Saturday, January 13, 2018

1/13/18 Halachos of Birchas Hagomel — Rubashkin: is all the celebrating appropriate?

1/13/18 Halachos of Birchas Hagomel — Rubashkin: is all the celebrating appropriate?

January 12, 2018
Halachos of Birchas Hagomel --- Rubashkin: is all the celebrating appropriate?

with Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer - Dayan in Yerushalayim, Rav in Ramot - 14:25

with Rabbi Yosef Gabriel Bechoffer - Famed Speaker and Author - 54:30:00

with Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz - Founder, Yeshiva Darchei Noam, Founder, Project Yes - 105:15:00

with R' Gary Apfel - Lead Lawyer for Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin - 115:45:00

with Rabbi Yisroel Langer - Rabbinic Coordinator, CRC - 144:30:00

Also at


  1. Someone left me this voice mail. Did not leave a name and called from a restricted number. Coward! ;-)

    1. It is funny how non-Jew who doesn't know the norms for transliteration to "ch" has such a strong Yeshivish accent.

      Nor does he actually say anything about how you allegedly aired. Like, what exactly is it his students studied? Certainly wasn't the court reports on the bank fraud or child labor cases, nor the history on OSHA's web site.

      BTW, Rubashkin could in theory still be brought up on child labor charges, as they were dismissed without bias. (At the time, it would have been a costly trial to add years to a sentence that already went beyond the man's expected lifetime.) Reopening the case is unlikely to happen in the real world, given the political overhead of trying someone who had a presidential pardon. But since Agriprocessors as a corporation already pleaded guilty, it would require creating reasonable doubt that the person running the firm didn't know.

      So, some yeshivish guy anonymously calls pretending to be a law professor in some unnamed school and tries to intimidate you with his alleged authority. Kinda funny.

      There is possibly something in here about yeshivish assumptions of the power of authority. However, it's complicated by the fact that their record with secular authority is mixed -- such as the number of anti-vaxxers or climate change denial is common. Or maybe those are examples of bowing to rabbinic authority (RSK) and Republican party authority respectively.

  2. The majority of the interview with Gary Apfel reflected the attitude of someone who worked for 4-1/2 years with a client and believes his client's version of the story.

    He did say one thing I believe is false: The worker safety charges couldn't have been some PETA antisemitic slander, because they began before 2001 (the start of OSHA's public-access database) and indeed similar accusations hounded the Rubashkins' projects before Agriprocessors. Similarly, he lied about the rate of injury -- claiming a single incident of lost fingers that the worker admitted was in own mistake, again, compared to the number of "serious incidents" in OSHA's files. Or the number of maimed people interviewed in the Des Moines Register. Also, he says those charges were dismised in court. I can find no record of them even getting to court; it was apparently all handled by OSHA, not the judicial branch.

    The interview literally ended with him accusing the interviewer of having bought in to left-wing antisemitic propoganda.

    He uses this to dismiss any possible motive for Judge Reade but antisemitism. Of course, even if he were right on the facts, if the judge believed PETA's story, she would still have a motive other than antisemitism to single out Rubashkin.

    Also, when claiming anti-semitism, we have to explain why Empire, in the same state, didn't have such attacks. They too are a bunch of very ethnic looking bearded (they /are/ mostly men) Jews.

    But what was really distressing is that Gary Apfel opened up justifying an "Eisav sonei leYaaqov" (the world is out to get us) attitude by citing the "no black or Jews" type clause on the deed to his home. And saying that antisemitism needn't be on the rulebooks in order to be reflected in its implementation or in general society.

    It was only after he read the mood of the interviewer, and was pointed to at the problems with getting Jews to obey the rule of law that he toned down this kind of rhetoric.

    And as I wrote, it underlies his entire argument.

    Which is a pity, because I was hoping to be able to lionize a man who spent 4-1/2 years of pro-bono work trying to free another Jew from an unjust sentence and a general miscarriage of justice. (Such as being tried by someone who is emotionally invested in the prosecution of another charge against him,.) And this interview left me with an awful taste in my mouth.