Rubashkin allowed to leave Iowa for Jewish holiday
BY GRANT SCHULTE • Des Moines Register
A former Postville meat plant executive named in a 142-count federal indictment was granted special permission this morning to leave Iowa for a two-day religious trip to New York.
Sholom Rubashkin will leave his home this afternoon and drive through the night to observe the 15-year anniversary of the death of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a noted holy figure.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade accepted the unusual request despite a court order that Rubsahkin remain in Allamakee County pending his trial on immigration, fraud and money laundering charges.
Prosecutors did not object to the trip as long as Rubashkin stays under GPS monitoring, according to federal court records. The U.S. attorney’s office had opposed Rubashkin’s request several months ago to be released from jail, amid concerns that the 49-year-old might try to flee to Israel.
Rubashkin is a prominent member of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Orthodox Judaism. His attorney, Guy Cook, said the annual event in Cambria Heights, N.Y. is of “exceptional religious significance for those of the Lubavitcher faith.”
The holy pilgrimage to Schneerson’s grave site is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors, Cook said. The Hasidic movement believes that part of his soul remains above his body at the grave site.
Rubashkin is scheduled to leave Postville with a friend this afternoon at 1 p.m. He is expected to arrive at the grave site around 8 a.m. on Thursday, at which time he will call his probation officer.