New York – FBI Lead Raid On Monsey Yeshiva; Prominent Brooklyn Rabbi Arrested

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    FBI agents conducting a raid in Flatbush at the home of Brooklyn Rabbi Mendel Epstein late night Oct. 9 2013 (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)New York – An FBI raid on a Monsey yeshiva late Wednesday resulted in four arrests, including three rabbis who are charged with pressuring Orthodox Jewish men into granting religious divorces to their wives in exchange for money.

    WABC NEWS (http://bit.ly/1acvDrY) is reporting that Rabbi Mendel Epstein, Rabbi Martin Wolmark, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, as well as a fourth man, Ariel Potash, were all taken into custody in connection with the raid that was conducted at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Yeshiva Shaarei Torah in Monsey.

    Sources say six others were taken into custody, but as of yet have not been charged.

    Sources also reported that FBI agents served a search warrant at Rabbi Epstein’s residence in Flatbush last night.

    An FBI spokesman would only say that the investigation is “ongoing,” and has spread into Brooklyn.

    A source has told VIN NEWS that those arrested are likely facing charges of money laundering, as well.

    A source close to the investigation said that the ring involved Orthodox wives seeking divorce making payments to the rabbis—in some cases up to $100,000—who then facilitated the divorce, often through violent means, with the rabbis hiring thugs to beat the Orthodox Jewish husbands into agreement.

    The source said the ring has been in existence for more than 20 years.

    Several students said they were inside the yeshiva when the raid began, and that they were ushered into the parking lot immediately.

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    147 COMMENTS

    1. The chickens are coming home to roost! In the 80’s and 90’s law enforcement was busy apprehending the mafia and now it’s us. How many cases have been started by disenfranchised individuals who see through this mirage created by our so called “Rabbis”.
      Time to go back to the basics – Shabbos, Kashrus, loving your fellow neighbor…and not how one looks to fit into the silliness of communal life!

      How many more warnings do we need???

    2. Great story and great news, and let this be a lesson especially for some other groups ( like Vaad Hatznius etc) that think that they can get away with stuff like that, your day will come and you will have to answer.

      I know a person that the Vaad blackmailed him with a penalty or they will expose his work ( not illegal but not yiddishkeit) and they extorted a lot of money from him, I know he is working with the feds, and eventually they will pay a hefty price.

      these days of intimidation are long long gone!

    3. If found guilty, those “rabbis” should be given life without parole.
      The torah gave the right for You husband to refuse giving a get and they had no right taking that away.

      • The same Torah that gave the husband the right not to give a divorce is the same one that under certain circumstances says you can force one to give a divorce!!!

        I am not saying that that is the case here just that it could go both ways.

      • You’re right. And no one took away that right. All they did was have a conversation with the yetzer hara and beat the yetzer hara out of the husband which was preventing him from wanting to give the get. Once the yetzer hara was gone, the yetzer tov prevailed and gave the wife a get.

      • Some of the things I’ve seen men do with the get is the most disgusting things I’ve seen. I’ve seen them withhold a get for money from her or her family, or just being stubborn saying if you don’t want to be with me I won’t let you be with anybody. I’ve seen women wait for years to get a get. Very happy that kesubas and prenups now have a get disclaimer in there.

        • No this gang also believes so.

          Back to reality, am I the only one who thinks someone should be sticking up for tortured men?

          Hashem guides the world, and a B”D can use their normal means by issuing a Psak. In a lot of these cases it’s clearly the woman who use blackmail and the husband is only using his leverage.

          But if someone is making money by torturing other people (I’m glad VIN didn’t post the details of the accusations put against them, I’m still shuttering after reading it hours ago) he is a bastard, Period.

      • You have a goyish kop. The Torah doesn’t give us rights, it gives us commandments. Rights are things non-Jews are worried about. And we are commanded to divorce our wife without conditions if we don’t want to be married to her any longer. Furthermore, coercion for a mitzvah is totally permitted on the order of a beit din. The *only* thing that doesn’t permit a beit din to beat recalcitrant husbands until he relents is secular law.

    4. Kol hakovod to the police and district atttorney for taking down these dreche yidden who would hold agunot for ransom. They should rot in jail for the rest of their lives if found guilty. After the Dwek episode in New Jersey, SMR, the Spinka,e tc. I was hoping we had seen the end of these episodes where rabbonim are alledged to have engaged in felonies, tax evasion, fraud and extortion.

      • ” I was hoping we had seen the end of these episodes where rabbonim are alledged to have engaged in felonies, tax evasion, fraud and extortion.”

        then what would they do to make a living? rabbonus aint what it used to be. today its all about criminal activites and covering up abuse and molestation. let’s not forget that they demand kovod too.

      • I, for one, am not mekane you for linking Dwek and SMR. One is a mosor while the other is a witchhunt victim. If you cannot see that… you are either blinded by hate or by ignorance of the true facts. Either way you are smart to post anonymously.

        • That’s funny – so “REALIST” is less anonymous than “Anonymous”? That’s about how in touch with reality you apparently are. SMR and Dwek – both criminals, both doing the time. At least Dwek has the zechus of taking a bunch of other corrupt so-called frum people with him.

          • InsideOne means you were convicted already? Or couldn’t make bail yet? DWEK HAS A ZCHUS YOU SAY? He may be the only guy that if he commits suicide would get a mitzva!! The concept, issur, and history of mesira is a total unknown to you obviously. Educate yourself a bit.

        • Both are convicted felons in the eyes of the goyim…thats the point!!! When the world sees frum yidden in black hats, streimlach and bekeshes being handcuffed and dragged off to jail, they reinforce a stereotype that already associateds “jews and financial exploitation, scams etc.” Do you really think that 99 percent of the goyim who watched the seemingly endless news reports of the Iowa raids, the arrest of a yid in yeshivish lvush, the conviction for multiple felonies and 27 year sentence really thinks he is the victim of an anti-semitic witchhunt? Even most yidden assume he is guilty as charged, albeit with an excessive sentence.

    5. Wait a minute. Isn’t it somewhat useful to have a group of people that can pressure husbands to give their wives gets? I’m not saying they are tzaddikim but there is some toeles is there not?

        • I understand that but they were basically paid to do something that Batei Din have done in the past. The beatings themselves had some halachic history behind them. The only issue is them taking money.

          • And none of this will work when they appear before the judge. Don’t forget the charges range from kidnapping to extortion and whenever the FEDS are involved it’s never pretty. It’s 20 years worth of activities.

        • i was a client of rabbi epstien. in my experience the money paid to him was for his services as an in demand toen, just like a high priced lawyer. because he was that good and fought hard for women. he wasnt paid specifrically for coercing the husband.

          • yes, but were you aware of the tactics he used? see the article on the nbc web site. kidnapping, cattle prods, plastic bags over the heads, etc. And if you did pay him, like you would a lawyer, then that money should have been payed legtitamately, with epstein paying his fair share or taxes. While I understand that freeing you was a good thing, the methods used are illegal. I agree with TexasJew, our gedolim (if we have any), should add an amendment to the kesuba which gives the man X number of days to give a get in case the marriage does not last.

      • “Isn’t it somewhat useful to have a group of people that can pressure husbands to give their wives gets?”

        Apparently, you have not heard of a גט מעושה (given under compulsion), and the inherent problems therein. The article states, “….. who then facilitated the divorce, often through violent means, with the rabbis hiring thugs to beat the Orthodox Jewish husbands into agreement. “

        If hiring thugs to beat the husband into agreement is not a גט מעושה, I don’t know what is.

        • there are opther opinions on that, and there are legitimate grounds to be makil. true tzaddikim have gone to the very limits of halacha to provide heterim for agunos. in many cases even the strictest rav will be makil for a case of an agunah. those gitten are kosher.

        • Kofin osoh ad sheyomar rotzeh ani
          And the Rambam famously explains that the reason that works halachikly even though you technically need ratzon is that every Jew deep down really does want to do the right thing – and witholding a get and creating an agunah is clearly not right – so eventhough he was forced it still is in line with his essential ratzon…

      • Unfortunately, this group was looking to make a quick buck, gangster style. Yes, a good advocacy group is needed that should be highly trained with all possible skills in mediating these difficulties.

        • and you know this how? have you ever been a woman held hostage by a usband for a get? i was. i have a dear friend who has been chained to her husband for five years. he left her because he dicided she wasnt pretty anymore after three kids but he wont give her a get unless she signs over full custody to him. he has left her broke, while he can drag it out for years because he is a lawyer and doesnt have to pay legal fees to anyone. he still has never given her a real reason why he left her, but he wont let any other man have her either. she is a prisoner. now does a man like this not deserve to have the evil beat out of him? i was an agunah once. i was a client of rabbi epstien. and while i was dissalusioned with him to a point after working with him, he does not deserve THIS! no man with the title rabbi has EVER fought as hard and a vocally for the rights of women as he has. he once went to panama himself to retreive a get and the kidnapped child of an aguna whos husband had taken their son and fled there.

          • I wish you to get some of the services he provides, and then rewrite your article.

            Difficult issues don’t justify organized mafia. What’s so difficult to understand? Had your by any chance received some treatment? Then you may be next.

          • Madam tweedledee:
            You are mendel epstein’s daughter! It’s no coincidence that you are a divorce lawyer and that you are barred from practice in many states. Undoubtedly, you are extremely nervous and awaiting the knock on your door. You will be identified as a co-conspirator and charged with promoting your father complicity in these dirty illegal activities. Taking $50 – 60,000 dollars or more for coerceing religious (non-kosher)divorces is blatant. The Rabbinate in Israel does not accept mendel epstein’s gitten. How much is that worth? You masquarade as an agunah. Heaven has a funny way of manipulating events and dynamics and ultimately you will be an agunah. Sad, very sad, that you and your father were exploiting unfortunate women.
            Interesting that noone is talking about epsteins affiliation with a girls school in flatbush where a lot of money vanished and epstein had to leave in disgrace.
            Proverbial “tip of the iceberg.”

            • You’re out of your mind. I know that daughter, there’s no chance she’d be anywhere near this site let alone posting.
              And everything else you said is blatant lies, motzei sheim rah, and loshon harah.
              Its easy to post annonymously, but Gd knows exactly who you are.

            • Insider. Please attack the issues at hand and not people. It seems that you and scum as yourself are the reason that R Epstein and his consorts are absolutely necessary for the jewish community. The rabbinate in israel not accepting his gitin and some other of your statements…. ts ts ts

        • You are talking out of sheer ignorance and definitely not out of your head.

          Putting committees and bais dins together To deal with these matters in a more rational way as you put it Is simply useless, “You must realize that these husbands have already gone through all of what you are suggesting but still refuse to give the get”!!
          So the only solution that is left is to allow people that could behave to them the same way as they are behaving to their poor chained Aguna’s. Since that is the only language they understand.

    6. If a divorce must happen the. It shouldn’t happen by force. There should be a bet din court that can grant divorces after a trial reviewing the facts. You see these rabbis allegedely broke both Torah and civil law to maintain the divorce system in place. On that premise why would they not simply change the law of how to give the women her desired divorce by way of a specially formulated bet din of divorce?!?

      • You really don’t know much about the Torah and Halacha, do you? The reason MAN is the one that is obligated to give and not a woman is because he is obligated to get married. She does not have to get married. Therefore, “he acquires he retires”.

        PEACENOW? Why not create a special place that is “specially formulated” for the ill advised movement and send them all over there.

    7. Finally, this is way over-due. Epstein is nothing more than a gangster. I wish I had seen some additional names here, but I am sure the FBI is up to them too. Every dog has its day.

      • The Rambam paskens כופין לו עד שאומר רוצה אני. There is some merit in forcing the husband to give a get ant not leave his wife an agunah. The problem I have is the extortion.
        Who reported the case, the husband who was beaten or the agunah who wanted out? It would very telling.

    8. כל שאינו בקי בטיב גיטין וקדושין אל יהא לו עסק עימהן -קדושין י”ג

      that applies for the ‘rabbis’ as well commenting’s

    9. Chazal teach us Mishnah in Pirkei Avos 3:2 to “pray for the welfare of the government, because if people did not fear it, a person would swallow his fellow alive.”

    10. I don’t know where you get your info from, but my husband learns in a kollel located in that yeshiva and was there during the raid last night, he remained in the building until the end of night seder! No one was forced out, if someone left they were not allowed to reenter until Maariv!

    11. These people were providing a valuable service. Now, where will trapped husbands turn? Whoever was involved in a case of a woman chained by a psychopathic husband would look at this matter differently. These husbands do not deserve our sympathy and deserve everything coming to them.

      Although these rabbis might have stepped outside the boundaries of the law, they still performed a valuable service that is morally justified.

      • While I can’t talk for all cases it generally goes like this. The woman either demands money or full custody rights with very limited vistation rights to the husband. Then the husband refuses the woman’s outrageous demands. The lady then goes to these gangsters and cries aguna. I have seen more cases this way then the other way. Did you ever hear about the guy who shot his father then ran around screaming he is a yosim. This is the same thing. The whole aguna thing has to be taken with a grain of salt.
        One more pointer the gemara uses aguna in refernce to a husband that disappeared, whom we can’t find (building collapase IE twin towers nebach). The notion that refusing a get makes a lady an aguna is incorrect. That is not the definiton of an aguna. Of course I am not advocating husbands taking advantage by withholding gitten. That’s immoral but its not an aguna problem.

        • I’ve once heared a story about a woman who locked out her husband Ereve shaobbos a few minutes before the Shkiah, and left him the whole shabbos without his Bekitshe and Shtreimel. Then when he refused for a while a get, she cried Aguna.

          • “and left him the whole shabbos without his Bekitshe and Shtreimel. “
            a WHOLE shabbos without those?? Oh my! a fate worse than death. You win the prize for stupidest comment.

          • It doesn’t look like you heard the whole story because you’ve left out why this woman locked her husband out of the house. This is not something that is done for no reason. What did the husband do that made his wife so angry that she couldn’t bear for him to be in her home?

            • Not all the time do husbands/ wives do something to trigger it. Sometimes no matter how hard one spouse tries the other just hates them anyway. I know first hand. A friend of mine who tried everyting to stay married but whose wife just couldn’t stand him. (yes probably if he was a lawyer making 200K instead of a shlepper making 30K it would have helped. But he worked hard its just what he was that she resented.)

    12. יבמות ק”ו, וכן אתה אומר בגיטי נשים, כופין אותו עד שיאמר רוצה אני

      ברטנורא, כל מי שדינו שכופין אותו לגרש ולא רצה לגרש בי”ד של ישראל מכין אותו עד שיאמר רוצה אני, ונותן הגט והוא כשר

      well torturing the husband physically is against the domestic law, but if the wife is ‘willing’ to pay up! legally, than the bais din has legal ways how to thread on the husband, until he says : רוצה אני

      • According to the gemora you can force ONLY where/when It’s according to halocho but this guy NEVER even listened to the husband, because his specialty was making money through terror

        • Your are right on target.
          The actions of mendel epstein, et al, were absolutely not in accordance with Halacha.
          The make-believe husband was never invited to a beis din, nor had a beis din ever formally convened wherein the supposed husband could have come and explain and defend his position, even if wrong.
          Should the supposed husband have been given the opportunity, he could have hired any of a number of such toenim (beis din lawyers) who would, for a price, have aggressively defenended him. A situation in which epstein could not and would not have attempted his outrageous solution.
          The epstein actions specifically described do not resemble any Halachic proceeding.
          Period. The fiction of this having been a legitimate beis din function was to bolster the $50-60,000 price tag.
          This is gangsterism, plain and simple.

      • If a woman goes to Bais Din for the whole divorce process and settles it like the Torah said to settle a divorce than you can apply
        יבמות ק”ו, וכן אתה אומר בגיטי נשים, כופין אותו עד שיאמר רוצה אני
        But if a woman goes to court and gets the house, the kids (him no visitation rights), alimony and child support than all of a sudden she runs to bais din just for the Jewish paper work it is clear that the Gimorah does not apply. The only protection a Jewish man has against a woman of stripping him of all he has is a Halachik divorce.

    13. The issue is extortion n money laundering
      מצד הלכה שוחד ועיוות הדין

      אבל להתיר עגונה הנה הרמבם..

      הרמב”ם מסביר את הביטוי: “כופין אותו עד שיאמר רוצה אני” (הל’ גירושין פ”ב ה”כ):
      מי שהדין נותן שכופין אותו לגרש את אשתו ולא רצה לגרש, בית דין של ישראל בכל מקום ובכל זמן מכין אותו עד שיאמר רוצה אני ויכתוב הגט והוא גט כשר, וכן אם הכוהו גוים ואמרו לו עשה מה שישראל אומרין לך, ולחצו אותו ישראל ביד הגוים עד שיגרש הרי זה כשר… ולמה לא בטל גט זה שהרי הוא אנוס בין ביד גוים בין ביד ישראל, שאין אומרין אנוס אלא למי שנלחץ ונדחק לעשות דבר שאינו מחוייב מן התורה לעשותו, כגון מי שהוכה עד שמכר או נתן, אבל מי שתקפו יצרו הרע לבטל מצוה או לעשות עבירה והוכה עד שעשה דבר שחייב לעשותו או עד שנתרחק מדבר שאסור לעשותו אין זה אנוס ממנו, אלא הוא אנס עצמו בדעתו הרעה, לפיכך זה שאינו רוצה לגרש מאחר שהוא רוצה להיות מישראל – רוצה הוא לעשות כל המצות ולהתרחק מן העבירות, ויצרו הוא שתקפו, וכיון שהוכה עד שתשש יצרו ואמר רוצה אני כבר גרש לרצונו.

      • Your rambam is only applicable if the din is to force a guy to give a get. What makes that din occur? A normal get fight does not make such psak. Thats only in extreme cases that hlacha brings down where you can force a husband.

      • Only issue would be if the rabbis were taking money in order to have this done. If they were doing without receiving payment then what they did is 100% alpi halacha. Lets give the rabbanim the benefit of the doubt and not jump to conclusions. Nobody posting here really knows what they are talking about, lets wait and see what happens and daven this won’t be another massive chillul hashem. I love cholent.

      • And where does the רמב”ם write that she also gets the house the kids, alimony and child support? if she wants to go through the goiyisha court than her divorce has nothing to do with the רמב”ם !!!

    14. These guys are thugs. Lets hope the other gangsters in this business, such as the one mentioned above in the comments,are taken off the streets. These thugs live large off of other peoples blood.

    15. Wow, just wow! Plastic bags, cow prods and warehouses. However, this is my all time favorite line..

      “…to get the rabbis on the rabbinical court to approve the kidnapping….”

      Hmm…isn’t that “kinda” like….”go burn down the dissenter’s house to get him out of NS….”

      Awaiting the community spokesperson’s spin on this. News 12, please go find Yossi, this story needs some entertainment value.

      Wow, and all in the name of religion.
      “Gotta” love it.

      Luke.

    16. The FBI is saying the investigation is ongoing, sadly enough many commenters her are making conclusion based on there agendas, this busted ring could be the same as the busted ring from Dwek , which by now everybody knows there was no ring, it was individual incidents, and a crime of the FBI to challenge people into doing criminal activities, just for there agendas.

      • “many commenters her are making conclusion based on there agendas”
        feel free to go to nbc news or abc news and see what these “holy rabbonim” said to the undercover FBI agent. Kidnapping, torture, etc. And still, people like you, who are deaf, dumb, and blind to anything a man with a long beard does, go on defending them.

      • money laundering with Dwek was “just individual incidents”? That was a LOT of individual incidents. Once they have one or two incidents on record they dont sit around recording forever…they have enough to go forward. Are you suggesting that anyone who was sentenced for money laundering with Dwek got caught on the one time they were involved in an activity like that or were you just being sarcastic?

    17. the loshon hora here is appalling. i am a former agunah who was a client of rabbi epstien and no one fought harder than he did. yes i paid him because i was purchasing his services, the way i would pay a lawyer. he didnt take money specifically to free me. He published a booklet of warning signs for women to look out for in shidduchim that i distributed to all my friends. they way that commenters here are assuming he took bribes to hold women hostage is a slap in the face to all he has done. yes he broke alot of rules to make things happen because unfortubately there is not straught and narrow way to make things happen in our system. i am horrified at how people here are rejoicing at his mosfortune just because he has the title rabbi. some of you are so dripping with hatred and venom that you salivate at seeing anyone with a beard suffer. you are disgusting.

      • This discussion should have a little more nuance. Specifically, #58 gave a very compelling argument in favor of Rabbi Epstein. There are important questions that must be raised in light of this incident. How far can one morally go in resolving agunah issues? At what point does such a get become a get me’usah? Did Rabbi Epstein convene a formal Beis Din in order to invoke “kofin oso ad sheyomar rotzeh ani”? Would we be as judgemental if the agunah herself had hired the thugs?

      • thank you for posting this.
        I too know him personally. The things people are saying are horrifying. He is a to’en, hired by both men and women to help attain a get- thats certainly not extortion. Regardless, in this business he’s bound to make some enemies. Still, he’s not one dimensional. He is also a talmin chacham who spends a lot of his time learning. He’s baal chessed and tzeddaka and has done some much good for the people around him and the klal.

        People, PLEASE, he is a fellow yid, be dan l’kaf z’chus, treat him as YOU would want to be treated.

        • “He is also a talmin chacham who spends a lot of his time learning. He’s baal chessed and tzeddaka and has done some much good for the people around him and the klal. “

          Kidnapping and attempted murder is not really doing much good for our people. Stop making excuses for our worst criminals. Set a good example for our kinder.

    18. In the Modern Orthodox communities we don’t have these problems now because everyone signs a prenuptial agreement that in case the marriage ends in divorce, the man must give his wife a get within 90 days or pay his spouse a fine for every day it is delayed. Then they can work out the details in a civil court.
      It’s time for this practice to take place all over the country, especially in the Careidi world.

    19. While some are already call them thugs and Chayos, “what are we supposed to do to a thug husband that refuses to give a get after years & years just for the sake of chaining the wife to an invisible jail”? Who would you turn to to take care of the matter if you were such a wife that already spent much more on legal fees just to run around in circles?

      The word has it that they did a terrific job in these cases and got the thug husband to finally agree to give the get. Their time is not free. If they will stop, after a little while we will have lots of Chained Agunas to deal with.

    20. Was your husband kidnapped and tortured? Maybe not but take this to the other side. Imagine if your son (because he didn’t have a booklet to read like the ones you gave out) married a crazy woman who eventually divorced him and would not let him see the kids so she paid to have him tortured and beat up and kidnapped and held with a plastic bag over his head…hmmm… the point is – yes there are horrible husbands and there are horrible wives but kidnapping , torture, paying for kidnapping and torture – these are all behaviors that lower the moral and ethical standards of the community. Instead of engaging in these activities, the Rabbis should either be advocating for as no. 59 said – halachic prenups or come up with another solution, Wen the solution lowers the bar of the reaction to violence so low – you get communities who think its OK to burn a house with people inside because they daven in the wrong shul…. eventually the violence will get to everyone for some action or opinion others that dont like…it is a slippery slope Very slippery..you don’t even know how slippery…

    21. tweedledee!

      while I feel for your situation, I am the other guy who had no problem signing the get but mendel is a con artist.

      we went to him as a mediator he managed to convince my ex to hire him as her toen.

      this guy is scum he only complicated things which made matters worse..

    22. CHEVRA IS IT RIGHT FOR A HUSBAND TO HOLD BACK A GET TO HIS WIFE? think its high time that if a husband doesnt give a get a bais din should invalid the marriage .

    23. There are many sides to this and many aspects of agunah.

      Some claim someone is guilty once they separate they should give a get. This is a major story of 2 families of big Rabaniim where one is willing to blame the other for no get, while the other holds that I do not have to give a get until we finish our civil divorce. Yet I have seen people scream on blogs about the guy not giving a get right away. Minute a guy refuses until things are settled with the children, and the divorce finalized he gets ostracized.

      Then there is the fact that us women are powerless when it does shift the other way and people wait years. I know of a friend who waited a decade while her husband went to jail and refused to give a get. He then ran away to Israel and still refused. He only in the past few years finally gave her a get. She was a true agunah a hostage.

      In today society there is a hard balance between freeing these women and helping them and Civil law, potential for huge Chillul hashem. While if accurate I can not blame them for trying to free the women. Alas we should all stop pointing fingers about it, nothing we type here can help only what we type can hurt others.

    24. Hey, I know a few “families” in New Jersey who would “off” the dude for far less than $100K. Seems like a more permanent solution.

      Just sayin’…

      Luke.

    25. I have heard it all. Woman who go to secular court and take the husband for everything and then complain they are agunahs.They are because they did not try to solve the get problem through a beis din. Then there are the husband who are looking for the father in law to set him up for life of Riley. Their a women who are agunahs because their husband went off the derick and is no longer Shommer Torah and mitzvahs or even Jewish any more. I have seen wives refuse gets because they are off the dereck and make it hard on their husbands to get remarried. There are many many different situations. I hat the smug people who post here how glad about this take down; well don’t be so glad because there are families being ruined and it is nothing to laugh about. Some people like Rebushkin who is sitting in Jail and really really is innocent and the judge should be in jail for what she did. Even if they are wrong what about their familes. Remember a sign of a Jewish is RACHAMIM.

      • “Some people like Rebushkin who is sitting in Jail and really really is innocent and the judge should be in jail for what she did. Even if they are wrong what about their familes. Remember a sign of a Jewish is RACHAMIM.”

        Oh my, you are still whining about “Rebushkin.” Hopefully, these thugs will stay in jail just as long. They won’t get the same Judge, but the NY Judges can be just as tough. Look at Weberman.

        • I agree with you about Weberman but other cases are not so clear cut. I still say we have to have Rachamim on the family. I am not stupid to not know what goes on but I also know how hard it is as frum Jewish man not to cave into their biggest taiva of money. Some use gambling, women, drinking and drugs and the frum man is MONEY. I don’t justify any wrong one bit but we still need to think about families getting hurt. I myself have been serious damage over people not paying their bills for the taiva for money;however I have not run to the secular court even though I had permission to do so. I remember there is Hashem in the world. No more what punishment they will get from secular courts; bigger punishments will come from Hashem. I know familes whose husband have gotten life in prison for 3 strikes you are out law in New York; and their families are hurting, physically and emotionally. If they would remember a person only gets what Hashem decrees on Rosh Hashanah we won’t be reading these stories.

    26. Epstein did not just take on the case of any crazy women who wanted a divorce. He tried to work with the husband first. Only if the husband turned out to be an evil psychopath who would not listen to any reason would he use force. In our reality this was unfortunately necessary and it was the only hope for these chained women. Now who will they turn to?

      I am also very interested in which Heimishe lady set the trap for these rabbis. She really did a disservice to people of her gender. I bet you she turns out be be a peice of garbage who got into a legal mess. Once her identity is known people will have a different opinion.

      • This comment is ridiculous. “he tried to work with the husband first” Really. Might this be the ONE and only case where he didnt follow that rule? Did the FBI produce a husband for him to work with before Epstein sent the thugs to check out the warehouse. Before he collected the money? Did he even meet the so -called (non-existant) husband? If he really did try to work with them there wouldn’t be any story, There wouldnt be any arrest because he probably would have figured out it was a set up…Furthermore it is much more likely that a man set the trap after being beaten or kidnapped… if a man would you say he is probably a piece of garbage in a legal mess?

      • I am also very interested in which Heimishe lady set the trap for these rabbis. She really did a disservice to people of her gender.

        I pity your husband!

    27. Yasher Koach to all our leaders who can’t manage to put aside their egos, pettiness, and selfishness to unify and bring some order to the bais din system.

      Your inaction has brought this machleh upon us. How bitter and sad it is that the closest thing to din torah many women can come to is this dirtball and his cronies. For years I have heard unverified rumors about women being held up for their shtaros at the end of the ‘get’ process, until they pay a second ransom, this one to Epstein himself! As I said, I have never verified these rumors as true, but no one ever told such stories about the Chofetz Chaim ztz”l.

      As #9 astutely pointed out, the most disturbing aspect of this story is that while (the allegations) are shocking, they are not in the least bit surprising.

      Klal Yisroel is like a ship adrift at sea without a captain. We are being piloted by bottom tier seaman, who instead of looking for a real captain are busy fighting amongst themselves about who gets to sit at the Captain’s table, who has the nicest uniform.

      Bans on books and music, condemnation of more modern institutions, and non-stop warnings about the internet.

    28. I personally know of a case where the wife used the child as leverage and refused to accept the get unless her husband agreed to her outrageous terms. When she didn’t receive what she wanted, she screamed she was an Agunah and that Beis Din should force the issue. Luckily, Beis Din knew the facts (they had the court records from the civil proceedings and knew both sides) and told her she was in the wrong. She still has not gotten the Get and she keeps jumping from one Beis Din to another.

      It is not always about trying to keep the husband from “chaining” his wife. Sometimes it is about the wife “chaining” her husband so he can not move on and get remarried.

    29. One thing that is very apparent from all of the postings is that there needs to be some resolution to the issues arising from divorce. If we cannot get our rabbonim to find some way, of course within what is permitted by halacha, to insure that men are not being extorted to give gets and women are not punished for the rest of their lives by men who spitefully refuse to grant gets, these problems will continue to poison the community.

    30. Yidden need to start following the law. If they do not wish to be a part of the society that they live in, they need to at least respect the conforms of that society. Do men sometimes withhold a Get unfairly, yes. Do women sometimes use children as a bargaining chip, yes. Do we have a right to address these problems in an illegal manner, no.

    31. I have first-hand experience with one of these Rabbi’s as a student in his yeshiva. I think it says a lot about him that his parting words to me were, and I quote verbatim, “If you ever step foot in this city again I will tear your skin apart!”

      I will not rejoice in the downfall of my enemy. But, anyone who thinks that these individuals were looking out for the public’s good to help Aguna’s acquire a Get, is so sorely mistaken. It is time for the Yeshiva world to stand up and stop being victimized by power hungry psychopaths.

      Yes, there are good Rabbi’s out there. But just like politics it attracts a certain type of personality who gets off on power through the manipulation and control of others.

    32. Plainly, this message needs repeating.
      The Official Rabbinate in Israel, which includes every city and every chief rabbi, does not accept a get that has Mendel Epstein’s signature. We do not have an official rabbinate here in the United States. If we did, a get from Mendel Epstein would not accepted. Obviously, you now know why.
      That also means that any money paid to Mendel Epstein for get was fraudulently taken by him, regardless whether the get was routine or the product of physical violence.

    33. It is about time that action was taken against those domestic religious terrorists. What they have done, is no different than what the religious police in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan routinely do. There will be no plea bargains, and I predict that they will all serve long jail terms!

    34. If it is true that Mendel was kidnapping people once a year, where are all the people he kidnapped ? Why aren’t they stepping forward. He may have said it all on tape, but it was all fluff. He was never going to go ahead with it. His bark is much bigger than his bite. The jury will see straight through this. I am going to start going to jury duty !!!! Not guilty !!!!

      • How do yo think the FBI got onto this? It was a group of rabbanim that reported it. These people even threatened the lives of certain gedolim who tried to stop them

    35. This people are horrible. They kidnapped the nephew of the Tarkikov Rebbe and tortured him with cattle-prods to give a get. In that case he was willing to get a get but the wifes family wanted a lot of money, and they did that to him. They also threatened the life of Rav Zelik Epstein ZT’L because he opposed them. The backed off when he threatened to go to the FBI and blackmailed them. Also this was not a legit bais din recognized by anyone. Also Rav Elya Svei (and several Chassidish Rebbes’) said that we have a chiyuv to work with the FBI and lock them up. Rav Elya also said that these people caused many mamzairim. The FBI has only 20 confirmed tortured but think it could be as many as 100, and over 2000 threatened. These people were not a legit bais din (with no dayanim) recognized by anyone, they never held a bais din and listened to hoth sides. They took 100,000 from the womans side and went on this horrible activites. Don’t you dare defend people who torture rebbe’s nefews, not a legit bais din, never listened to the men’s said. And gedolim like Rav Elya says we should help lock them up.

      • When I said Rav Elya ZT”L, he said this several years back when he tried to stop these people (before he was niftar). Rav Elya said that these people caused more mamzerim than anyone he knew of. Already according to the FBI rabbanim are helping them and so should we

      • great comment thank you for writing everything except for the line about defending people who torture rebbe’s nephews. I am not chassidish so I dont think ordinarry people are less important than rebbe’s nephews. The idea that a rebbe’s nephew is worse to beat than an ordinary person is horrifying to me but I guess you grew up convinced that rebbe’s nephews are more important than regular people so i cant blame you.

    36. As a women who was helped by Rabbi Epstein, I read these comments and feel obliged to share my experience. I was separated from my ex for close to three years with no progress towards a get due to my ex’s stalling and an ineffective Bais Din system. I met with Rabbi Epstein, who immediately got the process going. There was no extortion, no exorbitant fees and no talk of any of this type of nonsense. Rabbi Epstein was a true gentleman throughout the year it took until the get was issued. He charged me for his time, and that was it. I did not pay more than 4-5 grand, and that included several full day sessions, dealing with my ex and the Bais din, and finishing the matter efficiently. All done happily, with a smile and honest caring. This is the Rabbi Epstein that I know, and to whom I will be eternally grateful for granting me my freedom. May Hashem repay his kindness to me and women like me who are free today, and grant him a yeshiva.

        • I also had a similar experience with Rav Epstein helping mediate my divorce. Anyone bashing him here are doing a terrible thing. You don’t know him and you don’t know his practices he is a someone who lives helping people stick in a bad or impossible situation with their spous, even if you’re a man to those naysayers. I Daven for him.

      • Yes I’m very bothered by it. People you’re are so quick to judge. How about we give him benefit of the doubt and let’s see how it plays out. You might be very surprised when the facts play out, he will be found to be not guilty of anything except getting certain husbands angry, those husbands who are full of evil, revenge, control. That’s who reported this tzaddik. Emes will win.

    37. A Beis Din may have the halachic authority to “kofin oso”, but are we talking about any three Chaim Yankels off the street or a recognized community Bais Din supported by the Kahal? Whatever one thinks of NS or KJ, I would posit that their Batei Din could legitimately (halachically) “convince” a recalcitrant member of their community to give a get but three yahoos forming an ad hoc “Beis Din” and offering mayhem for hire doesn’t sound so ( you should pardon the expression) kosher.

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