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The Fall of the House of Rubashkin

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That’s the title of a lengthy piece out today in the Village Voice by Elizabeth Dwoskin. The piece makes two important contributions to the existing literature on the family Rubashkin.

First, it details the extraordinary support the family still has within the ranks of Chabad-Lubavitch, where many view them as innocent victims of overly zealous, if not outright anti-Semitic, prosecutors and a self-hating Jewish media.

Second, it reports on the much-discussed case of Miriam Shear, a former kosher supermarket operator in Detroit who has charged the Rubashkins with destroying her business and reducing her family to destitution. Shear’s story has rustled beneath the surface of the Agriprocessors story, but until now has not been reported in such detail.

One other item of Agriprocessors news: Shmarya Rosenberg over at FailedMessiah has discovered proof in court documents that Agriprocessors has more than $11 million of frozen meat in its freezers in Iowa. Rosenberg concludes that the kosher meat shortage is a farce, concocted by Rubashkin partisans to scare off the critics. Of course, one phone call to any kosher butcher in America reveals that the meat shortage is very much a reality.

But still, the questions remain: Why are kosher retailers struggling to keep the shelves stocked when $11 million worth of meat sits in freezers in Postville? And why would the Rubashkins allow their company to stumble into bankruptcy when they had their hands on a valuable asset they could easily sell?

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