Rabbi Charged with Kidnapping Related to Pennsylvania Divorce

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Rabbi Charged with Kidnapping Related to Pennsylvania Divorce
By Lisa Marie Vari of Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. posted in Divorce on Monday, April 27, 2015.

By Lisa Marie Vari on Google+

Thousands of years ago, Judaism recognized the concept of no-fault divorce, however, under Jewish law it can be difficult to receive a divorce if the wife seeks the divorce. Under Jewish law, a man can divorce his wife for any reason or no reason. He simply must simply write a bill of divorce, and follow the complex rules created for the writing process, deliver, and acceptance of the document by the wife. But if a wife seeks to obtain a religious divorce from her husband, usually a rabbi must intervene and persuade the husband to consent to the divorce. One rabbi involved in a Pennsylvania divorce took it a little too far.

Attorney Fredric Goldfein testified that he represented a woman who wanted a religious divorce who was instructed by Rabbi Mendel Epstein to have her family pay the rabbi $60,000 as part of his attempt to secure her divorce. Rabbi Epstein is known as a prominent rabbi who specializes in divorce proceedings. Goldfein testified in the federal conspiracy and kidnapping trial of Rabbi Epstein that he was instructed to wire his client’s $60,000 to two congregations that Rabbi Epstein led as payment for his efforts to get a Maryland man to agree to the divorce.

Shortly after the money was transferred the husband was attacked by three men at the home of his now former in-laws in Pennsylvania. This attack was an attempt to force him to issue the religious divorce. Luckily, the husband was able to get away from his attackers and did not grant the religious divorce. Goldfein, who is also a rabbi, testified that he was led to believe the money was going to go to the husband as part of his agreement to grant his wife a religious divorce. Without the religious divorce his now ex-wife would not be permitted to remarry in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Goldfein said he tried several times to negotiate the religious divorce without success. He then consulted with Rabbi Martin Wolmark who referred Rabbi Epstein. Goldfein testified that Rabbi Wolmark told him that Rabbi Epstein could turn up the heat. When asked what Goldfein believed that to mean he stated he thought that Rabbi Epstein would only annoy the husband or holler at him to get him to take the deal involving the religious divorce. Rabbi Epstein is now on trial in federal court along with his son, and two other rabbis on conspiracy and kidnapping charges.

At Lisa Marie Vari & Associates we were shocked to hear about someone going through such lengths to try to obtain a divorce. Although a religious divorce and legal divorce are different these tactics went too far to obtain the divorce. Our Pittsburgh Divorce Attorneys will fiercely advocate for our clients while abiding by all rules and regulations placed on us as members of the bar association. Additionally, our attorneys communicate constantly with the client throughout the legal process to make sure that everyone is aware of what is taking place. If you are currently in need of a family law attorney in the Western Pennsylvania area, contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.


Tags: Divorce attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Family Law Attorneys, Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyers, Religious Divorces

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