundreds of illegal immigrants. But Bernie Madoff allegedly ripped off $50 billion and took scores of Jewish charities to the cleaners, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Yet he's sitting under house arrest at his $10 million East Side apartment! Rubashkin and his wife Leah long ago surrendered their passports to federal authorities, not to mention the fact that he was previously fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet. So why did the judge deny a multimillion dollar bail package offered for his release, with 32 people offering mortgages on their homes to back the bond?
In his November 20 decision, federal magistrate Jon Stuart Scoles offered the astonishing and disquieting rationale that Rubashkin is a flight risk because "under Israel's Law of Return, any Jew and members of his family who have expressed their desire to settle in Israel will be granted citizenship." Huh? A federal judge designates 5.5 million American Jews as potential flight risks due to Israel's Law of Return, and the Jewish community responds with silence?
It is possible that there are uncharitable motives behind the absence of any Jewish outrage to a ruling with potentially devastating consequences to our community's basic rights. Until he imploded, Bernie Madoff was in a business Jews consider sophisticated and noble, finance. He was a secular Jew who made good on Wall Street and even brought the community pride by becoming chairman of Nasdaq. Rubashkin, by contrast, was essentially a glorified shochet and butcher, the country's largest producer of kosher meat. Rubashkin's beard and black hat were enough to unnerve many Jews. But that his missteps at Agriprocessors highlighted what others consider the unsavory sight of Jewish ritual slaughter all but guaranteed Rubashkin's total abandonment at the hands of American Jewry.
THIS EXPLAINS why, in sharp contrast to what is developing in the kosher meat industry, there has been no move afoot to establish something akin to "Hechsher Tzedek," a rabbinic certificate of ethical excellence, for financial institutions. After all, how is it that when so many of the people going to jail on Wall Street turn out to be Jewish, the Modern Orthodox and Conservative movements have not immediately launched a campaign, as they are doing with kosher meat, to evaluate firms that invest Jewish money to ensure that they conform to the highest ethical norms in terms of treatment of employees and overcompensation of dead-beat executives?
Why is it that only kosher meat is being singled out as being in need of ethical reform? I suggest it is because the Jewish community has an obvious sense of discomfort with ritual observances that the non-Jewish world finds confusing or distasteful rather than the Jewish money machine which, when it works soundly, everyone rather enjoys.
To be sure, Judaism commands the highest ethical treatment of animals, including the commandment to feed one's livestock and pets before oneself. Indeed, the whole purpose of shechita is the severing of an animals' carotid arteries leading to death by asphyxiation so that an animal dies without suffering. I for one applaud many of PETA's goals of ensuring humane treatment of animals, even as I decry some of its more radical means, like their comparison of the slaughter of animals to the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust.
BUT LET'S be honest, the hatred that Jewry feels for Rubashkin cannot be completely divorced from his profession as a giant kosher butcher no more than secular Israelis natural scorn for the bearded settlers can be completely divorced from their view of them as religious fanatics who are obstacles to peace. Consider the fact that Israelis have expressed no strong outrage against former Knesset speaker Avrum Burg who recently published a book, highlighted in The New York Times recently, suggesting that "Israeli Arabs are like German Jews during the Second Reich and that the entire society felt eerily like Germany just before the rise of Hitler." Burg adds that "the Israeli government would probably soon pass the equivalent of the Nuremberg laws, with provisions like a prohibition on marriage between Jews and Arabs."
Now who is more of a fanatic? The settlers, or Burg who equates Israel with Hitler but is largely given a pass because of his essentially secular bearing (diminutive yarmulke notwithstanding).
WHEN I was a teenager at Chabad yeshiva in Los Angeles, my friend Dovid Goldman's sister Leah married a young rabbinical student from a Lubavitch family distinguished for its pedigree and vast philanthropy, including a decades-old soup kitchen in Brooklyn that fed thousands. His name was Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and there was great chatter in our yeshiva because his wife Leah was a ba'al teshuva (returnee to Judaism). I had never met him but respected him for rejecting some of the sillier ideas inherent in Orthodox courtship, including the fact that those from religious backgrounds do not marry those who are new to Jewish observance.
Those who read my columns know that I can be a sharp critic of this kind of Orthodox excess. Still, I have always been extremely proud of my faith, just as I have encouraged my Christian and Islamic brothers and sisters to be proud of theirs. If Rubashkin is guilty, he will pay a terrible price. But our rejection of him as some kind of fiend before he even goes to trial says more about us than it does about him.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Fwd: Shmuley Boteach: It's A Disgrace Why Rubashkin Singled Out By Modern Orthodox and Conservative Movements And Not Madoff 'Der Ganef']
Received this from Jack. Worth reading, American Jews! AND TIME TO LEAVE!!!!
It also says that Jews in America are scared to death to be noticed as Jews, especially by the authoritiesand the establishment, the power centers. They are terrified that they might incur the disapproval of thenon-Jewish Powers That Be. For all their protestations of their being as American as anyone else, despite the power and influence that Jews wield, they know it isn't true. It could all end in a moment. Their reaction to anything that shows Jews in a bad light, that reflects ill on Jews is to hide in a hole and hope it goes away and, if it insists on being "too Jewish" (meaning, to visibly Jewish, too "different." too proudly Jewish) to join, shoulder to shoulder with the bigots to put it down and crush it. Rubashkin has done the unforgiveable. He has embarrassed the assimilated Jews in front of the goyim.
It will not help them. I have pointed out in the past that the Jews are being marginalized in the American system even as you read these words. With Jonathan Pollard, Caspar Weinberger and James Baker made sure Jews were definitively out of intelligence as anything resembling senior level. Remember the super mole, "Mega"? That was in 1996-1997. I told you I met the real Mega here in Israel. He was trying to find a right wing Israeli politico to buy some secret papers concerning the Oslo process, including secret agreements signed by Shimon Peres, the "black dossier" on Netanyahu, etc. It was a scam from his point of view. He would get to keep the money paid for the secrets. From the State Department's point of view, it was a sting. Jews had looked too prominent and too powerful at the Democratic Party National Convention in 1996 and they were looking for a new Pollard to beat them down with. If they could not find one, they were not above creating one. I won't tell you how we found that out.
Remember Loral Space and Communications, the last Jewish-controlled corporation to be a strategic level defense contractor? The CEO, Bernard Schwartz, was accused of passing secret technology to China. Schwartz was a compulsive record keeper, however, and was able to prove that everything he did was on instructions from President Bill Clinton. That was enough to save him from criminal conviction but it did not save Loral. It would get no more defense contracts until it sold out to Lockheed. That was the end of Jews in defense contracting above marginal level. I also told you to expect the next step to be elimination of Jews from Wall Street. I was met with embarrassed silence, as if tip-toeing away from a raving lunatic. Does it look plausible yet?
If I have your attention, look up the research being done at Johns Hopkins Medical School on what they have determined to be a high rate of bi-polar syndrom among Ashkenazi Jews. There are no objective scientific criteria. It is all based on subjective observations of shrinks. On that basis, they posit a proneness to eratic and criminal behavior under stress. Can such people be trusted with billions of dollars of other people's money? The only powerful political people to take a serious view of this are the Kennedys, including Senator Ted and Ahnold, the Governator. John F. Kennedy's only living descendants are from his daughter Carline, whose husband is an Ashkenazi Jew. All of her descendants, meaning all of JFK's descendants after Caroline, will have those Ashkenazi genes. I don't suppose it is an accident that Caroline has become quite an authority in the law of privacy.
A reporter who once interviewed the Lubavitcher Rebbe asked him if he believed the Holocaust could happen in America. His answer was, "Morgen in de Frih." ("Tomorrow morning.") At some level, in their bones, Jews in America know that that is true. They will not rise to the defense of Rabbi Rubashkin or of Jonathan Pollard or of anyone else who is "too Jewish" for fear of unleashing the beast.
Posted by DS at 9:45 PM