web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



FBI Arrests NY Rabbis for Beating Husbands Who Refuse Divorce

Many Jewish women suffer as “agunah,” unable to re-marry because their husbands refuse them divorces. Four Jews, two of them rabbis, allegedly took the law into their hands and beat husbands until they agreed.

FBI arrests "divorce gang" that kidnapped and beat husbands who refused a religious divorce for their wives.

FBI arrests "divorce gang" that kidnapped and beat husbands who refused a religious divorce for their wives.
Photo Credit: Screenshot

Share Button

The FBI raided a Monsey yeshiva Wednesday night and arrested four mean, including two rabbis, who allegedly kidnapped and beat recalcitrant husbands who had refused to grant their wives religious divorces and thereby prohibit them from re-marrying under Jewish law.

The “executors” used by the divorce gang included “electric cattle prods, karate, handcuffs and placed plastic bags over the heads of husbands,” the complaint charge stated.

The status of stranded Jewish women is known as “aguna” and is a problem that has received deserved focus in Israel and the Diaspora in recent years.

The FBI investigation and arrests bring to national attention the anguished situation of “aguna” women and perhaps will help put legal pressure on husbands who have separated from their wives but refuse to allow them to re-marry.

The suspects were arrested after a month-long sting operation in which a female FBI agent posed as an Orthodox woman trying to get a religious divorce from her husband. Another undercover agent posed as her brother.

Rabbis Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark, along with Ariel Potash and a fourth individual known as Yaakov, appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J. Six others could be charged, according to reports.

The FBI also raided Yeshiva Sha’arei Torah in Monsey and a yeshiva in Lakewood, N.J., Brooklyn and elsewhere.

The rabbis allegedly charged $10,000 to persuade the rabbis on the rabbinical court to approve kidnapping husbands, and another up to $60,000 to pay for others to abduct and beat husbands.

The FBI agents called Rabbi Wolmark in August and said they were “desperate for a religious divorce and were willing to pay a large sum of money to obtain a divorce,” according to the charge sheet.

“There are a couple of ways to do that,” Wolmark allegedly said in a recorded phone conversation. “You have to, we have to, convene a special Bet Din and see if there are grounds to, to, to coerce him on the ‘get’ [divorce decree].”

Wolmark allegedly added, “You need to get him to New York where someone either can harass him or nail him. Plain and simple,” he said, according to the complaint. The rabbi then set up a meeting between the undercover agents and Rabbi Epstein. A recorded conversation revealed that Rabbi Epstein spoke about “kidnapping, beating and torturing husbands in order to force a divorce.’

He allegedly added, “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.’”

One of the “tough guys,” supposedly Rabbi Epstein’s son, “uses his karate skills” on the victims, court papers said.

The FBI said the “divorce gang” has been operating for 20 years and that Rabbi Epstein said he carries out approximately one kidnapping a year.

Forcing husbands to grant a divorce is permitted under Jewish law, a rabbi told The Jewish Press Thursday. “Jewish law does not always seem humane, but it really is humane because physical force often is the only way to force angry husbands to release their wives from virtual bondage and to allow them to-remarry,” he said.

The rabbi added that rabbis often are blamed for the situation of the agunot but also are criticized for using force, recognized under Jewish law, to solve their dilemma.

He pointed out that force can be used only if a Bet Din [religious court] authorizes it and only if there are substantial reasons to order a divorce.

Share Button

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

24 Responses to “FBI Arrests NY Rabbis for Beating Husbands Who Refuse Divorce”

  1. Mike Kinghorn says:

    Religion is so awesome! You don't need to sell me on it any longer.all the love and tolerance you can stand.

  2. vintagepa says:

    Look at the agunah list in the Jewish Press.  There are names there for years of husbands who ignore the ruling of different bet dins.  While I don’t condone violence, in this case, it was deserved.

  3. Etta Chaya Brummel says:

    so this is a set-back, letting evil husbands be wimpy and use the only power they have over a woman. They hold back neshamas from being born, they hold back someoen elses happiness

  4. so this is a set-back, letting evil husbands be wimpy and use the only power they have over a woman. They hold back neshamas from being born, they hold back someoen elses happiness

  5. so this is a set-back, letting evil husbands be wimpy and use the only power they have over a woman. They hold back neshamas from being born, they hold back someoen elses happiness

  6. so this is a set-back, letting evil husbands be wimpy and use the only power they have over a woman. They hold back neshamas from being born, they hold back someoen elses happiness

  7. yissteinjd says:

    These “Rabbi” are heroes?? They were about to torture some guy on the say so of his “wife”? They issued a psak din based on testimony from a Goy about a man that didn’t exsist? These are thugs for hire. SHAME ON YOU

  8. yissteinjd says:

    Look at the list in the Jewish Press – how many of the Siruvs issued were signed by Wolmark – I know of a few. As this FBI investigation shows these “Bais Dins” that are issuing Siruvs and psak dinim are frauds and fakes. Its all about the money. Maybe this is why the husbands ignore the bais din.

  9. Dan Silagi says:

    He's as much of "tzaddikl" as the Ayatollah Khomeini.

  10. Let them move to Israel and act like this. They should all be in prison the rest of their life. Irregardless of 'Jewish' law this is kidnapping and torture, not allowed in any circumstance. Hope these idiots spend the rest of their life's behind bars.

  11. Let them spend the rest of their life's behind bars, you can worship them there. But for your average American kidnapping and torture is never allowed. You want to follow the Rambam like that move to Egypt.

  12. I do not defend the men who were kidnapped, but fact is no American deserves to be treated like this. These animals calling themselves Rabbis should go to prison for the rest of their lives. There is no such thing as 'justified kidnapping and torture' in America. If that is what Judaism is about, send these animals to Israel, but I am sure in Israel they would also be sent to prison. Put this mad man behind bars and leave him there till he dies.

  13. These rabbis acted like a bunch of thugs.
    They should have the word rabbi removed from their names.
    I hope they spend the rest of their life in prison and
    should never be able to walk the streets again.
    They are a danger to their community. and can do this
    again if let out.

  14. Alan Kardon says:

    So if I believe that the Rabbis and you are wrong I can beat you till you change your mind? Something tells me your thinking is not what Jewish teachings is about.

  15. Yechiel Baum says:

    It is a simple fix: It is the Rabbi's who declared that only husbands can divorce their wives and if these husbands are so vindictive to their ex-wives and family, then a Rabbi should simply declare the couple divorced and end the misery for the wife and let the families go on with their lives. Vengance is mine sayeth the Lord, not to be used by the husband as he is obviously not on the same level as Hashem. Until then, the husbands should be excumunicated from Judaism which will then free the wives from servitude to their husband

  16. Anonymous says:

    False. The law that the husband writes the get is plainly in the Torah, not made by rabbis.

  17. Vingore says:

    These women should just marry non-orthodox  Jews.

  18. BrianJLG says:

    Don’t like “goisher” standards? Move to Israel or Iran where you can behave like animals, then.

  19. BrianJLG says:

    So Jews really are no different from Muslims. Both will use sadistic violence to force others into religious acts. No wonder Jews have been exiled so many time. They are violent.

  20. Be very careful about using the Beth Din of America for your GET or other religious issue. Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz both have seruv’s against them. Prior judges on this court have had a multitude of problems. Read more about it at http://www.thebethdin.com. Too many Beth Dins are corrupt and dishonest. As for ORA, it is only a Mamzer factory.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest News Stories
South Florida teen stabbed in high school gym.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

Birkat Cohanim 2014

The Kotel Plaza, the stairs, the Kotel entrance, the roads, everything was packed for Birkat Cohanim – the Priestly Blessing of the People – now imagine if this had been held on top of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount!

Arab road terrorists often use huge boulders to create obstacle courses in the road to slow down drivers -- and then hurl huge rocks at their hapless victims in the hope of murdering them.

Four Israeli citizens were hurt Thursday in a road terror attack near Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence.

Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine this week were ordered to “register” themselves and their assets.

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Hebron is proving to be a popular family tourist site during the Passover Holiday.

Hundreds attended the funeral of Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrachi, who was slain by terrorists on Passover eve.

A local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The Israeli hi-tech company Matrix has announced it is opening a “massive training center” in Nanjing, China.

Rabbis have been busy with preparations for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, set for Thursday.

The suspect charged in the pre-Passover shooting deaths of three people outside two Kansas Jewish centers is a known white supremacist.

More than 400 people sat down at the first seder this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

PM Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority incitement for the terrorist murder of a police officer on Passover eve.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Police manhandle a youth in expulsion from the Hebron Peace house in December 2008.

The government’s approval of Jews moving into the Hebron building marks a return to a bit of political normalcy.

Israel is preparing a program to help absorb an increasing number of Jews making aliyah.

There is nothing like a good round of anti-Semitism to sober up Jews to move to Israel.

Card-carrying Israeli citizens in a totally Arab city in the western Galilee already are preparing celebrations for what they expect will be the return of their “heroes” who killed Israelis in terrorist attacks. The United States is trying to work out a deal with Israel to allow freeing several Arab terrorists with Israeli citizenship in […]

The BDS movement has done us a favor by showing the world they are idiots over the Scarlett-SodaStream duet.

Yesha leader have a problem condemning violence if it carried out “for the cause.”

The Sheldon Adelson Family Foundation has contributed $16.4 million to the Israel Lunar Project to build the world smallest spacecraft that SpaceIL hopes to land on the moon. The donation is nearly half of the project’s budget, estimated at $36 million. SpaceIL is an Israeli non-profit founded at the end of 2010 by three young […]

It might be best to say the Traveler’s Prayer on the airplane before putting on tefillin.

It won’t happen so soon, but it is only a matter of time until Jewish in Efrat finally can be like Jews in Tel Aviv.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/fbi-arrests-ny-rabbis-for-beating-husbands-refusing-divorce/2013/10/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: