10 May 2010

Rubashkin / Pollard Redux?

As I read the reports about Sholom Rubashkin's trial, I can't help but think that this is Pollard all over again. Yes, he broke laws, but not maliciously. I have to say though that at least Jonathan Pollard was trying to save the entire Jewish people, not just a business venture. But again, it looks like the Jew will get a highly disproportionate sentence as a lesson to others.

I also can't help but compare the outcry from the frum community in support of Rubashkin as opposed to the resounding silence as Pollard met his fate. Perhaps this is happening in order that the Jewish people will draw this conclusion: "You know, this is exactly what happened to Jonathan Pollard, but we did nothing to help him." It's not too late to make amends for that lapse in judgment. You can't throw one Jew under the bus and then expect Divine help to save another. These men are two sides of the same coin. We are all parts of one giant organism. What affects one, affects all. We have to learn this if we never learn anything else. As Jews, our fates and our destinies are intertwined. Perhaps, if there had been such an outcry from the Jewish community in response to the Pollard life sentence, a Rubashkin life sentence could never have been considered. Instead, the injustice to Jonathan Pollard set a precedent for all Jews.

Another lesson that we can take from this incident must not be overlooked and that is the reminder, once again, that America is not the Jew's home. Rather, it is the home of the Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson...

Sheriff: We Had A Bit Of An Issue With Rubashkin (Kashrus, Tefillin, Tzitzis)

If you are a supporter of Sholom Rubashkin, ask yourself, "What did I ever do for Jonathan Pollard???"


(In answer to a question about how Jonathan Pollard has managed his Torah observance in prison, I found these links at the Justice for Jonathan Pollard website.)

Jonathan Pollard; Probing the Person

"I'm glad that you did not bring tefillin with you, but not for the reason that you probably assume. You might be thinking that I would interpret bringing tefillin into Marion as a means of coercing me to put them on. I very much want to put them on. But recently, when I put on tefillin in my cell the guards pried them loose from me and opened up one of the Batim to the Shel Yad. This was done despite the fact that metal detectors don't permit anything to enter which could be used as a weapon. So, obviously, the guards knew in advance that they were not going to find anything that would place either them or me in danger. They just don't appreciate any demonstrative expression of Judaism. Had we all put on tefillin," Pollard continued, "the guards would have conducted themselves in a civil manner while you were here, but immediately after your leaving I would have been subjected to taunting and perhaps a few physical blows. What I do now from time to time, is draw a curtain in my shower to hide myself for a few moments and then put on my "Shel Rosh."

My Visit with Jonathan Pollard 09185-016

Pollard, who is an observant Jew in a federal lock-up, cannot practice his religion as do those who are free, or even in a limited way as is possible in state prisons. He is strictly kosher. For food he is offered what is known as "common fare" which is often inedible and, often, not too kosher. He relies on friends who send money to his canteen account. This permits him to purchase tuna, sardines and other kosher foods at highly inflated prices. Jonathan, who wears a yarmulkah in prison, cannot daven with a minyan, wear a talis and tefillin or have access to Hebrew texts.

Jonathan has a close personal relationship with Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel. Rabbi Eliyahu has told Jonathan that in his case the possuk (verse) in Tehillim (Psalms) of "Gam ki elech begay tzalmaves HaShem lo eerah ra ki ata imadi" (English: "Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil for Thou are with me") must be read with a period before the word "ra" (evil). Thus the verse reads: " What is Evil is that You are with me" - or in other words that the Shechina (the Presence of G-d Himself) is suffering with Pollard in jail. Rav Eliyahu explained that it is bad enough that the Jewish community has been largely indifferent to the suffering of Jonathan Pollard, but it is "unspeakably evil" that we do not have pity on the Shechina which is Jonathan's prison mate.