Saving Rubashkin goes local

Rally at the White Shul


The 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. Rubashkin, the former vice president of the Iowa-based Agriprocessor, was sentenced to 27 years in prison in June for 86 charges of bank fraud.

“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 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.

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