May 28, 2010

Letters

Published May 19, 2010, issue of May 28, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Will Rubashkin’s Punishment Fit the Crime?

Your May 14 article “Campaign for Rubashkin Paints Another View of Kosher Meat Scandal” paints an incomplete picture of the group of people who are protesting federal prosecutors’ efforts to have Sholom Rubashkin sentenced, initially, to a life sentence and now to a 25-year sentence.

It is not only Haredim who think that the proposed sentence is too harsh. Those objecting include former attorneys general, former U.S. attorneys, dozens of law professors and hundreds of lawyers. Those who are concerned about justice in the United States — not justice for Jews, but for all people — should look closely at the facts of the proposed sentence itself.

Your article mentioned only in passing the letter signed by former attorneys general Janet Reno, William Barr, Richard Thornburgh, Edwin Meese, Ramsey Clark and Nicholas Katzenbach. That letter states: “We cannot fathom how truly sound and sensible sentencing rules could call for a life sentence — or anything close to it — for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old, first-time, nonviolent offender.”

Good people naturally tend not to care when criminals are over-punished, and Sholom Rubashkin is certainly a criminal worthy of punishment. But the fairness of a justice system is measured in part by how the guilty are treated. The sentence that prosecutors are proposing is simply much too harsh.

Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
Professor of Law
Emory University School of Law
Atlanta, Ga.


Sholom Rubashkin may have been convicted for bank fraud, but his real crime, beyond the reach of secular prosecutors, was the debasement of kashrut.

Rubashkin pioneered a brilliant business model: Indifference to animal suffering, abusive labor practices and employment of illegal immigrants too afraid of deportation to complain — all this enabled him to produce product at rock-bottom cost. He then sold the cheap product into the premium kosher market.

However, the business model depended on the willingness of the kashrut certification establishment to ignore all ethical concerns, and declare the product kosher merely if the incision was ritually correct.

The result was a fraud on gullible kosher consumers like me who used to believe that keeping kosher was an ethical practice. Rubashkin, together with his enabling certifiers, sucked all of the morality out of kashrut.

The Orthodox community, which seems to be rallying to Rubashkin’s defense, should instead be condemning him for chilul Hashem — for bringing one of the most important Jewish religious practices into disrepute.

David E. Cher
Englewood, Colo.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.