For the past year, Jews around the world have been riveted by the Rubashkin case. It’s a case that has captured the attention of the national media, involving a close-knit family, a classic American rags-to-riches story, and a cultural clash in an isolated town. It’s also a case that will carry deep significance for the future of the kosher meat industry, prompting the Jewish world to watch it very closely. And though the government has leveled very serious charges for which Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin faces very long imprisonment, he has steadfastly maintained his innocence. In this interview with Mishpacha’s Yisroel Besser, he goes public for the first time.
Postville, the Jewish community he established and tried to inspire, is a shining example of true ahavas Yisrael and harmonious coexistence. I listen as Reb Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and his wife backtrack to its history.
After a year in kollel, the young Rubashkin couple settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where they were shluchim. They were remarkably successful there, bringing Yidden closer to Torah and mitzvos. As their family grew, an opportunity presented itself.
The senior Aaron Rubashkin had just purchased the meat plant in Postville, and he wanted his reluctant son — who dreamed of teaching — to learn the business. The young family settled in St. Paul, Minnesota, a three-hour drive, and Sholom would commute to Postville.
As Reb Sholom relates this part of their story, his wife, Leah, interjects.
“I wanted to keep on doing shlichus, and Sholom assured me that this new venture would also be a shlichus of sorts, to provide Yidden everywhere with kosher meat.”
“Don’t laugh,” says Reb Sholom. “Sure, we made a parnassah — it was a business — but we were always looking out for opportunities. We sent meat to every single Jewish community that asked, however small, in order to ensure that it would be available to them. Quite often, it was inconvenient and barely profitable, but it was a calling.”
Their contribution to the market has been corroborated by kosher meat consumers who have felt the crunch of the rise in meat prices over the past few months.
“My father’s goal wasn’t just to make kosher meat available: it was to make it affordable!”
Last, “As a shaliach in small-town America, I was first made aware that kosher meat that really meets all the standards of kashrus is not all that obtainable. There are many unscrupulous people out there, and we had a goal of providing every Yid, wherever he may be, with kosher meat.”
Read the full interview (on PDF) – HERE
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