Table of Contents
- What Kind of Community Needs to Hear This (08/28/2013)
- United States District Court: District of New Jersey (10/10/2013)
- FBI: Kidnaping, Cattle Prods Used to Force Orthodox Jewish Men To Divorce Wives –– 2 Rabbis Among 4 Charged in FBI Sting (10/10/2013)
- 3 rabbis arrested in divorce scandal at Rockland yeshiva (10/10/2013)
- FBI raids Monsey yeshiva in divorce-gang probe (10/10/2013)
- FBI raids Yeshiva Shaarei Torah in Monsey (10/10/2013)
- Arrests made in N.J., N.Y. as FBI raids Rockland County temple (10/10/2013)
- Rabbis Accused in Plot to Kidnap, Torture Husbands to Pressure Divorces (10/10/2013)
- Rabbis accused of plot to torture man into granting divorce (10/10/2013)
- Rabbis Said to Use Torture, for Fee, to Force Divorce (10/10/2013)
- Various sects prominent in Rockland, NYC region (10/10/2013)
- NY Rabbis Arrested: Rabbis Wolmark And Epstein Tortured Husbands With Handcuffs, Karate For Jewish Divorces (10/10/2013)
- Brooklyn rabbi tortured Jewish husbands with cattle prod to force divorce: feds (10/10/2013)
- 2 rabbis, 2 others charged in Jewish divorce shakedown (10/10/2013)
- Rabbis 'beat me, stun-gunned my genitals' (10/11/2013)
- 2 rabbis, 8 ohers charged in N.J. kidnapping and torture plot to force divorce (10/11/2013)
- Attorney: Monsey rabbi tied to divorce gang could be released on bail by Friday (10/16/2013)
- Rabbis in divorce-gang sting could be out on bail soon (10/16/2013)
- Accused Kidnap Rabbi Known For 'Wild West' Rules (10/16/2013)
- Rabbis charged in Jewish divorce shakedown to be released on bail (10/16/2013)
- Bail set for Martin Wolmark and Mendel Epstein, rabbis accused of torturing Orthodox Jewish men into religious divorces (10/16/2013)
- Four more granted bail in religious divorce shakedown by rabbis (10/18/2013)
- Judge sets bail for Jewish scribe, 3 others in kidnapping-divorce case (10/22/2013)
Two brothers Avrohom and Moshe Goldstein admit forcing Jewish men to divorce
- Ramapo divorce gang: 2 brothers admit violently forcing man into religious divorce (03/13/2014)
- The drama of Agunah Day (03/15/2014)
- Case of Avrohom Goldstein
- Case of Jay Goldstein
- Case of Moshe Goldstein
- Case of Ariel Potash
- Case of Sholom Shuchat
- Case of Binyamin Stimler
- Case of Martin Wolmark
- Policies For inclusion on The Awareness Center's Sex Offender's Registry
- Listing Alleged and Convicted Sex Offenders
- The quasi-orthodox Jewish world compared to the "BITE" Model of Cult Mind Control (11/06/2013)
- Domestic Violence in Jewish Communities
Rabbis have to stop dismissing everything that comes from outside the Beis Medrash
By Rabbi Eliyahu Fink
Jewish Press - August 28, 2013
|Rabbi Mendel Epstein|
In terms of substance, I agree with a lot of what Rabbi Epstein says. Obviously. Who wouldn’t?
He comes off a bit paternalistic at times. He’s also working in a very male dominated social environment so some of what he says sounds uncomfortable to more modern ears. I think it’s clear that he is talking about a fairly insular Haredi community. Most of the modern orthodox or even centrist yeshiva type people I know are fully aware of these things and don’t need to be informed or even reminded to treat their wives respectfully.
Four items in his “Bill of Rights” for Orthodox Jewish wive are:
(1) A wife must be treated with respect and not be abused. A woman in an abusive relationship has a right to seek a get. (2) She is entitled to be supported by her husband. Read the kesubah. (3) A husband is obligated to honor and respect his wife’s parents. (4) She is entitled to a normal conjugal relationship.
He also cites some very specious anecdotal evidence about divorce and infidelity that sound exaggerated. He basically tries to assert the “it might lead to mixed dancing” argument as fact.
But here is the real problem. What kind of society needs to be told these things? How is this all not patently obvious? What kind of world needs a rabbi to affirm these basic principles?
It’s not as if Rabbi Epstein is saying that there a few people who need to be reminded or scolded about these things. He seems to be saying that this Bill of Rights is necessary for our entire society. This makes me ill.
We tout our communities as safe havens from the dysfunction on the outside. But is it true? Is there dysfunction on the outside? Are we functioning better? These are very difficult claims to answer. Rabbi Epstein seems to be poking a hole in our armor. It seems that in some ways we need to look to the outside as our guide on how to behave. Ask any middle-class, educated, family orientated person about marriage and there is no doubt that they will echo Rabbi Epstein’s supposed bombshell.
But how does this happen? How is it that we are falling behind?
It’s possible that we have demonized the outside so much in our communities and educational systems that we passively reject whatever they espouse. We gloss over חכמה בגויים תאמין. We think that we have the answers and they don’t. Eventually this leads us to a place where we tune out the good ideas and advice from the outside and bad habits and poor social standards become set in our communities.
I don’t doubt that there are many people who need to hear this Bill of Rights. But I also don’t doubt that anyone normal would agree with them. So why does it need to be said? It has to be that we simply ignore these issues. Why are we ignoring them if the rest of modern society is addressing them? There is no satisfactory answer to this question.
One more thing. Rabbi Epstein places too much faith in the Beis Din system. I have never in my entire life heard of someone who had a positive Beis Din experience. It seems extremely unlikely that a woman’s best course of action is to go to a Beis Din that requires both parties to agree to a binding arbitration. The problems with our Beis Din system are well known and it’s a disservice to his audience that Rabbi Esptein recommends entering into this basically corrupt system. See: Restoring Credibility to the Beis Din System.
The article ends with a call for action and ideas for solutions. I think it’s pretty simple. Reinstitute חכמה בגויים תאמין. Start learning from the outside. Read secular books of marriage and intimacy. Pay attention to what psychologist, marriage therapists, and secular experts say. Rabbis have to stop dismissing everything that comes from outside the Beis Medrash. We can learn a lot from experts on these matters, especially intimacy. We have to start respecting people outside our community and not believing as a matter of faith that a yarmulka and a sheitel and a vort and a 500 guest wedding and sheva brachos and shana rishona are going to magically make for great marriages and happy couples.
There are many very happy marriages within our community. There are also many happy marriages outside our community. We can learn from them. We should learn from them. Hopefully we can arrive at a place where we can laugh at the absolute silliness of a Bill of Rights that says not to abuse women, to provide for one’s family, and to be intimate with one’s wife. I hope we get there soon.
October 10, 2013
FBI: Kidnaping, Cattle Prods Used to Force Orthodox Jewish Men To Divorce Wives
Arrests made in N.J., N.Y. as FBI raids Rockland County temple
By Jeff Goldman
New Jersey Journal - October 10, 2013
Rabbis Accused in Plot to Kidnap, Torture Husbands to Pressure Divorces
An undercover agent posed as an unhappily married woman
By Jonathan Dienst
NBC News New York - October 10, 2013
Rabbis accused of plot to torture man into granting divorce
Associated Press - October 10, 2013
By Joseph Goldstein
Published: October 10, 2013
LoHud - October 10, 2013
Brooklyn rabbi tortured Jewish husbands with cattle prod to force divorce: feds
By Oren Yaniv
New York Daily News - October 10, 2013
Desperate wives paid Rabbi Mendel Epstein up to $100,000 to 'convince' their husbands to divorce them, according to sources and court papers.
Star Ledger - October 11, 2013
USA Today - October 16, 2013
Rabbis and others arrested last week are accused of using violence to coerce religious divorces.
Judge sets bail for Jewish scribe, 3 others in kidnapping-divorce case
Man at heart of FBI sting operation is well known in the torrid world of non-amicable Orthodox divorce.
Two brothers Avrohom and Moshe Goldstein admit forcing Jewish men to divorce
The drama of Agunah Day
By Rachel Levmore
Jerusalem Post - March 5, 2014
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