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July 09, 2008


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Moron whoever made this site, he's trying to justify his wrong doings (e.g. sins) by people who are trying their whole life to correct their mistakes, and he looks down upon these people (e.g. rabbis) because of their mistakes. My question is what is the purpose of this site, are you trying to show that people sin? valid everyone does, so whats the goal here???????
so if he feels comfortable with himself by showing how others who are greater sin too, then so be it.


Thank God the majority of Jews are NOT orthodox and don't stand for any of this shtetl stuff. I am starting to think that maybe this is what Europe was like with Orthodox Jews holding all the power in many areas and making life miserable for kind Jewish neshamas. What happened to all those amazing institutions of Torah learning in Europe?

I have stopped giving money to Cha-BAD and I think it's best just to stay away from them. They suck, plain and simple. They just want money, money, money. They are full of lies, deception, dishonesty and they believe that they hold special Jewish powers.

I recommend staying away from them, not giving them a dime, and being practical about Judaism.


I wonder how many other laws, state and religious, Agriprocessors has broken...

Incidentally chicken (or any other bird) is parve midoraysa, but the Rabbanan made a gezairah that it is considered fleishick as bird meat and cattle meat look very similar.

By the way I wonder if Getzel Rubashkin is being helped out by 5WPR.

andy lavin

The Forward this week published a critical editorial of the Rubashkins, Agriprocessors and the Orthodox community's response.

Judging Character — And Kashrut

The Babylonian Talmud features a lengthy, oft-quoted discussion of the liability incurred by an individual whose ox gores another person’s livestock. If the ox has never gored before, the owner may claim it was an unforeseen accident and pay only half the injured party’s losses. Likewise for the second and third offense. With a fourth attack, however, the ox is deemed mu’ad, or “forewarned.” The owner is then fully liable. He can no longer claim he didn’t know.

The lesson of the recidivist ox is one of the first and most memorable taught to schoolchildren when they begin their Talmud studies. The narrative is easy to follow, and the moral is clear-cut. It teaches, or should teach, that individuals are responsible for their actions — not just in principle, but also directly and quantifiably liable; not only for what they do, but also for what they fail to do and what they fail to anticipate. No one may traffic with a mu’ad and claim not to have known.

A memorable lesson for most, but seemingly forgotten by the distinguished rabbis and communal functionaries who paid a quick visit last week to Postville, Iowa. They had come to inspect the controversial kosher slaughterhouse owned by Agriprocessors, Inc., which faces widespread allegations of abusive and dangerous working conditions. The rabbis spent three hours touring the plant, met briefly with local Christian clergy and social activists, and gave the operation a clean bill of health. They found no evidence, as one rabbi put it afterward, to suggest that “someone should not buy things from Agriprocessors.”

Well, no — not based on what you might find in a three-hour walkthrough arranged and paid for by the company. But that’s not enough. When your target is mu’ad, you have to consider the whole record. And Agriprocessors and its owners are most assuredly mu’ad.

A three-hour tour could not uncover the extensive, “egregious” child labor

violations that the Iowa state labor commissioner reported to the state attorney general just five days after the rabbis left town. The labor commissioner said he had “never seen anything like it” in his 30 years in the field, according to JTA. He recommended that the allegations be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.” But it took him months to gather the facts. Three hours wouldn’t suffice.

Three hours wouldn’t turn up the voluminous evidence of abuse gathered by the Forward when we first broke the Agriprocessors story two years ago. We found compelling indications of sexual harassment, shorted wages, favoritism and bribery in work assignments, inadequate safety training and horrific work accidents in the place we called a “Kosher Jungle.” But our reporter spent a week in Postville, interviewing current and former workers, merchants, officials and community leaders. He visited homes and viewed pay stubs, rent receipts and food and medical bills. Our staff spent months more on the phone with federal and state officials, academics, food industry experts and others. It took us more than three hours.

If the rabbis didn’t want to believe us, they could have consulted the public record — the archive of complaints brought and fines imposed on the company by state and federal authorities, year after year, for health, safety, food contamination and environmental pollution violations.

Well, we are reminded, meatpacking is a notoriously messy business. That’s true. What’s different about Agriprocessors is the sheer scope and scale of it all. The immigration raid last May, mounted by 16 different federal, state and local government agencies, was described by authorities as the largest such raid ever mounted against one firm. The child labor charges reported this month are described by officials and experts as unusual if not unique in scale for a single firm. And so it goes, in one category after another.

This is a company that is, by any reasonable standard, what the Talmud would call mu’ad.

This newspaper has been roundly criticized in the past two years for supposedly mixing apples and oranges — questioning the company’s kosher certification because of its behavior in areas unrelated to the dietary rules. But they’re not unrelated. As Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld wrote in The New York Times last week, character is critical in judging kosher food. If a supervisor or operator routinely violates some essential religious laws, how can he be trusted to enforce other laws? Restaurants and butcher shops in this country cannot receive Orthodox kosher certification if they do business on the Sabbath. Hotels in Israel lose their certification if they host unapproved forms of entertainment. Character counts, not just precision slaughtering.

The rabbis who visited Postville appear to disagree. They concluded, judging by their public statements, that the facility passes muster. That is, whatever allegations may have been made, they do not merit serious attention — nothing deeper than a quick walkthrough. They said, in effect, that this is an ox without a record.

But there is a long record. Agriprocessors is one of a network of businesses owned by the Rubashkin family, a large, tight-knit clan identified with the Lubavitch community in Brooklyn. The operations, like the family, may be considered a package.

The family patriarch and company founder, Aaron Rubashkin, came here from the Soviet Union in 1945 and opened a kosher butcher shop. In time the shop became Agriprocessors, the country’s largest — and dominant — kosher meat producer, run for many years by Aaron’s son Sholom Rubashkin.

While Sholom ran the meat business, his brother Moshe operated a string of ventures, mainly in textiles and real estate, mostly in partnership with other relatives. One of the most colorful was a textile mill he ran in Allentown, Pa., but closed in 2000. A year after shutting it down, Moshe was convicted of failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance after a former employee was denied benefits. While on probation, he ended up with a conviction for bank fraud due to some checks that he wrote. He was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and got out on parole in 2005.

Shortly after release, he was elected president of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, a government funded agency closely controlled by the Lubavitch community.

Meanwhile, the plant in Allentown was gathering dust and debts. It owed $200,000 to the Environmental Protection Agency for cleaning up hazardous chemicals housed there, and was about to be seized by the city for back taxes, according to public records. In April 2005, the plant was heavily damaged in a fire that was ruled arson. Three more fires, still unexplained, finished it off over the next few months. Chemicals that were stored on site caused the fire to blow out of control, allegedly endangering firefighters. In 2007, Moshe was convicted of illegally housing hazardous chemical waste, while his son Sholom — nephew of the Postville executive — was convicted of lying about who owned the property. They await sentencing.

Back in Postville, the elder Sholom was facing questioning in connection with another alleged arson-fraud scheme. Beginning in the late 1990s, Agriprocessors began receiving payments from a Brooklyn pharmaceutical firm, some $3 million, in return for which the meat company provided, Sholom said in a deposition, “nothing.” The Brooklyn firm, Allou Distributors, declared bankruptcy in 2003, shortly after its warehouse burned down. Prosecutors suspected that the owner, Herman Jacobowitz, a member of another Hasidic community, had been laundering company funds; the payments to Agriprocessors were suspected of being part of the scheme, according to The Des Moines Register. Jacobowitz was eventually convicted of trying to bribe a fire marshal to declare the fire an accident rather than arson, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Agriprocessors agreed to pay $1.4 million in civil restitution but was never charged criminally.

One of the most telling judgments passed on the family was rendered way back in 1995 by the National Labor Relations Board. Moshe and father Aaron owned a textile firm in New Jersey that was found guilty of deducting union dues from employees’ paychecks but failing to hand over the money to the union for at least three years running, a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The administrative law judge who ruled against the Rubashkins recommended that their attorney be suspended for his behavior in delaying the case. The board itself, hearing the case on appeal, commented in its ruling that the “Respondent” — named in documents as the textile firm and its owners — “has a proclivity for violating the Act and has previously been found to have engaged in identical conduct.”

That, it appears, is the government’s way of saying they are mu’ad.

The question that must be answered now by inspectors and consumers of kosher meat is what standards should be applied in measuring character — specifically the character of an actor entrusted with supplying most of this nation’s kosher meat — and just how hard to look.


Think these are the same guys who doctored that missle photo from Iran? :)

That was a rhetorical question. You get the point.

At least I hope.


So that means it's automatically kosher?


""""Chicken is pareve.""""

I think the point DK was seeking to make is that the custom of not eating meat and milk together is derived from the biblical verse of not boiling a kid (the 4 legged type) in its mothers milk. Since birds like fish do
not produce milk, they should be Parve.

The Rabbis however prohibited eating Chicken and milk together to avoid confusion.

Julie Sandburg

Trying to picture Rabbi Allen seriously using "ROFLMAO" and failing...

Stephen Mendelsohn



Pretty vulgar isn't this Ronn Torrosian character. And these supposedly frummer-than-thou Rubashkins hiring them when halacha is supposed to oppose nivul peh, in this case calling women the c-word as Rubashkin's hired thug repeatedly has -- this is the height of hypocrisy. But then they treated female employees at AgriProcessors as mere c___s to be molested, so why not hire such a crassly vulgar sexist pig?

Stephen Mendelsohn


Is Ronn Torrossian confusing this blog with Gawker, which has an endless series of posts against 5W PR?


Stephen Mendelsohn



According to the Forward, Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W PR, is accusing Shmarya of being a long-time opponent of his agency. I just entered "5W" in the Google search box at the top of this page and the only posts about 5W PR I could find are dated from the time the firm was hired last month by AgriProcessors. One more demonstration of their total lack of credibility, especially when Torrossian claims 5W PR didn't make the posts.

Stephen Mendelsohn


What amazes me is the the incompetence of 5W in the way they put up all these posts. They could not even spell Rabbi Allen's last name correctly the first time, which was the giveaway to me that something fishy was going on. Moreover, one would think that any PR firm trying to influence the discussion on a blog would have the common sense to use multiple computers with different IP addresses, one for each pseudonym, to better camouflage their activities. Anyone who has ever edited Wikipedia knows that their administrators keep track of IP addresses and that the site encourages registration by logging the IP addresses of those who do not register on the site. Here, for instance, is the revision history page on Wikipedia for AgriProcessors:


I was once temporarily blocked from editing Wikipedia by an administrator who mistakenly thought I was a sockpuppet of someone else. It may have partly been a result of editing from a couple of different computers with different IP addresses. At the time, I did not even know what a sockpuppet was. This was before Whole Foods CEO John Mackey got caught sockpuppeting under the pseudonym "Rahodeb" on blogs trying to talk up his company and talk down Wild Oats so that he could take them over at a lower stock price. Given the history of such sockpuppets being outed, it boggles the mind to think that such a "high powered" firm wouldn't do a lot more to try to cover their tracks over the net.

At least Mackey publicly apologized for his sockpuppeting on Yahoo! Finance and admitted his actions were inappropriate. Will the 5W sockpuppet(s) come forward and admit their misdeeds, or is it that anyone associated with Rubashkin simply has no concept of genuine teshuvah, which involves confession of one's sins first, followed by a real change in behavior and a commitment never to repeat the misdeed?

Yochanan Lavie

Thanks, Reader. But I think the Feds might do that for me.


Hey Yochanan Lavie:

Sue them for all they're worth!!


""""Chicken is pareve.""""
Biblically, chicken (fowl) was not subject to to having a need to be schecht by a schochet.
Maybe it had the status of fish
Rabbinically that changed.
Now on the other hand if one only eats chicken, turkey as meat and refrains from beef etc then there is a odd ball rare form of a word _______vegetarian that I only seen once on a placard at the FDA office in Minneapolis years ago before that office closed up.


In other Agri news today there is this:

Harold F


Don't use the word shiska. It's a despicable word that needs to be expunged from the language.


http://ronntorossian.com/?p=152 I found this link from the head of 5WPR to be amusingly hypocritical.


The RCA has used 5WPR.

see: http://www.rabbis.org/news/article.cfm?ID=100607


More on 5WPR (Agriprocessors' PR firm):



5WPR Flacks Get So Freaking Busted Impersonating People Online

see: http://gawker.com/tag/5wpr/?i=5023555&t=5wpr-flacks-get-so-freaking-busted-impersonating-people-online


6:45PM was me.

Carol Ann, thanks for the definition of "pareve". I don't know what we'd do without you.

YL, this is my 5W list:

3 Wicked
4 Wrongminded

Yosef ben Matitya

them lubavitzers, are unable to utter a word of truth.
if they say it's morning, look for signs of evening.
as to rubbishcans, kishmoy ken hu. Trash residue @ the bottom of of a rubbish heap. they are all "umuuvas lo yukhal liskon". the twisted that cannot be straightened

Yochanan Lavie

5W only repeated my basic list of standard Rubbishcan excuses. Maybe I should work for them (the real me, LOL). Spoofing me was like Bart Simpson prank calling Moe's; very sophomoric.

I now know what 5W stands for:
1. willful
2. woeful
3. wimpy
4. wishful-thinking
5. washed-up

Carol Ann Varley

A reader was confused about 'parve'.

According to Jewish Dietary Laws, it refers to food which can be eaten with both meat and dairy.

Fish, eggs, fruits, and vegetables are parve. For example, the word is printed on cans of Bumble Bee tuna for the kosher consumer.

Whoever posted chicken was parve was pulling your chicken leg.

If this shiksa got it wrong, please correct me.

Also, what kind of a PR firm calls itself 5W? It sounds like a commercial lubricant.


What is amazing to me is that 5W wasn't that good. For the ammount of money rubash-in must be paying or agreed on, they are not even second rate. And I am completely, uncynically serious. They are not that good. He NEVER CEASES to amaze me. A real bum.


I've been told it's a federal crime if the intent is to harm.


I love cut and paste!!! The 4-h thing really threw me for a loop.

Under federal law, pretending to be "an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States" in order to demand or obtain "any money, paper, document, or thing of value" can result in a fine as well as imprisonment for up to three years (18 U.S.C.A. § 912). Like state false impersonation statutes, the federal law also seeks to protect interests such as the dignity and prestige of individuals, especially those who hold federal office. Federal statutes also prohibit other types of impersonation, including pretending to be a U.S. citizen; pretending to be a U.S. officer or employee attempting to arrest or search a person or search a building; pretending to be a creditor of the United States or a foreign official; and pretending to be an agent or member of 4-H or of the Red Cross.


As far as I know, it is not a federal crime to impersonate someone in an online posting. State? maybe. But not federal.

Larry Lennhoff

Oops Rabbi Allen rather than Rabbi Morris, no disrespect intended.


He knows. I contacted him first to see if he left any comments and then I checked the IP, etc.,, after that.

Larry Lennhoff

Oops Rabbi Allen rather than Rabbi Morris, no disrespect intended.

Larry Lennhoff

Have you contacted Rabbi Morris to let him know this has happened? If not I suggest you do so - he may want to pursue his own interest in beit din or secular court.


DK wrote that idiotic "pareve" statement. Not me. Just for the record.

A reader

"Steve wrote,

No Yo, calling Rubashkin products kosher is like calling Perdue chicken kosher.

Chicken is pareve."



YUCK! I just installed Helvetica on my machine and you apparently default to that (body tag in theme-curves.css; actually it defaults to lucida grande first) It looks horrible! If you don't have this font, I suggest you get it and see what the blog looks like. Otherwise, move arial to the front of the list...


Here's more OU lies:


They have as much neemanus as Rubashkin=ZERO. Unless the product has another reliable hechser or doesn't need one to begin with, I wouldn't eat it with just an OU. They are nothing more than a licensing company.


The OU is strictly relying on the neemanus of MM Weissmandl and MMW is relying on the neemanus of Rubashkin. All get compensated very nicely. One hand washes the other. At Empire, the OU relies on the KAJ hashgacha. They are nothing more than a rubber stamp or a licensing company in these cases. This is not the first time that the OU has looked the other way(see Le Marais scandal,cholov akum coverup) When the truth is exposed for all to see, they will simply blame Weissmandl and say that "they didn't know".


Steve wrote,

No Yo, calling Rubashkin products kosher is like calling Perdue chicken kosher.

Chicken is pareve.


So you are questioning the neemanus of the entire OU? Is the OU's hashgacha good enough for you on Empire? On Wise Organic? On Fleischmann's margarine? Agriprocessors, I agree, has no neemanus. Neither does the owner of any other company under hashgacha-we rely on the hashgacha organization's neemanus. If you are questioning the OU's entire neemanus then you are going to have to do a better job proving that they are actually guilty of knowing that there were KASHRUS violations that they willfully ignored.


I didn't say that hiring the PR firms makes the food unkosher. Read my comments here and on the last post about Uri Lzedek where I outlined all the kashrus issues. The main issue is neemanus-trust and integrity which is clearly lacking.


I didn't call Rubashkin's kosher. Don't put words in my mouth.

So hiring a sleazy PR firm is now equivalent to corruption? That makes food not kosher? As I have said repeatedly, there are many problems that have to be corrected, and the hiring of Juda Engelmayer and 5W is a sign that Agriprocessors is more concerned about its image than the facts on the ground. But to be fair, they have ALWAYS used sleazy PR firms-they went from Lubicon to 5W (or added 5W). Nothing really changed, they just hired another whore. That doesn't, in and of itself, prove that there is corruption or that the food is treif.


Calling Jack Daniels bourbon is like calling Purdue chicken kosher.

No Yo, calling Rubashkin products kosher is like calling Perdue chicken kosher. You may know a thing or two about bourbon, but you clearly have no idea of what's going on at Rubashkin. The fraud and corruption has finally caught up with them, therefore they have resorted to using these sleazy PR firms to defend them. That is why the KAJ finally said "enough already" and that is why the OU is corrupt for NOT saying "enough already"!


You can follow the Rubashkin's scandals for as long as you want, it doesn't mean you know anything. You don't have to be a bourbon "expert" to know that Jack Daniels is not bourbon. I was just being funny, which apparently is not something you're capable of (as opposed to Yochanan, who writes those cute songs).

Bourbon has a definition. Kashrut has a definition. Corruption has a definition. You can throw out words all you want, but unless you are defining them correctly (or at least the way they are defined by those who ARE experts in them) then it is a meaningless game. You claim that the OU's corruption is well-documented on the PETA site. I have seen nothing of the sort. I see rhetoric, of which PETA is equally guilty. I see evidence that Agriprocessors is doing something (many things) wrong. I see no proof that the OU, on the whole, is corrupt.

If you want kosher meat, how are you going to get it without those who are experts in kashrut? If you want bourbon, how do you get it without those who are experts in making it? Calling Jack Daniels bourbon is like calling Purdue chicken kosher.

John K. Diamond

[You seem to know as little about bourbon as you do about kashrut.]

Hi Yo-Yo,

I've been following the Rubashkins Scandals in depth, since December 2004, so please don't insult my intelligence.

Not being a "Bourbon Expert", has nothing to do about the main issue at hand.

John K. Diamond

Then exactly what category is Sour Mash?

Is it in a category all it's own or a hybrid Bourbon.

Anyway, why does this have to be an issue here?


I have to agree with Yo on this one. Jack Daniels is not a bourbon, nor is George Dickel. All bourbon is American whiskey, but not all American whiskey is bourbon.


You seem to know as little about bourbon as you do about kashrut.


John K. Diamond

[Jack Daniels is not bourbon.

Posted by: yo | July 09, 2008 at 12:59 PM]

Jack Daniels is sour mash bourbon as is George Dickel.

Why not have a stiff one youself.

uncle joe mccarthy

are these really fed crimes? movie studios do this all the time on boards like aicn and imdb...having plants post great reviews of bad movies


Jack Daniels is not bourbon.

John K. Diamond

I've read this and had a very very long laugh.

It's beyond my comprehension how low a PR Firm can go.

They will get their just deserts.

Meanwhile, I will have a large "Libation" of George Dickel bourbon, the poor man's Jack Daniels, when I come home from work, today.

Many thanks, Shmarya, for bringing this fascinating tidbit to the attention of the general public.

The sooner Rubashkin and others are in prison, the better off EVERYONE is going to be.


The truth is that they weren't fooling anybody. The same day that the news came out that Rubashkin hired 5W, those strange posts with those phoney names started to appear. Shmarya's investigative work only confirms what we all suspected all along. I'm just surprised at how sloppy and incompetent these trolls were.


I've been following this with great interest. I am not sure that what 5W has done is technically criminal, but maybe you and others should file complaints with the FTC? The website is https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. Maybe if enough people complain, the government will give 5W a stern talking-to.


Great work, Shmarya! I guess that's the last we'll be hearing from the trolls for a while. I wonder how much these incompetent fools get paid. Too bad. I'm gonna miss Jonathan the Trekkie, Bob Dylan and Norman "Rebbe in the Sky" Greenbaum.


Welcome to the club, Surprised? NO!

At least there is consistency- That's why KAJ left Rubashkin-They found that everone affiliated with Rubashkin lies.A liar needs a good memory.

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