Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published May 22, 2014 at 10:58 PM | Page modified May 22, 2014 at 11:33 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Orthodox rabbis charged in religious divorce plot

Four Orthodox Jewish rabbis and one of their sons conspired to kidnap and force Jewish men into granting their wives religious divorces, according to a federal indictment handed up on Thursday.


advertising

NEWARK, N.J. —

Four Orthodox Jewish rabbis and one of their sons conspired to kidnap and force Jewish men into granting their wives religious divorces, according to a federal indictment handed up on Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said several of the men charged Thursday are among a larger group previously charged in the alleged plot.

Rabbi Mendel Epstein and his son, David Epstein, both of Lakewood, New Jersey, Rabbi Martin Wolmark of Monsey, New York, and Rabbis Jay Goldstein and Binyamin Stimler, both of Brooklyn, New York, are charged with kidnapping conspiracy and related charges.

The U.S. attorney's office alleges the rabbis charged Jewish women and their families tens of thousands of dollars to obtain religious divorces, known as "gets," from unwilling husbands through the threat of force.

Attorneys for Goldstein, Wolmark and Stimler said their clients denied the charges.

Goldstein's attorney, Aiden O'Connor, said the case was "overcharged" and failed to take into account the individual circumstances of the women who had been seeking divorces.

"This is not a kidnapping matter, these women were locked in terrible marriages," O'Connor said.

Benjamin Brafman, an attorney for Wolmark, issued a statement calling the charges false, and added his client was a Talmudic scholar and expert in Jewish divorce who had resolved hundreds of marital disputes, always through legal means.

Rabbi Stimler's attorney, Nathan Lewin, said his client denied the allegations that he was a member of a "kidnap team." He said that Stimler is sought out because of his expertise in religious divorces, which he has always conducted through legal means.

Messages left for attorneys representing Mendel Epstein and David Epstein were not immediately returned.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times photographs

Seattle space needle and mountains

Purchase The Seattle Times images


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►