Two Orthodox Jewish rabbis and two others were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and beating men in order to force them to grant their wives religious Jewish divorces, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (October 10, 2013).
The men were arrested last night in a month-long sting operation in which a female FBI agent posed as an Orthodox Jewish woman trying to get a religious divorce -- or a "get" as Orthodox Jews call this divorce document -- from her husband.The FBI conducted searches at Yeshiva Shaarei Torah in Monsey, in New York's Rockland County, in Lakewood, N.J., in Brooklyn, and elsewhere.
Rabbis Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark -- along with two accomplices -- were due to appear today in U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey. Six others could also be charged, according to reports.
According to the complaint unsealed yesterday, the rabbis charged $10,000 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 of the Orthodox Jewish men who had not granted their wives a religious divorce. Orthodox Jewish women are not allowed to remarry without a writ of divorce granted by a rabbinical court.