The community that is sympathetic to Rubashkin’s woes dispute that he never profited from the financial imbroglio he got himself into. They readily accede that their Rabbi has made mistakes but that the punishment was overkill. Even though the prosecution first pushed for a twenty-five year term then later cropped it to 25 years, the federal judge seeing to the case one-upped them and added two more years. The same judge – Linda Reade – is known for favoring convicts with more than they bargained for as in the case of Jack Straw, an ex-insurance agent sentenced to 15 years in prison instead of just 10. It seemed as if Rubashkin never stood a chance.
New sentencing guidelines were not in The Rabbi’s favor. The new guidelines took heavy consideration of the amount of momentary loss as well as the number of people involved in the perpetrated fraud. The Jewish community feels that Sholom Rubashkin is being used to set an example not necessarily for his Semitic background but of the power of the courts to persecute and punish whoever they choose with impunity. Then again, animal rights groups were also quick to jump in on the bandwagon and harped on the cruel way those animals were treated just so that meat could be served kosher. This was further aggravated by stories that underage children were used to work in the slaughterhouse. That alone should have convicted him.
Perhaps the issue about Rubashkin wouldn’t have hit such a strong anti-Semitic chord if reports about his case did not constantly harp on his being Jewish connections. What adds insult to injury is that the business he was concerned with provided meat for a particular faith group with stringent guidelines about the preparation of their food animals namely the Jews. It does seem that it affects a double whammy for the Jewish community. Perhaps it really is hard to separate both since he is also a respected member of that community. Proof of this is the hundreds of prayer requests across Sholom supporting sites all requesting for his freedom and that he be able to get justice for the ‘unfair treatment’ of a man who was only trying to help.
Indeed, even as neighbors and other people in the area where his slaughterhouse is located testify to the relief that they feel about the company’s closure, sympathetic rabbis flocked to offer prayers for their beleaguered brother even going to the extent of offering special prayers for him that are only usually done on extreme circumstances. They even bemoaned the fact that Rubashkin was not able to practice his faith as he should if he was given the privilege. Alas for Sholom Rubashkin, this seems to be the farthest thing on the law’s mind..