Religious Divorces . . . electric cattle prods not recommended

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Religious Divorces on Monday, October 14, 2013.

Each religion has its own requirements for completing a divorce. Islam has a waiting period. The Catholic Church has the Decree of Invalidity and other remedies so spouses are free to marry again. In Judaism, a husband must give his wife a “Get”. But if a stubborn husband won’t provide one, there may or may not be civil remedies in Florida courts. If there isn’t though, can you kidnap and use an electric cattle prod to coerce a husband into signing a Get? That’s a question now being answered in a U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

As the New York Daily News Reports:

Two rabbis plotted to kidnap Jewish husbands, torture them with electric cattle prods and force them to grant their desperate wives religious divorces, the feds charged Thursday. Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 68, of Brooklyn and Rabbi Martin Wolmark, 55, of Monsey, Rockland County, were among 10 people arrested in the barbarous scheme with tentacles that ran all the way to the rabbinical court. Epstein is accused of running an unholy crew that charged women trapped in marital limbo $70,000 to $100,000 to strong-arm their stubborn husbands into granting a Jewish divorce known as a “get,” a criminal complaint reveals.

According to reports, the police also arrested two other men – Ariel Potash whose role was to act as the wife’s agent to accept the get in the religious divorce ceremony, and a man identified only as “Yaakov” who was apparently one of the “toughs.”

The criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney paints a gruesome picture:

We prefer not to leave a mark,” Epstein allegedly told the undercover agent. “Basically the reaction of the police is, if the guy does not have a mark on him then, uh, is there some Jewish crazy affair here. They don’t want to get involved.”

Bad advice. The arrests came after two undercover FBI agents – one posing as a wife and the other as her brother – were charged $10,000 for approval by a rabbinical court of a kidnapping and $50,000 to $60,000 to pay those who roughed up the purported husband.

A rabbinical court in Monsey, New York, presided over by Rabbi Wolmark, actually approved the kidnapping plan last week by issuing a ruling (psak din) after the purported husband failed to respond to a contempt order (seruv) issued by the religious court.