The Shmooze

An Orthodox 'We Are the World' for Sholom Rubashkin

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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The latest effort to rally supporters for jailed Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin comes in the form of a six-minute music video posted online yesterday, featuring a who’s who of Hasidic music stars.

The video mixes slo-mo shots of Rubashkin with “We Are the World”-style clips of the all-male cast of singers in the recording studio.

Rubashkin is serving a 27-year sentence on bank fraud charges relating to his leadership of Agriprocessors. Immigration charges against Rubashkin have been dismissed, and he was acquitted of child labor charges.

The video features Lipa Schmeltzer, the Hasidic pop star whose Madison Square Garden concert was famously cancelled in 2008 in the face of rabbinic censure; Avrohom Fried, and Mordechai Ben David, among many others. The lyrics call for Rubashkin’s release. A sample, sung mostly by Schmeltzer:

Eagles soaring by
Could you lift him up with you now
And fly him home with justice pride and freedom?
His eyes are gazing wide from behind the bars he prays, now
With faith with joy,
oh how we wait to greet him.

The video asks viewers to donate to Rubashkin’s legal defense.

According to the clip’s website, www.UnityForJustice.com, the effort was sponsored by a firm called TelTech, which appears to make calling cards. The company has marketed a product called SpoofCard, which allows callers to change or hide their caller ID, and another called LoveDetect, which, according to a 2006 press release, allows callers “to determine their love interests’ true feelings.”

Check out the video here:


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