By COLlive reporter
A Lubavitcher Chasid from Iowa who was barred from leaving the state due to a 142-count federal indictment was granted special permission to travel to New York for Gimmel Tammuz.
Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, former manager of the Agriprocessors meat plant in Postville, is currently driving into Queens to join the tens of thousands expected to mark the 15th yahrtzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
“We didn’t think it would happen,” a family member told COLlive. “He asked his lawyers a while ago that he wanted to visit the Rebbe. This time he said that this is very important for him.”
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade accepted the unusual request despite a court order that Rubsahkin remain in Allamakee County pending his trial on immigration, fraud and money laundering charges.
Prosecutors did not object to the trip as long as Rubashkin stays under GPS monitoring, according to federal court records.
The U.S. attorney’s office had opposed Rubashkin’s request several months ago to be released from jail, amid concerns that the 49-year-old might try to flee to Israel, The Des Moines Register reported.
Rubashkin’s attorney, Guy Cook, was quoted as saying the yahrtzeit pilgrimage is of “exceptional religious significance for those of the Lubavitcher faith.”
Cook added that the Chasidic movement believes that part of his soul remains above his body at the grave site.
“This is a miracle,” the family member said. “We didn’t think it would happen. Bochurim who feel close to Sholom Mordechai fasted on Sunday. Now, he is very excited.”
Rubashkin is expected to arrive at the grave site around 7 a.m. on Thursday, at which time he will call his probation officer.
He will spend most of the day in New York, and then depart for Postville around 7 p.m. on Thursday.