Violent Rabbi Investigation Continues - My9 New Jersey

Violent Rabbi Investigation Continues

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Lakewood, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

The ongoing investigation involving Rabbi Mendel Epstein has created many questions. Rabbi Epstein has a home in Lakewood, NJ where he allegedly met with another rabbi and 8 men to discuss ways to help women of the Orthodox Jewish faith obtain a divorce, using alleged force and violence.

These women are in need of a "get," which can only be given by her husband. The “get” releases her from the marriage and allows her to remarry within the Orthodox Jewish community.

Alan Steinberg, a Monmouth University Professor, and member of the Orthodox Jewish community helped shed some light on the culture which many know little about. Professor Steinberg first explained that an Agunah is a woman "chained" to her marriage.

“She can’t get on with her life, she can’t date, she can’t meet another man. A husband that will not give his wife a “get” after the marital union is dissolving is doing a horrific thing, is doing a reprehensible thing, I have tremendous sympathy for a woman in that position. I do not have any sympathy for the Rabbi’s in question here if they are guilty as charged” He said.

Professor Steinberg said that in Eastern Europe in the 19th century a rabbinical court could direct a beating, but it didn't involve cattle prods, torture and kidnapping. He also noted that money was never charged, unlike the amounts alleged in the case against Rabbi Epstein.

Steinberg also explained that Orthodox Jews follow Dina de-Malkhuta Dina, which means "The Law Of The Land Is The Law."

“We Orthodox Jews observe and respect American law and kidnapping and torture are illegal in American law.” He said.

Regarding the Orthodox Jewish community Steinberg said that he doesn’t necessarily think there will be a fallout from this incident, but there will be disagreement.

“I think the modern Orthodox community as a whole is not going to be sympathetic to these two Rabbi’s if as alleged they were charging $60,000 to beat up husbands. On the other hand, I hope this brings on a renewed focus on the plight of the Agunah, a women’s who’s husband is acting reprehensibly and not giving the divorce that the woman deserves to go on with her life.” He said.

Professor Steinberg also noted that obtaining a prenuptial agreement should include that a husband will give his wife a “get” in the case of a divorce. This could avoid problems for the wife when seeking a divorce.

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