Rabbi David Wax of Lakewood, New Jersey this week pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges as part of a scheme to force an Israeli man to give his wife a get (a religious writ of divorce), the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (May 8, 2014).
The Orthodox rabbi admitted to being paid $100,000 to compel the man -- identified as Yisrael Briskman -- to grant his wife a get. The money came from Briskman's estranged wife.
Wax lured Briskman to his house on October 17, 2010, had him beaten up by a group of thugs, and threatened to bury him alive in the Pocono Mountains unless he agreed to give the get, according to court papers. Under Orthodox Jewish law, women whose husbands refuse to grant them religious writs of divorce may not remarry; these women are known as agunahs (chained women).
On May 6, Wax pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit kidnapping, and faces life in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced on August 19, 2014.