Thursday, October 10, 2013
A Jewish husband won't agree to a divorce, so a couple of rabbis make him an offer he can't refuse
FBI agents have arrested two rabbis and accused them of plotting to kidnap and torture a man in order to force him to agree to a religious divorce. Trouble is, their female client was actually an undercover agent. “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" agree to the divorce, one of the men says on tape. The fee of about $60,000 included the use of electric cattle prods and other techniques that wouldn't leave marks. It's not clear whether the men have actually carried out any such kidnappings, though they boasted to their would-be client that they did so about every 18 months. Why would their services be necessary? Because in many Orthodox Jewish communities, a divorce can take place only when the husband agrees. In addition to rabbis Martin Wolmark and Mendel Epstein, at least eight others have been arrested in New York and New Jersey in the sting operation. Wolmark's lawyer calls it a "complex case" and says that the use of coercion against reluctant husbands is an "old tradition."