Rubashkin Denied Basic Rights

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smr.jpgThursday evening, after sitting through an hour-long recitation of the jury’s verdicts in Sioux Falls, Iowa, Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin was detained pending a bail hearing at the insistence of Peter Deegan.

If that were not shocking enough, the ordeal he was subsequently put through is positively offensive, contemptible, and a black mark on the justice system of the United States.

Reb Shalom Mordechai was taken by US Marshalls to South Dakota State penitentiary in Sioux Falls pending transfer to Iowa. He was not allowed to make a phone call to inform his lawyers or his family of his location.

One of the Marshalls, upon learning of this, was nice enough to call the family. They would have otherwise not known where he was.

As part of the entry process into the jail, Reb Shalom Mordechai was asked to disrobe and change into the prison uniform. He complied, but stopped short of removing his tzitzis and yarmulka, explaining that, as a religious Jew, he was required to wear these garments at all times, that it is permitted under federal law, and that he would not take them off.

The staff, after asking their superiors, were told that they would not allow him to wear his religious clothing.

At this point, six burly, intimidating prison guards entered with riot shields. They took a video of this interaction. He was told by the warden at the prison that he would be allowed to wear his yarmulka, but not his tzitzis.

Reb Shalom Mordechai explained that although he had no interest in making trouble, he would not remove his tzitzis for religious reasons and his religion does not allow him to walk around without tzitzis.

The prison staff belligerently insisted that he nevertheless remove them or they would be removed by force and he would be placed in a disciplinary area alone.

Reb Shalom Mordechai explained that he was not fighting with them, but he would not remove them himself. He was not trying to give them a hard time, but he was insisting on his religious rights. He also took the opportunity to inform them of his other religious needs, namely, the tallis and tefillin required for davening Shacharis, before which he would be unable to eat.

They responded by yelling at him for threatening a hunger strike. “Do you know where you are?!” they shouted They then removed his tzitzis. He was given only a thin sheet to cover himself and they brought a wheelchair to move him, since he had said that he would not be allowed to walk without his tzitzis.

The staff took him to the disciplinary area, where a woman asked him questions from a form, and then disregarded his answers, writing in whatever she wanted to, over his objections.

They left him to sleep with no clothes – only the thin sheet and his yarmulka and another sheet to cover himself.

In the morning, they brought him papers to sign, which he would not do without his lawyers. The US Marshalls arrived to transport him to Iowa, and they confirmed that he was allowed to wear tzitzis, which were then returned to him.

Due to his commitment to strict kashrus, food was purchased by his family that met those standards, but the food was not allowed into the Iowa prison because it wasn’t packaged correctly. He did not eat at all from Thursday lunch until Motzoei Shabbos when he was finally given a small bottle of grape juice for Havdalah, a package of rolls, and a pareve matzoh ball soup mix, which he ate cold.

Reb Shalom Mordechai is currently in county jail in Sioux City, which has been a lot more respectful of his rights and religious freedom. The bail hearing has been set for Wednesday, at 9:15 a.m., in Cedar Rapids.

The family asks that everyone daven and say Tehillim, as that is what Reb Shalom Mordechai feels is really important. Please continue to daven for Shalom Mordechai Halevi ben Rivkah.

(Source: ColLive)

32 COMMENTS

  1. #3 No Way! The law says that the prisons must accommodate his religious rights and he should not need to compromise on his religious rights due to their hostility and incompetence. I hope they can sue for this type of outright abuse. This is HORRIBLE!

  2. i think it is a little hypocritical that he will be so shtark now, but violate halacha (dina dmalchusa, chillul hashem, etc) prior to this. Does anyone else agree with me?? You have to keep the torah outside of prison as well.. It is horrible that he is being treated this way, but he should never have gotten into this situation in the first place.

  3. Is someone here suggesting that one has to stop keeping Mitzvos because that is Hilul Hashem? Consider a Judaism 101 class sometimes in future. I just would like to know how long will it get ACLU, or the PETA that cares so much for the animal rights (but not human) or the “great” Hechsher “Tzedek”, to intervene on behalf of his rights. Ah, NEVER! This man is going to suffer a lot, the question is what are we going to learn from it.

  4. mabey the time has come for all the frum voters in new york state to contact chuck schumer our so called great senetor and read him the riot act . that if mr. Rubashkin is continued to be Denied his Basic Rights then mabey next year when the new york state senete seat is up for reelection we will all vote republican . let us all put our votes were it can make a differance to help a fellow jew.

  5. While I’m sure he’s going through a rough time, several lines in this article make me very skeptical. I highly doubt the guards entered the room with riot shields for one guy who was not totally cooperating. I also highly doubt the woman wrote in whatever she wanted over his objections. I’m sure whoever wrote this is trying to help him, but when stuff like this is written it’s doing him disservice. It loses all credibility. Prison is no picnic, especially for a frum Jew, but let’s not lose our minds here and start inventing things which just stretch the imagination.

  6. Well I think that all the Jewish People need to stand up and make a point of this to the public eye. I mean think about it, if Mr Rubashkin was a non white individual the “Great” reverend AL Sharpton would be holding a press conference and going to the media and to that effect so should we.

  7. Im torn between 3 & 4. You both make fair points. It probably would have made more sense to be a bit more pragmatic since good behavior goes along way in white collar crimes. On the other hand, the prison couldve been alot more pragmatic as well. Its not like he ever hurt a fly. My heart goes out for the entire rubashken family. I believe this was anti semitisim. I am still hoping for a happy endiing

  8. Can we write to Reb Sholem Mordechai?
    Does anyone know if it is possible to write letters of support to Reb Sholem Mordechai? Is there an address available where letters can be sent to his family?

  9. # 8, im not saying that one should disobey the torah to prevent chilul hashem (eventhough one can perhaps argue this- like no davening with minyan on airplane, maybe it is even a mitzvah habaa baveira)- but i am not addressin that. Im just saying he shouldve also acted frum before he got himself in this matzav… If he wouldve been machmir before, the goyim would probably view us in a much better attitude than they do now.

  10. In my opinion, this is a sign of things to come. This wonderful country is slowly turning against Jews. Some gentiles, and perverted Jews, enjoy seeing Sholom Rubashkin in chains. For these, they will have a social place in Hell. But besides this point, witness the following; a Jew has trouble posting bail lest he run off to Israel. Blacks aren’t suspected of running off to Africa, Irish aren’t suspected of running off to Ireland, Italians aren’t denied bail lest they run off to Italy; only Jews are suspected of running off to Israel. What is really happening here is that Jews are suspected, without evidence, of dual loyalty. This is very troubling to me.

  11. shtender, PRISON IS NO PICNIC THAT IS INDEED 100% PERCENT CORRECT, GLAD YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT AT THE VERY LEAST, HOWEVER I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DOUBT THAT 6 BURLY GUARDS ENTERED THE ROOM FOR ONE GUY, I ACTULLY FULLY BELIEVE THAT THEY DID ENTER THE ROOM AND DID MUCH MORE UNSPEAKABLE THINGS IN WHICH YWN HAS NOT PUBLISHED IN THIS NEWS POST, I BELIEVE THE GUARDS TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO POUNCE ON A JEWISH CONVICT WHO I HIGLY DOUBT IS GUILTY OF ANY OF THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM, THE ALLIGATIONS AGAINST THESE PRISION GUARDS WHO DID NOT ALLOW RUBASHKIN TO WEAR TZITIS IS ACTULLY RATHER UNCOUNSTITUTIONAL, WHICH MUST NOT BE ALLOWED WHICH IS WHY I HIGHLY DISAGREE WITH YOU WHEN YOU SAY THAT WHEN YWN PUBLISHES ARTICLES LIKE THIS IS ACTULLY DOING RAV SHALOM RUBASHKIN A DISSERVICE WHICH IS WHY WE SHOULD LOOSE OUR MINDS MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE TO HELP SHALOM RUBASHKIN AND SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE PRISION STAFF THAT WE WILL NOT TOLERRATE THIS ABUSE OF HIS RELIGIOS FREEDOM, LET ME ADD THAT RUBASHKIN IS IN A FEDERAL PRISION AND EVEN IN A CITY COUNTY JAIL ANY TYPE OF JAIL THERE IS ZERO TOLLERANCE FOR NOT OBAYING ORDERS EXPECILY IN A FEDERAL PRISION LOCKUP WHICH CONFIRMS MY SUSPICIONS THAT 6 GUARDS IN RIOT GEAR ENTERED HIS ROOM AND FORCEFULLY REMOVED HIS CLOTHING AND LEFT HIM THERE WITH ONLY A SHEET TO COVER HIMSELF

    NOW TO locknload BOY YOU DO NOT GET TIRED OF SAYING ANYTHING NEGGATIVE ABOUT RUBASHKIN THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND WHAT EXCACTLY DO YOU HAVE AGAINST HIM???

    MAY HASHEM HAVE RACHAMIM ON RUBASHKIN ON SENTENCING DAY THAT HE SHOULD GET THE LIGHTEST OF THE LIGHTEST SENTENCE POSIBLE, MAY ALL OF KLAL YISROEL DAVEN ON RAV RUBASHKIN’S BEHALF.

  12. I BELEIVE EVERY WORD IN THIS ARTICLE IS TRUE ABOUT HOW THEY ARE TREATING REB SHOLOM M. R.
    AND I KNOW ABOUT HOW THEY TREAT JEWS BECAUSE I HAVE A RELATIVE THAT WAS ONCE ARRESTED FOR A LINEUP… OR WTVR MEANING THEY PICKED HIM OFF THE ST. DECIDED HE LOOKED LIKE SOMEONE THAT DID A CRIME AND BROUGHT HIM/ARRESTED IN FOR QUESTIONING: HE WAS TREATED HORRIBLY AND THIS IS BEFORE THEY EVEN KNOW THEY HAVE THE RIGHT GUY… DIDNT LET HIM USE THE BATHROOM.. CALL TO LET HIS FAMILY KNOW WHERE HE IS AND THEY TORTURED HIM.
    SO ITS NOT SURPRISING (UNFORTUNATLY) TO HEAR HOW THEY ARE TREATING RUBASHKIN…
    AND ALL YOU THAT ARE WORRIED ABOUT CHILLUL HASHEM
    A. YOU SHOULD NEVER GO THROUHG SUCH A NISOIYON THIS IS CLEARLY ( THE WHOLE CASE) IRRATIONAL … TOTALLY A GEZEIRA FROM ABOVE.
    B. GO GET A DOSAGE OF SELF ESTEEM ITS YOU PEOPLE THAT ARE CONSTANTLY CONFORMING TO THE WAYS OF THE GOYIM CUS YOUR SO WORRIED OF WHAT THEY THINK OF YOU ( AND BTW WHATEVER YOU DO THEY’LL STILL HATE YOU/YIDDEN.. SO STOP WITH YOUR COMMENTS.)

    PLEASE EVERYONE SAY TEHILLIM FOR RAV SHOLOM MORDECHAI HALEVEI BEN RIVKAH

  13. #6 zion Torah: And if a yid can’t be goiver his yetzer horah (according to your opinion, I don’t know the true story), should he therefore be lax in other mitzvos as well?

  14. His religious stringency bears explanation. Is it really true that one could not walk 4 cubits without tzitzit or eat without tallith + tefillin under these circumstances?

    On a practical level, this chap was convicted of 86 felony charges. I’m afraid that he doesn’t have any good will to spare with the authorities folks! This is not a good time to be seeking special consideration. If he were to seek my personal advice, I’d tell him to behave and keep as low a profile as possible for a while, and only then later feel out his religious rights.

  15. If he were a Muslim, convicted of terror or murder, this would never have happened to him. I am sure Nidal Hasan Malik YMS has it a lot better than this. So does Khalid Sheikh Muhammad or whatever his name is YMS.

    And each one of those Muslims has a lot more than 86 white collar fraud counts that really stemmed from one episode of bad judgment. Each one has loads and loads of innocent blood on his hands.

  16. To # 20 (and 21?):

    In trying to decipher your run-on sentence/paragraph/chapter/article, it seems that you believe everything here was done exactly how it says, plus more. Fantastic. I sincerely hope though, that others out there are capable of critical thought and believe the believable while they are skeptical about that which borders on unbelievable. Does this mean these things can’t happen, or didn’t happen? No. I have no way of knowing that for certain. Neither do you. But I don’t automatically believe it since it was against a frum Jew.

  17. Take this from a law student: You are entitled to religious freedoms in prison, however, you do lose some rights upon entering the prison system. Additionally, the supreme court has held that things that are not essential to religious observance are not necessarily guaranteed. Tzizis is not a chiyuv unless you are wearing a four cornered garment. I am sure that they will allow him to wear his tephilin in the morning. The prison system provides 100% halachically kosher food, again if he is more machmir that is his issue. It is a personal issue not a religious issue. The government has fulfilled their obligations in allowing for his religious freedoms.

    Additionally, if a jury of 12 was able to convict him of 90/94 fraud charges, he probably was guilty. Legally he is guilty. He should spend the requisite amount of time in the prison system and then rejoin society as a law abiding citizen. Just because you are a Chasidish Jew doesn’t mean that you can violate American Law.

    For those that posted about the infringement of his rights blasting what the Marshals did, why don’t you learn the law first and then blast the US Marshals.

  18. Additionally, I have spent time volunteering with Jews in Federal custody and they haven’t said to me that they are persecuted in prison more than anyone else who doesn’t follow the rules. The way it works in the prisons is you work the system and then they will leave you alone. You make trouble, they will put you in isolation. Simple enough. Usually they have reason to put you in isolation. The correction officers and the Marshals are good people and don’t enjoy harassing and attacking inmates and people in their custody.

  19. Not say good or bad but why doesn’t the america news media call malik a terroist???
    Why did obama allow Khalid sheikh mahammud a civilian trial rather than military. It is because the leftist in power.bow to the new haman

  20. I’m amazed at the cold-bloodedness of some of the comments here.

    This is obviously a case of vindictive prosecution, zero tolerance.

    Normal people don’t get treated this way. Are you people blind, deaf and dumb?

    This is an American version of the Beilis case, a vindictive State trial against a Jew.

    May HaShem have mercy on this fine man, and fre him of his shackles soon, just as the Baal HaTanya was freed from the Russian prison, after suffering from false charges.

  21. Ramses, I’m a bit surprised to see you write that tzitzit are not “essential” for an observant Jew. While it’s true that the mitzvah applies only to 4-cornered garments, ALL religious Jewish males wear a 4 cornered garment so that they can fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit. What about making the bracha?

    According to the article, he was eventually allowed to wear tzitzit, so the Sioux Falls marshalls owe Rabbi Rubashkin a big apology!

  22. eric1977 –I did not mean to say that he should not be allowed to wear them, rather that as it is not an active chiyuv, on his first day in custody it shouldn’t have been something that he should make a fuss about. Let him not wear them at intake, when he gets to the all he has to do is talk with the Chaplain and make arrangements for him to be allowed to wear them. It would have been a much bigger problem had they given him traif to eat or told him that he had to do something that was per se assur.
    I am just pointing out that his actions and the commenters here forget about the fact that prison is not the real world. There are different rules and he needs to learn them before he starts making a fuss.

    Deepthinker–It truly amazes me how you think this is comparable to the Beilis trial or the the Lubavitcher Rebbe z”l being imprisoned. We have a just government and court system in America. You also assume that the guards were 100% at fault and that Mr. Rubashkin (I cannot call someone who is over on Dina D’Malchusa Dina a reb) was not at fault at all. They both probably over stepped their position and the guards were probably also following protocol for an inmate that doesn’t follow directions.

  23. All I could say is that I am embarrassed for the Jewish nation. Not because of what Shalom Mordechai did but because of how all of you are playing G-D and judging the situation. Only GD knows if Shalom Rubashkin is truly guilty or not. Let us not forget that Shalom Rubashkin didn’t live a luxurious life, whatever money he had he gave to charity and lives a humble life. The fact of the matter is, is that a fellow Jew is going through a hard time, and let us not forget that anti semitism did play a role. It is not our job to sit here and judge a fellow Jew, you think you sound all smart now, but when it’s GD’s turn to judge I bet you’ll all be thinking twice. May GD have mercy on Shalom and his family and may he be returned to them asap.

  24. Furny – you are also judging the situation and the man in question. How do you know that your conclusion is correct? We see on the pages here that HaRav Kanievsky told one avreich that he deserves to be punished for his crime.