US authorities arrest rabbis accused of kidnapping, beating recalcitrant husbands

Arrest following month-long sting operation; men involved in violent acts to force husbands to grant wives religious divorces.

By JTA
October 11, 2013 09:08
1 minute read.
Arrest [illustrative].

Arrest [illustrative] 370. (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Two Orthodox rabbis and two accomplices were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and beating men in order to force them to grant their wives religious Jewish divorces.

The men were arrested Wednesday night in a month-long sting operation in which a female FBI agent posed as an Orthodox woman trying to get a religious divorce, or “get,” from her husband.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Rabbis Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark, along with the alleged accomplices — Ariel Potash and a man known as “Yaakov” — were set to appear Thursday in US District Court in Trenton, NJ Six others could be charged, according to reports.

The arrests were accompanied by a series of searches executed by the FBI, including one at Yeshiva Shaarei Torah in Monsey, in New York’s Rockland County. Others were in Lakewood, NJ, Brooklyn and elsewhere. In the yeshiva raid, the students, of high school age, were forced to remain outside for the bulk of the law enforcement operation, the Journal News reported.

According to the complaint unsealed in court, Epstein and Wolmark charged thousands of dollars to persuade the rabbis on the rabbinical court to approve the kidnapping, and another up to $60,000 to pay for others to handle the kidnapping, beating and other physical torture. Potash and “Yaakov” allegedly were hired to commit violence against the kidnapped men.

Orthodox Jewish women cannot remarry without a get, or writ of divorce granted by a rabbinical court.

Epstein and Wolmark are divorce mediators in the Orthodox community, according to the complaint.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF