You only know that you’ve made it as a Jewish editor when someone compares you to Adolph Hitler.
The cover story of last week’s issue of The Jewish Star, “Shining a light on Iowa,” about a rally held on behalf of Sholom Rubashkin, the imprisoned former executive vice president of Agriprocessors, certainly struck a nerve. We received a number of letters; some were effusive, others were not. Some said that the article portrayed the event fairly and provided a much-needed perspective, others criticized the Star for a number of reasons. A single mother of five wrote to us to explain that the Rubashkin family had always been there for her, no matter what they needed. Others, like Yaacov Gross raised valid concerns in our letters page about the priorities we as a community should have. Others, as stated at the outset, compared us to Hitler. One memorable phone call told us that we should enjoy our 120 years in this world, since the next world would not be so pleasant for us.
We thought we would take this opportunity to address some of the complaints raised about the article.
One paragraph that received special mention was the one that dealt with the assorted crimes of which the extended Rubashkin clan was found guilty of committing.
We did not intend to imply that because his family was found guilty of committing crimes, that he is also guilty. However, we felt that there was a need to convey the information and that it was relevant to the topic at hand. Had the rally been about any other criminal, Jewish or non-Jewish, we would have listed the same information. The relevance of Rubashkin’s son-in-law, Yaakov Weiss, having served time for child molestation was especially important, given that his wife, Roza, robocalled the Five Towns to encourage people to attend a rally that criticized the justice system, the same system that enabled her husband, who committed an unpardonable crime, to only serve a 60-day sentence.