Sholom Rubashkin was not involved with Agriprocessors in its infant stages. In the early 1980â€™s, he traveled and taught the tenets of Judaism in Argentina. When he returned to New York he was introduced to and married Leah. After their marriage, the couple completed a traditional Jewish education in New York.
Subsequently, Sholom helped his mother in her restaurant (which was more like a soup kitchen) and then helped his father in the butcher shop.
In 1988, Sholom decided to move his family to Atlanta, Georgia where a new Rabbi had started a new synagogue. The Rabbi was trying to build and organize a new Jewish community. Sholom assisted in this project: he taught classes in language and religion to children, gave lectures to college students, and lead Bar Mitzvas. This was the most fulfilling time of Sholomâ€™s professional life.
By 1990, Aaron had repeatedly requested Sholom to get involved in Agriprocessors. Sholom resisted these requests because he was enjoying teaching, which he felt was his calling. Eventually Sholom acceded to his fatherâ€™s request and joined the Agriprocessors team. Sholom had received only a limited secular education, graduating from eighth-grade.
Sholom understood his obligation to Agriprocessors as one of faith and special familial obligation, based on the Commandment to â€œHonor thy Father and thy Mother.â€ He believed he owed a duty to his father Aaron, the Patriarch of the Rubashkins. The Rubashkins also saw Agriprocessors as a religious mission. Making Kosher products available to a broader community was a religious calling. Eventually, and in a very short period of time, Agriprocessors became the face of Kosher all over the world.
At Agriprocessors, Sholom began performing manual work on various lines. Ultimately, Sholom was assigned no specific role at Agriprocessors. Sholom moved his family to Postville in June, 1993 and tried to establish a permanent Jewish community there.
Sholom has always been a â€œproblem solverâ€. And so when Agriprocessors got into a serious financial crisis at the time he moved to Postville he subsequently became involved with monetary tasks in an attempt to save his fatherâ€™s plant, despite the fact that he had no formal financial training.