A year ago, 2 Elul 5777, the best landlord in the world (my landlord) and his wife and family lost their 16 year-old yeshiva bachur son in the most cruel way. It was the first day of school and as he ran across the street to catch his bus home, he was run down by an Arab driver and died a few hours later. They had his one-year askarah last week. They live above me, but I didn't see him that often. Even so, the only way my pain at his loss could have been any greater was if he'd been my own flesh and blood. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. It doesn't help that my baby brother, at 18, died the same way.
Well, you may wonder why I'm telling you all this. It has nothing really to do with the subject of this blog post, but I needed you to have some idea of the feelings behind what I am about to write. You probably also have some pain of loss like this where you can be just fine until suddenly you think of it and it sends a shock through your heart to your stomach and the only way you can describe it is heartbreak. The pain of your brother's loss. It's inescapable.
That's exactly how I feel every time I come across an article like this one...
Arriving in Eretz Yisrael last week, Sholom Rubashkin is making his first trip outside of the United States since the travel ban prohibiting him from leaving the country was lifted.
...Eichler felt Rubashkin was unjustly sentenced, mentioning his plight to US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Israel.Please don't get me wrong. I do not begrudge Sholom Rubashkin his freedom. Not at all! What hurts is the seeming lack of feeling and concern for a fellow Jew who is even worse off than Rubashkin. How could there be such unmitigated joy at his release and now his ability to come to Israel while a fellow Jew - Jonathan Pollard - longs to the depths of his soul for that same opportunity and continues to be denied?
How can this be among brothers? Perhaps Sholom Rubashkin has brought up the issue of Jonathan Pollard's sentence and the press has ignored his remarks. But, until today, in all the coverage of Rubashkin's release, I've never once seen any remarks by him on behalf of his brother who remains a virtual prisoner and who can't even properly celebrate Shabbat or chagim because of the restrictions placed upon him for the last 2 1/2 years since he was paroled after serving 30 years.
Justice continues to be denied to Jonathan Pollard and no Jew, especially not one who has suffered in a similar way, can ignore any opportunity to speak out on his behalf. So many people have taken credit for having a hand in Sholom Rubashkin's release from prison and now his release from parole restrictions. Their job is not done until they have had a hand in freeing every Jew denied the justice of their cause.
Sholom Rubashkin has ten children. He lived a whole life before serving 8 years in prison, while Jonathan Pollard spent 30 years trapped in hell with no chance to have a family.
Jonathan Pollard sacrificed his life and his freedom for Am Yisrael. Now, Am Yisrael must never rest, must never allow themselves to feel the job is complete while he is left behind.
If you have somehow missed the details of his case, please educate yourself about it here...