הרב סגל: לייביש נאש הוא 'מוסר' לפי התורה
(יום שבת, י''ד סיון תשס''ו)
חבר בית-הדין של קראון-הייטס, הרב שלמה סגל יוצא בחריפות בגנות התביעה בבית-המשפט נגד ר' משה רובשקין, יו"ר ועד הקהל של השכונה, בחשד מעילה בכספי ציבור ■
"זה ממש מסירה והלשנה. יהודי עלול לשבת במאסר בגלל שחבר בועד הקהל רוצה לנקום בחבר אחר", הרב אמר בראיון עם COL והתייחס לתובע ר' לייביש נאש. עמיתו ר' חנינא שפרלין חזר בו מהתביעה ■
הרב סגל: "על מוסר נאמר שאין לו חלק בעולם הבא". נאש בתגובה: "שהרב יהיה זהיר בדבריו" ■ לראיון המלא
שלא כדרכו, הרב שלמה הלוי סגל מתבטא בחריפות ולא חושש לומר את דעתו. בעיניו, מניעים אישיים עלולים להזיק לקהילה כולה. הוא חוזר שוב ושוב שמדובר במעשה של היפך דעת תורה, אולם שומר על טון דיבור רגוע ושלו במהלך השיחה.
הרב סגל משמש מספר שנים בבית-הדין של קראון-הייטס כדיין ומורה הוראה. בבחירות שנערכו לפני חודש, הוא נבחר ב-707 קולות מתוך 926 לכהן כחבר קבוע מן המניין בבית-הדין. הוא לא מוותר על תחום הלימוד והפלפול וממשיך לכהן כר"מ של שיעור ד' בישיבת "אהלי תורה" בניו-יורק.
בראיון מיוחד לכתב COL בניו-יורק, ביום שישי, הרב סגל ביקש להתייחס לתביעה בבית-המשפט נגד ר' משה רובשקין, יו"ר ועד הקהל של קראון-הייטס.
התביעה הוגשה על-ידי חברי ועד הקהל מהאופוזיציה ר' לייביש נאש ור' חנינא שפרלין, בטענה כי רובשקין השתמש בכספי הועד לצרכים אישיים. ועד הקהל מקבל כספים מהממשלה (2.2 מיליון דולר בשנה), ובעוון ניהול לא-תקין הנתבע יכול להישלח לכלא.
התביעה הוגשה לאחר הבחירות השנויות במחלוקת לרבנות קראון-הייטס שרובשקין והקואליציה בועד הקהל יזמו והובילו. חבר הבד"צ הרב אהרן-יעקב שוויי, נאש ושפרלין מהאופוזיציה התנגדו לבחירות. האחרונים תובעים 18 מיליון דולר מרובשקין, אולם לא הציגו בפני בית-המשפט הוכחות למעילה ואי-סדרים.
למערכת COL נשלחה ביום שישי "עצומת פדיון שבויים" מאת "אברכים מודאגים", אותה הם מפנים לרב שוויי וקוראים להורות על עצירת התביעה לפני "שיהיה מאוחר מידי". בדואר-האלקטרוני נטען כי העצומה תישלח לכל בתי התושבים בשכונה.
דקות לפני פרסום הראיון הזה, סגן יו"ר ועד הקהל ד"ר צבי לאנג עדכן את COL כי שפרלין הוריד את שמו מהתביעה וכי נאש נותר התובע היחיד.
הרב סגל: זו נקמה והקהילה תסבול
להלן הראיון המלא עם הרב סגל (ההערות בסוגריים הן של המערכת):
* איך הרב רואה את התביעה לבית-המשפט?
זה ממש מסירה.
* ולא מדובר בפנייה מותרת לערכאות (בתי-משפט של המדינה, 'הגויים')?
בכלל, יש הבדל בין ערכאות ולבין מסירה.
החושן משפט בסימן כ"ו אומר על 'איש אלים' שרוצים להוציא ממנו כסף שהוא חייב לאחרים ולא רוצה להגיע לבית-הדין, אז הולכים לערכאות ומוציאים את הכסף.
אבל ללכת להלשין? זה ממש מסירה ולשון הרע. החושן משפט אומר שאסור למסור על שום יהודי שיביא לו נזק בגופו או בממונו. ועל אדם שמוסר נאמר שאין לו חלק לעולם הבא והוא נכנס לדין רודף, עד שמותר להרוג כדי להציל יהודי.
* כבוד הרב, האם אתה מרמז על משהו?
חלילה. הייתה לנו הרבה צרות מדיבור על דין רודף. לא צריך. די לחכימא ברמיזא. מסירה זה מהדברים הכי גרועים. כל פרומער איד יודע שמסירה זה הכי גרוע.
* הם הרי פנו בהתחלה לבית-הדין ורק אחר-כך לערכאות (בית-המשפט).
הוגשה תביעה שאמרה 'ועד הקהל לוקח החלטות שאינם לטובת תושבי השכונה, ולא מתחשבים בבית-הדין. ובלי הסכמה של כולם'.
חברי הבית-דין ענו לתובעים כי הם אנשים פרטיים - כמו זלמן שגלוב ואחרים - ואין להם זכות להתערב בענייני ציבור. אם ייבחרו על-ידי הציבור, אז זה אפשרי. ונקודה נוספת היא שעל-פי דין החלטות טובי העיר, כלומר ועד הקהל, נקבעת לפי הרוב. שלושה חברים מתוך חמישה שמקבלים החלטות זה רוב. החתם-סופר ואחרים סוברים כי ענייני ציבור נקבע לפי הרוב, ולא "דעת של כולם".
לקחו היתר על ערכאות והשתמשו למסירה. זה לא קשור לערכאות. הנתבעים (רובשקין, לאנג ופלוטקין) היו מוכנים להגיע להתדיין, אבל בית-הדין אמר להם הם לא צריכים כי אין כאן תביעה.
נקודה נוספת היא שהדבר היחיד שיכולים ללכת לערכאות זה כדי לעזור. להוציא עושק מיד עושקו. ואילו כאן התביעה רק מוסיפה צרות - אז אסור.
* הם לא קיבלו היתר מרב שוויי?
לא היה כאן היתר של בית-הדין. אנחנו היינו ארבעה בבית-הדין. שלושה מתוכם (הרבנים אזדבה, רייטפורט וסגל) קבעו שאין מקום לזה, וליחיד (הרב שוויי) יש הרי נגיעה. יש סברה שהוא בכלל העלה את התביעה.
* ואחרים יטענו שגם לכם (הרבנים אזדבה, רייטפורט וסגל) יש נגיעה.
אין נגיעה. התביעה לבית-הדין היתה לפני הבחירות (לחברות קבועה בבד"צ קראון-הייטס).
* התובעים יכולים לטעון כי מדובר בדאגה לכספי ציבור.
זה הלשנה ומסירה ואסור בכל מקרה. בפרט, כשמדובר בענייני ציבור. במקרה הזה, הם תבעו בבית-המשפט על-כך שלוקחים כסף מהממשלה וגונבים אותו ואפשר לשבת על-זה (בכלא הפדרלי).
כל אחד יודע שכל מוסד לא מתנהל במאה אחוז. בבורו-פארק, ויליאמסבורג, וסקווער הפסידו והזיקו להרבה מוסדות בגלל הלשנה. זה בדיוק ההיפך ויבוא הפסד לקהילה.
* האם אתה מודה בניהול בלתי-תקין בועד הקהל?
אני לא אומר כך. בכל מקום כשר אפשר למצוא תמיד. וייתכן שכן ימצאו כאן.
* אז מהו המניע שלהם לדעתך?
כל אחד שנמצא פה (בקראון-הייטס) יודע שיש מחלוקת ביניהם (חברי ועד הקהל). רוב רוצה משהו אחד, ומיעוט רוצה לכפות דעתו. המחלוקה זה געפערליך. התוכניות יופסקו ויש סכנה לכולם, כל המוסדות, רק כי חבר בועד הקהל רוצה נקמה בחבר אחר. זה נקמה. להכניס מישהו אחר לתפיסה (מאסר).
* אתה נשמע מודאג?
אני מאוד מודאג וחושש גם למצב של השכונה.
* חושש ממה?
כל מנהלי המוסדות חוששים מהמצב. שוחחתי איתם. אי-אפשר לדעת איפה החקירה תסתיים. זה מעמיד בסכנה את כל המוסדות בשכונה.
* מה אתה מצפה מציבור התומכים לעשות?
צריך להשקיע כוח ולחץ לעצור את המסירה. כל אחד שמכיר את השניים (שפרלין, נאש) להסביר כי זה דבר מסוכן ויוריד את השכונה למצב קשה.
* איך התביעה משפיעה על העבודה בבית-הדין?
העבודה ממשיכה, אולם מאוד לא נוח לנו. זה לוקח הרבה זמן לדבר עם אנשים שנעשה פה שלא כהלכה. נהיה מצב שהסבירו לאנשים שזה מותר ללכת לערכאות.
* איך לדעתך הפרשה תסתיים?
מסירה היא הדבר הכי גרוע שאפשר לעשות. מקווה שהם יעשו לפי הדין ויתפסו בענייני יהדות לפי השולחן-ערוך.
הרב אהרן-יעקב שוויי, חבר בית-דין קראון-הייטס המגבה את התביעה, לא היה זמין לתגובה.
ר' לייביש נאש, מהאופוזיציה בועד הקהל ומהתובעים, נשאל על-ידי COL האם הוא מסכים עם ההגדרה של הרב סגל שהוא מוסר: "אני לא מסכים. זה אי-הבנה ומצער שהוא לא מודע. שיהיה זהיר יותר בדבריו. הוא יכול ליצור קשר איתי ואני אסביר לו" על ההבדל בין ערכאות למסירה.
ר' חנינא שפרלין, מהאופוזיציה בועד הקהל ומהתובעים, לא ענה לטלפונים של COL. וכאמור, הוריד לפני שעה קלה את שמו מהתביעה.
+ הרב אזדבא נפגש עם חברי בד"צ החדשים
+ פורסמו התוצאות לבחירות בד"צ קראון-הייטס
+ הבחירות לרבנות קראון-הייטס נמשכים
+ 55% הצביעו בקראון-הייטס; מכתב הדחייה בוטל
+ "למען השלום והילדים, לכו להצביע ביום ראשון"
+ בחירות קראון-הייטס: "נגד ההלכה" או "דבר טוב"
+ מחפשים עוד מועמדים לבחירות בקראון-הייטס
+ בחירות לרבני קראון-הייטס ייערכו בב' אייר
+ ועד הקהל תוקף: הייתה הצבעה, שפרלין מטעה
+ שפרלין טוען: הרבי לא היה מסכים לבחירות כאלה
+ בקרוב: בחירות לרבני בית-הדין של קראון-הייטס
|הרב שלמה סגל, חבר הבד"צ, נואם בכינוס תורה בבית-הכנסת הגדול של 770|| | הסר תמונה|
|מימין: ר' לייביש נאש, הנגיד ר' שלום-בער דרייזין וחבר הבד"צ הרב יעקב שוויי|| | הסר תמונה|
|משמאל: יו"ר ועד הקהל ר' משה רובשקין וסגן יו"ר ועד הקהל ד"ר צבי לאנג|| | הסר תמונה|
|ישיבת חברי בד"צ קראון-הייטס לאחר הבחירות עם חברי ועד הקהל: משה רובשקין, צבי לאנג ושמואל פלוטקין|| | הסר תמונה|
|העצומה לרב שוויי שהועברה ל-COL על-ידי "אברכים מודאגים"|| | הסר תמונה|
1. why now?
to tkae R.Fisher to court was alright.
to take Aguch to court was alright.
to take Hershkop to court was alright.
What happened now,
You are being taken to court?
2. Leibish dont be nispoel
Leibish I hope you dont fall for the nonsense being spewed. In America we dont get excited by rabbis claiming to have the exclusive entry to Olam Haba, like in the Israeli election campaign.
In this country we respect the law and expect everyone to abide by it with no exceptions.
And besides lets not forget that Moshe Rubashkin could get this whole thing out of court if he showed up to Beis Din. He refuses to come to the Rov and expects everyone to think he is inocent. How foolish.
Lets not all forget the reason he is being asked to come to beis din in the first place........ He doesnt want to show the financial books of the COMUNITY COUNCIL. Thats right its called comunity council and not RUBASHKIN COUNCIL for a reason. I wonder what that reson could only be.
3. Court case
Its ironic to read Shlomo Segal is the one condemning this court case. He is very much a partner in causing the whole problem. Lets address all his lies. First of all , Segal is NOT a member in the Badatz and has no right to represent himself as such. The same applies to his 2 other colleagues Reitport and Zirkind. He is nogeia bedovor wether or nor the case preceded the illegal election or not, since the case evolved around him being considered a Dayan. Therefore there is no such thing as having a majority against Rabbi Shwei Shliti. It is a disagreement between 2 Rabonim and he has no right to intervene. He also has the Chutzpa to claim that Horav Shwei shlito is nogeia bedovor and therefore can not rule on this issue. He is conviniently ignoring 2 important factors. One, Horav Ozdoba shlito is ALSO very nogaia bedovor and therefore has NO right to issue an opinion on the matter. As for Horav Shwei shlito also being nogai bedovor, thats exactly why he called them to a ZABLO. Look how Rubashkin and Segal are trying to play it both ways. They claim that according to the byelaws the case must be heard by the Badatz and not in court. I agree with that. However, they forget that Rabbi Shwei is ALSO part of the Badatz and that since both Members are nogaia bedovor it should go to a Zablo. Then Rabbi Ozdoba blocks it from going to a Din tora, which through his actions , forced the matter into court, and once its in court he starts screming that it must be in front of the Badatz. Why cant a member of the Vaad Hakohol be called to a Din Tora? Why is he above the law? Wasnt previous Vaads summoned to a Din tora? This is the epitome of corruption and abuse of power. As far as the case itself, if they wanted to make a mesira, they could have had him locked up in a day. This case is a civil case to save the Community from the destruction Rubashkin is causing by staying in the council. It is also a case against his illegal election, to expose it as a fraud and have it invalidated. He is the one wasting Community funds in order to destroy the Community. He is also witholding the salary of Rabbi Shwei and since he is in control of the Community funds and he is using it to break the will of a Rov and to stack the deck with his cronies, it is therefore a Mitzva and obligation to support this case. Rubashkin must resign and Segal should step away from promoting machloikes just to promote himself for kovod and money.
4. Leibish Nash
Mr. Nash is standing in deffense of the community. He should not be slandered , as if he is "criminal". Let all these matters should be resolved in a "Menttshlchen" manner. By calling Nash a Messer, you are just furtjer causing the machloikes to continue and persue ever more heatedly.
5. To col
why do you publish such
shmootz and and sheker on your site.
Leibish nash is a Ish Kosher he is a good man, perhaps the best crown heights has to offer. he works hard for a living and pays taxes and only wants the best for crown heights.
He doesnt burn buildings to claim insurance. He dosent do bank fraud or anything else moshe Rubashkin does. All he wants is comnity run fairly with openess and honesty.
i dont know leibish personnaly but I sure know one thing, he was never behind bars for comiting fraud or doing crime and Moshe Rubashkin was.
Leibish I want to tell you one thing: Dont get Nispoel from these mobsters. They may have a loud bark but they have no teeth. The honest people from Crown Heights are behind you.
Chazak and keep up your great work.
From a third generation Crown Heightser
וכשקרינסקי מסר את הבחורים ב-770 זה לא הבאתם את זה בתור מסירה ושקפלן עשה אותו דבר גם לא מוסר זה רק מתי שמוצא חן בעיניכם?
7. עשה לך רב
למיטב ידיעתי, אנו חסידי חב"ד, וכפי הוראת כ"ק אדמו"ר נשיא דורינו, נוהגים להתייעץ ב"עשה לך רב" בכל עניין שנוגע להלכה למעשה, ובפרט כשנוגע הדבר בעניינים ציבוריים.
במקרה זה, בית דין (בו היו חברים הרב שווי, הרב מאנגעל, והרב באגאמילסקי) פסק כי הבחירות בטילות ומבוטלות, וכי הרב סגל הוא מסורב בית דין.
עד כמה שידוע לי, לייביש נעש אינו רב בבית דין, אבל כהוראת הרבי, נוהג על פי פסקיו של רבו - הרב שווי.
איך ייתכן לכנות חסיד שהולך על פי הוראת הרבי בשם מוסר, ובפרט כשהכינוי מגיע מרב חב"די?
אני בכוונה לא מתייחס לפרטי המקרה, מאחר ואי אפשר לצפות מאדם אחד ללכת בניגוד להוראת רבו.
8. דין תורה
מדוע לא רצו ללכת כל הזמן לזבל"א? הרי במשך 3-4 חדשים ביקשו את ר מושה רובשקין ללכת לזבל"א.
בברכת "התורה ניתנה לעשות שלום בכולם".
ב"ה ישנו פוסק חדש בדורנו
10. שאלה להרב סגל
הרי אתה בעצמך מסרב ללכת לרבנים לדין תורה! היתכן!
ובכלל הרי אתה הרב של רובאשקין איך אתה יכול לפסוק על מר נעש שי.
והעיקר! למה אינו הולך רובאשקין לדין תורה ושלום על ישראל?
2 INDICTED IN SCHEME TO STEAL MEDICAID FUNDS
By JOYCE PURNICK
24 October 1985
The New York Times
Late City Final Edition
Copyright 1985 The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.
"A former accountant for New York City and a Brooklyn businessman were indicted yesterday on charges of scheming to embezzle more than $300,000 in Medicaid funds from the city.
A former city caseworker was named as a co-conspirator in the Federal indictment. It was announced yesterday by Rudolph W. Giuliani, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Patrick W. McGinley, the citys Investigations Commissioner, at a City Hall news conference with Mayor Koch.
Those indicted were Robert N. Sternberg, 37 years old, of 11 Maple Leaf Road in Monsey, N.Y., and Shmuel Spritzer, 38, of 59 Montgomery Street in Brooklyn. Cited as a co-conspirator was Howard Scheiner, the former caseworker, whose age and address was not provided. He was not indicted, an indication that he had cooperated with authorities. Law-enforcement officials in the case declined to say whether that was true.
Mr. Scheiner and Mr. Sternberg are former employees of the citys Human Resources Administration. Mr. Spritzer was described as owner of the Variety Trading Corporation in Brooklyn. The nature of that business was not disclosed.
The indictment alleges that Mr. Sternberg, former chief accountant of the H.R.A.s division of medical payments, who earned $26,688 a year, obtained Medicaid checks that the Government intended for nursing homes.
In some cases, he made them out to nursing homes that were bankrupt, officials said during the news conference. Mr. Sternberg turned the checks over to Mr. Scheiner, who was what officials called the middleman. Mr. Scheiner gave the checks to Mr. Spritzer, the indictment contends, who then deposited them in accounts that he controlled and in some instances forged signatures to withdraw the funds. Then the three split the money, the indictment charges.
Funds From Federal Government
The four accounts were in the names of the Committee for Jewish Survival, the Lubavitch Foundation, Gerald Greenwald and Samuel T. Joseph.
According to the indictment, the principal goal of the conspiracy was to embezzle and steal more than $313,000 in Medicaid funds, between May 1981 and January 1984. The two defendants were actually accused of embezzling $162,000.
Mr. McGinley explained that the purported scheme had come to light when an official of Citibank notified the Inspector General of the citys Finance Department that six Medicaid checks, totaling $150,000, had been deposited into an account with a different name than the payee on those checks. The Inspector General of the Finance Department notified the Inspector General of the Human Resources Administration, L. Priscilla Hall, who then started an investigation.
The agencys commissioner, George Gross, said the operation of the department Mr. Sternberg headed would be examined to determine if disciplinary action against any employee was warranted.
In March 1984, as soon as he realized an investigation was under way, Mr. Sternberg fled to Israel, according to Mr. McGinley. Interpol and the Israeli authorities helped city officials find Mr. Sternberg, who was arrested at La Guardia Airport on Sept. 23. He is out on bail, and Mr. Spritzer is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow.
The two defendants never met each other and dealt only through Mr. Scheiner, according to law-enforcement officials.
The officials also revealed a curious twist to the case - that Mr. Sternberg and Mr. Spritzer are members of rival Hasidic Jewish groups. Mr. Sternberg is a member of the Satmar group, according to the officials, and Mr. Spritzer of the Lubavitch group. The animosity between the two groups has been so great that it has led on some occasions to violence.
Photo of George Gross with Mayor Koch and Rudolph W. Gioliani discussing indictment (NYT/Larry C. Morris)
12. אינו מסור
הפני לערכאות נעשתה על פי היתר
שלשה רבנים מובהקים, ואיך יכולים
לומר עליו שהוא מסור
13. `Leibel Nash
Leibel Nash was always a man that if he loses or things are going for him the wrong way, then he loses himself completly and does things totaly out of line and out of control - beyond imaginatoin, I do busines with him and I know that first hand.This is what he means when he says" The Rabbi should be careful what he says" , he is saying that if Rabbi Segal will talk against him ,then L.N. will "MOSSER" on him(Rabbi S.) to. Remember Nash we all know where MOSSERIM are finishing up .HEIM YORDIM LBOIR SHACHAS, you have time and you still could take it out of court and do TESHUVO .
Firstly Horav Segal is a Rov and elected by the kehillah. Now Chanina decided to take his name off the court case. His family told him he would be cut out of the family business.
So his pocket is more inportant then the kehillah.
He is a fraude just like Nash is a menuvel.
15. נראה שאף אחד לא חתם
נראה שאף אחד לא חתם
למה רובאשקין לא מראה לכל החברים את כל מה שקרה אם הכסף?
אפילו אם שנים מהחמישה הם המועט אבל סוף כל סוף כולם נבחרו ומגיע להם לדעת מה קורה בהועד. רובאשקין לא יכול להלעים מהם מהנעשה בהועד.
ועוד, אם ח"ו הממשלה יעשה חקירה ויראו שמשהו לא בסדר גם נאש ושפערלין יהיו אחראים על זה כיוון שהם חלק חוקי של הועד.
17. התגובות מתחילות ב 9
ומסתיימות ב 9
18. כתוב בפירוש בהטביעה שהוא לא יצטרך לשבת בכלא אלא להשיב הכסף אשר גזל מהקהילה!
הרב סגל לא יודע איך הבית משפט עובדת באמריקא
אפילו אם משהו נמצא גזלן והירשעו אותו בבית משפט הוא לא צריך לשבת אם הטובע לא רוצה שישב!
19. שחת עמך
הרי הערב רב הם הראשונים לפרוץ גדר .
הם הערב רב שעשו את העגל הראשון וכנראה שעוד ידם נטויה .
וכל זה בברכת זיקני מדין.
20. זעופי פנים
יש חילוק בין התמונה של נאש,דריזין,שוויי,שפריצער היושבים זעופי פנים ע"ד המן נדחף אבל וחפוי ראש.
לבין תמונת הרבנים החשובים במאור פנים ובשמחה של תורה.
21. Shmuel Spritzer
2 INDICTED IN SCHEME TO STEAL MEDICAID FUNDS
By JOYCE PURNICK
24 October 1985
New York Times Abstracts
c. 1985 New York Times Company
Robert N Sternberg, former accountant for New York City, and Brooklyn businessman Shmuel Spritzer are indicted on charges of scheming to embezzle more than $300,000 on Medicaid funds from city; Howard Scheiner, former caseworker, is named as unindicted co-conspirator; both Scheiner and Sternberg worked for citys Human Resources Administration; photo
22. Larry Nash
when did Larry Nash arive in lubavitch is he FFB or BT<
AND what does he do for a living?
23. NASH IS A GOOD MAN AND A GOOD CHOSID
Please do not write bad things about Mr. Nash. He is a very good man, a yiras shomayim and someone who cares about people and the people of the community. He is not someone involved in politics. Why wont Rubashkin open the books to the fellow members of the board. He has a responsibility to do so if in fact he is honest. If he has nothing to hide, then why not show the members of the board where all the money is. Nash and Sperlin did try to go to the Rav but Rubashkin will not open the books. Why should all the people in Crown Heights lose out of big money that the community gets from the government!? This is no simple matter and Rubashkin needs to be accountable. It seems funny that COL would take sides here on who is right. You seem to have a bias!? To prove the point you will probably not publish this memo and if you do all memos refuting your point of view will be deleted. Shame on you for even publishing this article.
24. medicate fraud
I asked what is the connection #11 writes to todays situation in the case? Till someone made it clear: ask Dr. Tzvi Lang why he left Florida and came to Crown Heights?and was not because the chinuch of his children!!!
25. to number 11
Why do you dig up old dirt thats 20 years old on people that are irrelevant to this topic? Is that because you just hate meshichisten? Why dont you publish the articles about rubashkin?
In Iowa Meat Plant, Kosher Jungle Breeds Fear, Injury, Short Pay
Im not sure these devout Jews are using Jewish ethics to treat their workers
By NATHANIEL POPPER
May 26, 2006
POSTVILLE, Iowa — The animals slaughtered here at the nations largest kosher meat packing plant have been the object of nationwide sympathy since an animal rights group released videos from the kill floor in December 2004. But a tour of the mobile homes and cramped apartments just outside town, where AgriProcessors immigrant workers live, quickly shifts a visitors attention to a more striking concern: the impoverished humans who do the factorys dirty work.
One of those workers — a woman who agreed to be identified by the pseudonym Juana — came to this rural corner of Iowa a year ago from Guatemala. Since then, she has worked 10-to-12-hour night shifts, six nights a week. Her cutting hand is swollen and deformed, but she has no health insurance to have it checked. She works for wages, starting at $6.25 an hour and stopping at $7, that several industry experts described as the lowest of any slaughterhouse in the nation.
Juana and other employees at AgriProcessors — they total about 800 — told the Forward that they receive virtually no safety training. This is an anomaly in an industry in which the tools are designed to cut and grind through flesh and bones. In just one month last summer, two young men required amputations; workers say there have been others since. The chickens and cattle fly by at a steady clip on metal hooks, and employees said they are berated for not working fast enough. In addition, employees told of being asked to bribe supervisors for better shifts and of being shortchanged on paychecks regularly.
"Being here, you see a lot of injustice," said Juana, who did not want her real name used because of her precarious immigration status. "But its a small town. Its the only factory here. We have no choice."
AgriProcessors final product — sold under the nationally popular Aarons Best brand — is priced significantly higher than standard meat. Its kosher seal gives it a seeming moral imprimatur in an industry known for harsh working conditions. But even in the unhappy world of meatpacking, people with comparative knowledge of AgriProcessors and other plants — including local religious leaders, professors, and union organizers — say that AgriProcessors stands out for its poor treatment of workers.
"I deal with a lot of workers in slaughterhouses," said Dana Powell, who lived in Postville for four months last fall while unsuccessfully attempting to unionize the plant for the United Food and Commercial Workers. "If I had to rate this one amongst all of them, of the different houses Ive been to, its got to be the worst."
The manager of the plant, Sholom Rubashkin, said his industry is not a pleasant one for workers, but he denied that the company mistreats its workers, shorts their pay or condones bribery of any sort. Rubashkin, who is the son of the Brooklyn-based owner, pointed to the failure of the union drive as evidence of the workers contentment.
He said that AgriProcessors offers health insurance if workers are willing to contribute a sum that is close to $50 a week for family coverage. He has set up an emergency fund for employees in trouble. Describing the hard work his father had done on arriving in America from Europe in 1952, Rubashkin said: "America has always been built by people who are coming to try to better their economic position and are willing to do jobs that other people are not willing to do. Thats how this country is growing."
Spanish-speaking community leaders in Postville said that last years union drive failed for the same reason that the grievances have not been made public before: The workers have a well-developed fear of being fired or deported. Many of the workers are undocumented immigrants, according to numerous workers, community leaders and the local priest.
"If youre not treated well at work, you tend to keep your mouth shut and go deeper until it becomes, well, unbearable," said Father Floyd Paul Ouderkirk, Postvilles Roman Catholic priest. Ouderkirk previously had ministered in other Iowa and Texas slaughterhouse towns. In those other plants, Ouderkirk said, the workers had been less afraid to speak up and had labored in more tolerable conditions.
In a small town like Postville, where AgriProcessors is the largest economic engine, workers have few places to turn beyond the three churches. Ouderkirk retired from his full-time position two years ago. He has not been replaced, but he returns to Postville regularly to celebrate Mass in Spanish — and to hear complaints.
"They leave so much to be desired in the moral and ethical treatment of workers," Ouderkirk said of AgriProcessors.
The companys business model has been economically successful. AgriProcessors is the only kosher slaughterhouse in America producing both beef and poultry. While AgriProcessors has been expanding steadily, its closest competitor in the poultry industry, Empire Kosher, recently fired employees and cut back operations. Union leaders at Empire Kosher said that the cutbacks were necessary because Empire pays its lowest-ranking unionized employees close to $3 more an hour from the outset than AgriProcessors lowest employees, and provides full benefits.
Even among nonunion plants, experts say AgriProcessors salaries are low.
"I have not heard of a six-dollar wage since I started working in Nebraska in 1990," said Lourdes Gouveia, director of the Office of Latino Studies at the University of Nebraska, where she studies working conditions in the meat packing industry.
Not all the workers at AgriProcessors who spoke with the Forward hated their jobs. Workers in the maintenance department, where more locals and non-Hispanic immigrants are concentrated, start at $9 an hour. In the more plentiful menial positions, a handful of employees said that with a good supervisor, work at the plant was tolerable. One supervisor on the beef side, a Postville local, recently married a Hispanic worker and is known as a friend of the entry-level employees. But workers said that there were few standards and little transparency at the plant.
The owner of AgriProcessors, Sholoms father, Aaron Rubashkin, has had trouble with workers rights before. In 1995, the National Labor Relations Board found that he had violated labor laws at his textile mill in New Jersey. For months on end, the mill had taken dues from the paychecks of union employees without handing them over to the union — and had a "proclivity for violating" the labor law, according to the NLRB judge.
* * *
The Rubashkins first set up shop in Postville in 1987, buying a defunct nonkosher plant. The town drew national attention in 2000 when journalist Stephen Bloom published his book, "Postville," describing the culture clash that resulted when a group of Lubavitch Hasidim moved into a farming town of 1,500. At the time, the hardest labor at the plant was performed by Eastern European immigrants. Some complained to Bloom about working conditions.
But when Bloom was in town, workers willing to do AgriProcessors menial work were at a premium, and the Rubashkins would fly in workers from New York. That changed as the Eastern Europeans were replaced by a flood of Hispanic immigrants, who required little in the way of recruitment by the Rubashkins. Today, more than half of Postvilles 2,500 residents are Hispanic, according to most estimates. Indeed, there is a widespread sense, as one 26-year-old man from Mexico said, that "there is somebody outside waiting to take your job — so you just keep working, or else."
The Hispanic immigrant workers are also less educated than the Eastern Europeans, and several people who have dealt with both groups claimed that plant management has given the newcomers less respect.
"They feel like theyre not only treated unfairly, but treated as lesser beings — as second-class citizens," said Caitlin Didier, who lived in Postville for nine months in 2004 and interviewed more than 50 Hispanic workers for her dissertation at the University of Kansas on ethnic cooperation in Postville.
A picture of the conditions at AgriProcessors emerged during a tour of the plant. It is a modern facility with clean metallic walls and concrete floors; as is typical in slaughterhouses, most of the rooms are cold and scattered with stray bits of animal flesh.
In the room where chickens are killed, a few rabbis stand at the back, administering the lethal cut. The bulk of the work is done by rows of Hispanic men and women who grab the chickens by their feet and prepare them for death. While the rabbis have their own bathrooms and well-lit cafeterias, which Rubashkin pointed out on a tour, he declined to show the Forward the separate facilities for the workers, which were described to the paper as damp and dirty.
One person who saw all this up close was the investigator for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who shot the notorious video footage of the slaughtering process. He said that the cafeteria at AgriProcessors was in a lower class than the carpeted, climate-controlled cafeterias at the nonkosher slaughterhouses where he has worked, while investigating undercover, in Arkansas and North Carolina.
At those nonkosher slaughterhouses, the PETA investigator said, he received significantly more safety training: a minimum of two days, while AgriProcessors only gave him one hour — with a supervisor who did not speak Spanish. The investigator said he ended up translating for the other trainees, all of whom were Hispanic. In addition, the PETA investigator — who agreed to speak with the Forward only if he could do so anonymously — said that when workers were injured or sick, supervisors at AgriProcessors showed little concern and were reluctant to provide access to the companys doctor.
"At the other two, they were more compassionate if an individual was hurt," he said. "At Agri, theyd be more concerned about losing money than the individual."
Rubashkin said that the company has instituted dual-language training, though he declined to say how long the training is. He also said the company is in the midst of building a new cafeteria for workers.
Workers and their advocates say that many tough out the conditions in Postville because they need the money — often to pay back the smugglers who brought them over the border. No less significant, Postville has no public transportation into or out of town, and few immigrant workers can secure drivers licenses to escape the isolated community. There used to be a turkey processing plant in Postville, where locals say the conditions were better, but it burned to the ground on Christmas Eve 2003.
* * *
One of the workers, a chubby Guatemalan who agreed to go by the pseudonym Manuel, said that he paid a smuggler $4,500 to help him sneak across the Mexican border a year ago. He purchased a Social Security number for $100 in Illinois, and within a few days he had landed a job at AgriProcessors.
Manuel lives in a bare apartment with four other single young men from Guatemala, all of them undocumented immigrants. They have two beat-up couches with cushions that sink to the floor. The carpets are stained and a television sits on the box in which it came. The only decoration is a calendar from Postvilles Mexican restaurant, Sabor Latino, which hangs askew on the window moulding.
On Manuels first day, he said, he found himself slicing up chicken carcasses without even receiving the hour-long orientation that other workers had described.
"Theres no training," he said. "You learn by getting chewed out."
Now, Manuel arrives each day at 4:45 a.m. Although the Supreme Court decided last year that meatpacking plants must pay their workers for donning and doffing — dressing and undressing before and after work — Manuel and the union organizers who lived in Postville said that the workers are not allowed to punch in until they take their positions on the line. Rubashkin responded by saying that the company did change the rules when the Supreme Court ruling came down.
Manuel works 10-hour days in the chicken department. Lunch breaks are 30 minutes, but after taking on and off the bloody smocks and masks at the beginning and end, there is closer to 15 minutes time left for eating. Dozens of workers on a shift share the cafeteria, and the workers say there are only three microwaves, which short-circuit when used simultaneously.
"Ive said, Why do you treat us like this?" Manuel said. "Were human beings, not animals."
Manuel came from a religious family in Guatemala, but he rarely has time for observance. AgriProcessors does not slow down for Sundays or for any Christian holidays, except Christmas. A more practical problem, however, arises on Jewish holidays, when the plant closes and the workers are not paid.
Pay is a recurring complaint from AgriProcessors workers. Manuel makes $7.25 an hour, having moved up from $6.25. But Manuel and many other workers said that their weekly paychecks come up three or four hours short regularly, a claim that the union organizers reported hearing frequently. When supervisors are alerted, they promise to correct things but rarely do, workers and union officials said.
"They are being taken advantage of," said Powell, the union organizer. "You could tell these workers wanted help but they were so scared and beat down by this company."
But Manuel said he counts himself lucky when he sees the workers who have had fingers amputated and worse. One friend of his lost a hand last summer when a machine he was cleaning suddenly whirred to life. Manuel and many other workers said that the young man is now back at the plant, working half time and still hoping to collect enough to pay off his debts back home.
* * *
The fascination with the unseen world of slaughterhouses is long standing, extending from Upton Sinclairs "The Jungle" a century ago to a Human Rights Watch report last year. That study found that the industry has the highest levels of injury of any manufacturing industry, and said the workers "contend with treatment and conditions that violate their human rights."
Kosher plants occupy a small, seldom scrutinized corner of the overall meat market. In the chicken industry, kosher companies slaughter less than 1% of the 33 million birds killed each day. There are five kosher poultry slaughterhouses in America besides AgriProcessors, according to industry experts. But Empire Kosher, in northern Pennsylvania, is AgriProcessors only major competitor.
Kosher beef is mostly supplied by firms that send rabbis into nonkosher slaughterhouses to kill selected animals. Hebrew National, the biggest national brand of kosher beef, does not produce the glatt kosher standard now demanded by most Orthodox Jews.
Because of market size, kosher plants have escaped the scrutiny of labor conditions that the larger industry has received. A number of experts in the area, including the author of the Human Rights Watch report, said they had assumed that conditions were better in kosher slaughterhouses because they operate in a premium market under the supervision of clergymen.
"My totally unexamined assumption was that good Orthodox Jews would probably have a different ethos for treatment of their workers," said Gouveia, the Nebraska professor.
Empire Kosher has had its own troubles in the past. In 2001, immigration officials raided the plant and arrested 135 undocumented immigrants, according to news reports.
In the kosher certification process, working conditions are not a factor, according to the largest certifying agency, the Orthodox Union. But at AgriProcessors biggest competitors, Empire and Hebrew National, there is a union regulating wages and grievances.
When it comes to outside regulatory agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have tagged AgriProcessors this year with six violations. That amounts to more than half the violations in all Iowa meatpacking plants during that time, according to OSHA statistics.
The outside agency that Postville community leaders most remember is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which came to town in 2003. The agency would not comment on the incident, but Rubashkin acknowledged that it was responding to complaints that a supervisor in the chicken department was demanding bribes from workers.
Community leaders say that Hispanic workers were too afraid to speak with the EEOC. The supervisor remains at the plant today, and union officials and workers said that while he no longer demands outright bribes, he now tells workers to buy a car from him if they want a better shift or have a relative hired.
Rubashkin said the charges were completely unfounded.
"Him buying a car or selling a car has nothing to do with hiring," Rubashkin said of the supervisor in question.
Another outside agency that sought to intervene was the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union that represents Empire Kosher workers. Two union organizers arrived in Postville last July. One of them, Powell, said the campaign began to unravel at about the same time workers in the plant told him that supervisors were having meetings at which they threatened to fire workers or refer them to immigration officials if a union was formed.
Rubashkin denied that there was any intimidation. "We explained to people what a union does — how they get in power and do what they want," he said.
In the end, the union could not even find a space in town to hold an organizing meeting. One was scheduled in the Catholic church, but the church leadership was pressured to cancel it, according to numerous people close to the situation.
Mark Grey, a professor at a local university who studies immigrant labor at slaughterhouses, said that even after five years of coming to talk with workers at AgriProcessors, he is still caught off-guard by the severity with which workers are treated.
"Im continually surprised at how poorly they treat these people because theyre not Jews and because they happen to be immigrants," said Grey, director of the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration. The center is based at the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls.
"The bottom line here is that Im not sure these devout Jews are using Jewish ethics to treat their workers," he added.
26. To 13 - The guy "Leibel did business with"...
A few tips to make your comment sound a bit more reliable:
1. You would expect someone who claims to have done business with him to know him on a personal level. So just for your information, his name is Leibish...
2. Leibish Nash works a government job full time. In his free time, hes out there doing whats best for the community. He doesnt "do business"...
3. Next time you say someone is "always a man" who acts in a certain way, bring a proof, a story, make it sound a bit true.
4. Do a spell check next time you comment on anything.
27. שתי שאלות
1. הצגתם מסמך שכתבו "אברכים מודאגים" לרב שווי. למה לא רואים כמה אנשים חתמו על המסמך והצטרפו לקריאת האברכים המודאגים? לשם השוואה: כאלף איש חתמו בקראון-הייטס נגד הבחירות לרבנים החדשים.
2. מדוע מסרב ר משה רובשקין לעמוד לדין-תורה, שבו יוכל להציג את יושרו וניקיון כפיו, וכך יסיר את כל התביעות נגדו? האם הוא חושש מדין-תורה אמיתי?
28. L Nash
hi full name is "Leroy M Nash
29. meharsaich umerchavayich
all machloikes ,all fights all court cases that came from Crown Heights (against Merkos -weinstock, against Krinski-770, against Rubashkin-JCC) is all payed by the bigest Mecharcher Riv SHOLEM BER DRIZIN
He Pays forall the BUSHOS VECHRPOS that the following peopel are bringing to LUBAWITCH, the CHOCHEM Yankel shwey, Yanki Fertzog, Chanina Spermin,and Hachochom mikol hoodom ZALMON SHAGALOF and the MOSSER Leibl Nash "shtamt fun Eirev Rav "fun
How could you ( and your freinds) say, that the Elections were against the Halocho ??? ,when 2 RABBONIM from BADATS, HORAV OSDOBA & HORAV HELLER said you should vote, and only one Rov Yankel SCHWEI said no. A majority said YES ,so according to the Halocho you have to vote . ( RAV HELLER told all the Kolel peopel to go and vote
31. Then We Wonder
Let us not forget who we are. There’s the world, the Jews, and then theres Chabad. with such a great privilege and responsibility.
And instead of doing what Hashem wants and what the Rebbe wants, some of us have totally lost it, and the reason why I say "us" is because "kol yisroel araivim zeh lozeh". What can we expect from the youth today if this is how we act? How can we demand anything from the youth if the adults dont demand anything from them selves!?
And anyone who takes another Jew to a civil court knowing well the repercussions of this and cuasing a great chilul Hashem and
chilul Chabad, I would question his yirai shomayim.
There is absolutely no shame what so ever. All this is about is the capital “ I “ not about the community. And the one being accused does not need the money of the CHCC, and that is a good thing, as it says in Talmud the people working in public works should have money in order that they not be tempted by bribes etc. And Moshe Rubashkin is known to be a great Baal tzedakah. Helping the ones who can not afford suits for Yom tov, food for shabbos and the ones who have financial trouble with sending there kids to camp. We should be applauding such a person and backing him. Instead of G-D forbid trying to get him into trouble and going against Torah law.
And for those who say, dina dmalchusa dina. That is only if it does not go against torah law. As is well known by the nazis, yimach shemom. That law was to get rid of the Jews. And they where from the most cultured society of the time and “law abiding citizens" well that same mentality got 6 million of us killed. The bais hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam and that is what is happening here, only this time hiding behind the "community".
This must stop! and Ill bet you that if you would only take all those who where helped and are and being helped by R Moshe Rubashkin, that alone would be a big enough proof that he is a real community person. And even if you still for what ever reason hold that he is guilty.
Is this the way Torah law abiding Jews deal with things? What has come upon us!? Instead of fighting our real enemies which are in our own backyards, i.e. the missionaries which are trying to penetrate Crown Heights. And dealing with the youth! Future of the Jewish people.
We are supposed to be the lamplighters of the Jewish people and the world! Wake up yidin! Moshiach will come one way or the other; do we want to be caught in middle of our foolishness? Or ready like Chassidim?
The Rebbe gave his life for us and this is our hakoras hatov? We must come together! I can write for a along time, but I hope I got my point across, I am just a frustrated teenager and I’m am just appoled at what I hear and see . So I hope and pray that in the merit of the true shluchim of the Rebbe (which is every one of us) and if not, in the merit of our patriarchs and matriarchs we should see our Rebbe biainai bosor l’matah basarah t’fochim Moshiach Now Ad Mosai!!
It is up to us.
The voice of...all
32. MR SHMUEL SPRITZER
to no -11- here is a response from Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky back in 1985 about that case with SHMUEL SPRITZER when he use the name “Lubavitch Foundation”
in scheming to embezzle more than $300,000 in Medicaid funds from the city.
Bank Account in U.S. Inquiry Unofficial, Lubavitcher Says
29 October 1985
The New York Times
Late City Final Edition
Copyright 1985 The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.
A spokesman for the Lubavitch Hasidic movement said yesterday that a bank account named in a Federal Medicaid fraud investigation had not been established by officials of the movement.
Last week, a Brooklyn businessman and a former accountant for New York City were indicted by Federal prosecutors on charges of scheming to embezzle more than $300,000 in Medicaid funds from the city.
One of the bank accounts used in the purported fraud bore the title Lubavitch Foundation.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, a spokesman for the Lubavitch movement, based at 770 Eastern Parkway, near Brooklyn Avenue in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, said yesterday, It should be made known that such an account was established without the authorization and knowledge of the Lubavitch movement.
Rabbi Krinsky also objected to the fact that law-enforcement officials, at a news conference announcing the indictments, had made comments revealing the religious affiliation of two defendants. The remarks, Rabbi Krinsky said, were gratuitous, if not mischievous.
Maybe this is why HE hates RABBI KRINSKI
אתם ------- עד מתי רשעים יעלוזו?
סגל מסורב בית דין לדעת כולם אין ספק ואין עוררין על כך הוא לא רשאי לשבת בבית דין
34. Horav Yankel Schwei
When a man-( never drove for 70 years ,and)- starts driving at 70, then he makes constantly lots and lots of accidents, and if you let him drive a bus with childrern , he will defenatly endanger ,injur and destroy the life of the childern. I am sure that you will NOT let him drive your child
This is what Horav Yankel Schwey is doing to the community. For 70 years he was never a Rov not even in small SHTIBEL,now at 70 he becomes a Rov ,so he indeed makes a CHURBON of the community .Since he was elected as a Rov there is Machloikes every day in the community ,he constantly writes letters against the Rebbes RABBONIM and he sends this filthy letters to every house in C.H. He destroyed the kovod of Rabbonim, because he showed everyone that it is a Mitzva to do the opposit from the Rov . I could go on and on and on, the bottom line is that he destroyed the community and he detroyed our children. And as long as he well be here there will allways be Machloiukes because this is life, Machloikes and again Machloikes, the sooner we get rid of him the better will be for the community for our children for our schools WE have to ask Hashem
35. Mecharchei Riv
All the shlepers of Rabbi Yankel Shwey are the biggest mecharchey riv because Rabbi Y.shwey him self is interested only in making Machloikes and Milchomois, this is the only thing R.Y.S. is interested and b.t.w. he is very good at .The proof is that sice he is here evry day there is a new Machloikes He is a GAON in making Machloikes
36. MY OPINION
אני לא מכיר את סגל ובכן לא יכול להביע ביקורת עליו רק יכול להציע לו באם הוא רוצה להיות רב שיתחיל ללמוד הלכה.בנוגע לנעש שאני כן מכיר אני יכול להעיד שהוא עוסק בצרכי צבור באמונה