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Two Rabbis Charged With Plotting to Kidnap, Torture & Force Divorce

The FBI have arrested two rabbis, and two other men for plotting to kidnap, torture and force a religoius man to divorce his wife

By: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Published: October 10th, 2013 in News » World

Two Rabbis, Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark, and two other men, have been accused of plotting to kidnap, torture and force a man to give his wife a religious divorce, known as a ‘get’.

The rabbis are also accused of charging Jewish women and their families a fair sum (upwards to $60,000, according to the FBI) to obtain ‘gets’, from unwilling husbands. The costs were approximately $10,000 for the rabbinate to approve the kidnapping and torture the man, and $50,000 to pay the men to do it.

In very orthodox Jewish communities it can sometimes be a struggle to obtain a ‘get’, as only the men can grant a divorce. The women in these cases have the option to sue the men through the rabbinic council of her community.

According to the Washington Post, the FBI investigation took place in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York. FBI agents pretended to be a wife and her brother, trying to obtain a ‘get’ from their husband without having had any luck using conventional means. These agents ‘colluded’ with Rabbi Epstein during a meeting at his home in August, during which the rabbi specifically spoke about “kidnapping, beating and torturing husbands in order to force a divorce,” according to transcripts released by the FBI.

“Basically what we are going to be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple of hours and beating him up and torturing him and then getting him to give the get,” the rabbi also said.

Epstein also explicitly stated that he wanted to use a cattle prod to brutalize the disinclined husband, adding that the benefit would be that it would not leave a mark if used properly. Epstein is quoted as saying that this was a good way to keep police out of Jewish affairs, and not leaving any evidence.

Unfortunately, this may not be an isolated or even uncommon occurrence in this particular community. Rabbi Epstein “claimed that his organization kidnapped one recalcitrant husband approximately every year and a half.”

Related articles: Jewish News, FBI, Rabbis, Scandal, Jewish Divorce, Police
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