Yisrael Briskman’s wife in Israel wanted a divorce, and a rabbinical court decided she should be granted one. But Briskman refused and fled to the United States, where the FBI says an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and his wife lured him to their New Jersey home, kidnapped him and said they’d bury him alive in the Pocono Mountains if he didn’t relent.
Briskman said he was kicked repeatedly in the ribs at the home in Lakewood, robbed and shown the dark body bag he’d soon inhabit if he didn’t free his wife from their marital bonds.
“For you to get used to the size,” Rabbi David Wax is quoted as saying in the criminal complaint leading to his surrender to the FBI this month.
If this Sopranos-style plot is true — which the Waxes deny — it is an anomaly. But it’s not uncommon for religious communities to use coercive tactics to pressure recalcitrant husbands into granting their wives a “get,” or religious divorce. Tactics run the gamut from denying social and religious privileges to using financial and legal leverage. [...]