Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Crime, Community, and Kosher Meats

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Kosher food, Lubavitch, Rubashkin, Village Voice,

The insular Lubavitch Jewish community has been dragged into the headlines by the Rubashkin family, heads of the powerful Agriprocessors company, a multimillion-dollar kosher meat empire located near Postville, Iowa. The family has been flooded with legal problems recently: Sholom Rubashkin, CEO of Agriprocessors, was arrested for bank fraud. Moshe Rubashkin, Sholom’s brother, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegally storing the hazardous waste. And the plant in Iowa was the place where 389 undocumented workers were detained by the federal government in one of the biggest immigration raids in U.S. history.

Utne Reader contributor Elizabeth Dwoskin recently published an impressive profile of the Rubashkin family in the Village Voice. Dwoskin, who wrote for Utne Reader about Brazilian efforts at cultural preservation, details the “checkered history of the family's business practices—some of it well reported, but much of it less well known.” She also points out the dissent against the Rubashkins that’s being fomented online, in such blogs as FailedMessiah.com, written by a former Lubavitch butcher, and such news outlets as CrownHeights.info and VosIzNeis.com.