Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Friedman-Epstein Facts: Beis din's involvement

 [update: 4/3/12  Just had a long talk with R' Jeremy Stern of Ora regarding this post which he strongly questions the accuracy of the assertions.

To clarify issues that might be misunderstood.
First of all this is a guest post - it was not written by me.
Second Ora has an alternative scenario which can be accessed by this link
Thirdly - Rabbi Stern and I have strong disagreements on the halachic level as to the acceptability of ORA's tactics but as he says he is not a posek and just accepts that of Rav Schachter and others.]
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Epstein filed for divorce in civil court, not Friedman.  Friedman never agreed to a civil divorce; it was imposed by the court at Epstein's demand.

It is true that Friedman brought an emergency child custody motion, but that was only after Epstein had abducted the child, violated an agreement with Friedman regarding custody, severely limited the child's time with Friedman, (for example, Epstein had refused to let the child spend time with Friedman on Shabbos or Yom Tov for more than two months) and refused to negotiate or go with him to a rav to find a way to adjudicate their dispute.  Epstein's continuing to hold the child in Pennsylvania would transfer jurisdiction over the matter to the Pennsylvania court, unless Friedman filed in Maryland.  In addition, Epstein’s continuing to hold the child in Pennsylvania would be extremely prejudicial in any eventual adjudication, no matter what the forum. 

What else was Friedman supposed to do if he wanted the child to spend time with him?  Get into a physical tug-of-war by grabbing the child back?  Spend months trying to get Epstein to come to a neutral Beis Din, during which time Epstein would continue to severely limit or entirely eliminate the child's time with him, and then Epstein would file in the Pennsylvania courts at which time Epstein's abduction of the child would be a fait accompli?  So Friedman asked a shai'la, and received a psak  to bring an emergency child custody motion in Court, but only on the condition that he would bring the matter to Beis Din after the emergency hearing, before any further proceedings, such as a trial, in Court. 

And the key point regarding whether Friedman tried to have custody decided in civil court or Beis Din is that Friedman agreed to cancel the October 2008 civil trial to bring the case to the Baltimore Beis Din only because that was required by the psak and he wanted to follow halacha.  Friedman followed the psak to cancel the trial even though it was to his own severe disadvantage as: (1) Friedman had every reason to believe that the Court would have ruled in his favor at the October 2008 trial (based on the comments of the judge at the emergency motion and the severity with which the Comment to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act regards the abduction of children; even Epstein's lawyer, after lying as to whether Epstein had abducted the child, acknowledged that if she had abducted the child, it would look very bad at trial); and (2) even if Friedman prevailed in Beis Din (or the Beis Din would not ultimately decide custody), he would be at risk that the Court would ultimately decide the issue at a later date (the Court may not show deference to a Beis Din decision in custody cases, even if the parties have agreed to binding arbitration), and Friedman would be severely prejudiced in such a later proceeding by the fact that the child would have been in Pennsylvania for a much longer period.

And that is what happened.  The Baltimore Beis Din held several hearings into the case.  Epstein refused to follow the Baltimore Beis Din's orders regarding dismissing the civil case.  Thus, the civil trial was held in June 2009.  Epstein asked the court to rule that the child should stay in Pennsylvania because the child had been there for so long, which was the basis for the Court's decision that the child stay in Pennsylvania.  In fact, Epstein specifically argued that the child's time in Pennsylvania should be prejudicial because Friedman had agreed to cancel the October 2008 trial (in order to bring the case to beis din).  The Baltimore Beis Din has never ruled that a get be given.

Epstein and the rabbis supporting her are making a total mockery of the beis din system. 

Rabbi Schachter told Ami Magazine: "That we can’t have a bais din system that works is an embarrassment, a shanda and a cherpa."  Rabbi Schachter's actions in this case support and encourage the very manipulation and abuse of the beis din system he purports to oppose.

For those who are interested, a detailed summary of the case is at www.stuffandnonsensesaidalice.blogspot.com

32 comments :

  1. RDE: Is the above post your own analysis?

    Btw, thanks for taking a fair and objective look at this case and at this entire issue.

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    1. no it is from the website linked at the bottom of the post

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  2. Please see this fact sheet for information: http://www.freetamar.org/doc/FactSheet-Epstein-Friedman

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    1. The online petition campaign against Friedman was organized by Estee Goldschmidt, who is likely the "Tania" that recently commented on your blog. See, for example, http://walkingthegreyline.blogspot.com/2012/02/support-tamar-epstein-agunah-become.html, which makes this claim.


      According to Tania's post on her "Thinking Jew girl" blog that she entitled "When you marry a creep," Tania is a sister of Dovi Goldschmidt (married to Tamar's sister) and daughter of Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi of Moscow and President of the Conference of European Rabbis. See http://www.onlysimchas.com/v4/index.cfm/fuseaction:simcha.view/simchaid:76746 and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-pinchas-goldschmidt


      Tania's vicious attacks on Friedman are pretty representative of the lows to which many have stooped in this case.


      Tania's post included the following claim: "The fear and anguish she [Tamar] goes through every time she lets her daughter go to Aharon for the weekend when the little girl kicks and screams that she doesn't want to go to Daddy is heartbreaking."


      Anyone who has ever seen the child with her loving and caring father would know that the only reason the child would be kicking and screaming during transitions is because Tamar and her family are poisoning the child against him.


      Tania later revised her post to delete this reference, and then deleted the entire blog entry, apparently because even she eventually realized how revolting it was.


      Anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge of Jewish history should know that Jews asking non-Jewish governments to intercede in internal Jewish disputes has not exactly been helpful to the Jewish community. One would have thought that the Jewish community's priorities in front of Congress would not include the Epstein matter, and that this attention might be better placed on Iran's development of nuclear weapons with which to carry out its radical Islamist leaders' promises to wipe Israel off the face of the map, or the continuing worldwide terrorist threat to Jews posed by radical Islamists as exemplified in the Toulouse attack.

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  3. the fact sheet is an embarrassment - as is the campaign that Tamar has waged to obtain a get.

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    1. Honest question, because this is all getting rather confusing. Why is that fact sheet, aside from the fact that it is from an organiztion that you disagree with, any less accurate than the one you cited in your piece above?

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  4. If what Friedman alleges is true, the minimum that should happen is that tamar should be responsible for transporting the child to her father all the time with huge financial penalties if this is breached before a get could be considered. Money should be left in escrow just in case...

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    1. Agreed... If, and that is the question now. If...?

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  5. none of this excuses not giving the get. any custody issues can be evaluated in court.

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  6. Are you suggesting that Tamar needs to voluntarily give up some of her legal rights in order to receive a Get? Isn't this blackmail by another name?

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    1. Are you asking according to what the halachic perspective is?

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    2. Were Tamar's "legal" rights obtained legally? not according to this post.

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  7. see http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/04/friedman-epstein-tamars-matrydom-r.html

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  8. One scary thought on all this - If there is truth to Friedman's story (which there seems to be accumulating evidence)- then ORA, and all of Epsteins accomplcies, whom are involved in this horrible 'smear campaign' against Friedman and his family will be subject to what the Talmud states about one who is 'Malbim Pnai Chaveryo B'rabim' - No share what so ever in the world to come.

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  9. Who really cares what Stern thinks? he is as filthy as his namesake Howard Stern a walking chilul hashem who is mevaseh innocent men but has never ever protested arko'oys and mesirah and bankrupting men and gitei meuseh. he is driven by a feminist agenda which is the complete antithesis of Torah. Pity he ever came out of Mitzraim.

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  10. Rabbi Eidensohn and all,

    You all are familiar with the other so-called agunah case in Lakewood. This DaasTorah blog by RDE covered that ongoing case over the years. They beat him into giving a get and now the husband and wife who beat him are being tried criminally in New Jersey.

    It occurred to me that it is interesting that Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky shlita is involved in that case too. Except over there he supported the husbands refusal to give a get, for the same reason as here, because the wife ran off with their child. Rav Shmuel, in fact, said after the beating the get was a get meusa and invalid.

    So it is quite interesting to know why Rav Shmuel is taking differing positions between the two cases.

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    1. HE IS TAKING HER SIDE BECASUE THEY ARE LONG TIME SUPPORTERS OF HIS YESHIVA IN PHILLY. THE FAMILY IS VERY CLOSE WITH HIM! WHEN PPL TRIED TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT THIS CASE HE SAID "THERE IS NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT LET HIM GIVE A GET" HE HONESTLY NEVER NEVER EVER HEARD THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY!

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    2. The epstiens are long time supporters of his yeshiva, they are very close to him!He never heardt eh other side of the story, when someone tried to speak to him he said, "there is nothig to talk about, let him give a get" He has no interest in hearing the truth. MONEY TALKS

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  11. If Friedman has issues with custody, he should tell them to the judge in civil court. A get was never meant to be a bargaining chip. Using the get--no matter how right or wrong the wife is--in order to receive a better custody agreement is blackmail. And why is that fair?

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    1. You should do a little reading about the civil courts. Freidman may as well talk to himself.

      A get was definitely meant to make sure a woman cannot abandon a marriage freely and profitably, so withholding it is proper.

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    2. Binyamin, I'm glad that you admit that in fact Aharon is using the Get as blackmail. The fact that you think this is ok, even the Torah's intention with a get, is an embarrassment.

      Have you ever even learned Gittin? What gave you the idea that a get was meant to "make sure a woman cannot abandon a marriage freely and profitably"?

      There may be many reasons behind the get. But they aren't written in the Torah. I encourage you to take a look for yourself: http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il//i/t/t0524.htm#1

      I challenge you to come up with a source that backs up your opinion.

      Otherwise, I will just continue with my assumption that you are just another mysogydox piece of work.

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  12. who wrote the guest post? Why was ist not signed or signalled as guest post?

    Were there really rabbis who recommended Friedman to withhold the get, i.e. to put a stumbling bloc in front of a blind person?

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  13. "Anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge of Jewish history should know that Jews asking non-Jewish governments to intercede in internal Jewish disputes has not exactly been helpful to the Jewish community."

    I do not really understand why you take issue with turning to the public authorities.

    In most countries, religious marriage can only be contracted after civil marriage.

    Once a couple has a civil marriage, it is perfectly reasonable to obtain civil divorce independently of any beith din. They have nothing to do with it.

    Furthermore, it is outrageous to see how men use get-blackmail to avoid paying alimony, and the batey Din are OK with it.

    In the moment were the batey din cannot upheld justice, (since the situation is biased against women from the start), there is no reason to turn to one. Remember. The batey din are here to promote justice, not injustice.

    By the way: this whole blackmail to obtain a get is just as repugnant as the blackmail withholding the get. The law is screwed, because too many people abuse it.

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  14. 6ft,

    If the Jewish marriage was just for a ceremony, that should have been made clear at the time of the marriage. Jewish marriage defines the institution and commitments between the couple, and not the civil law. By going to the civil courts Tamar violated the contract between them.

    Do you also have a problem with women collecting their ketuba because the marriage was only a ceremony? I doubt it. Aron was bound to certain commitments in the Jewish marriage and he is entitled to demand the Tamar respect her commitments.

    You say it is outrageous to see men use a get to avoid paying alimony. Why should he have to pay alimony? Jewish law has no place for alimony, and there is really no justification for it in the secular system either. It is just a law transferring resources to women for no reason, because they are apparently unable to take care of themselves.

    If the women wants a civil settlement, she can move along with a civil divorce. If she wants a Jewish marriage, and a Jewish divorce, she needs to get a Jewish settlement also - its all part of a package.

    Jewish law is justice, and the Battei din shoiuld be upholding it. When battei din uphold secular law - as you are saying they should - that is injustice, especially with the grossly unjust modern family law. It is the Shachter/Belsky/Ralbag crowd here who are supporting the injustice done to Aron.

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  15. Binyamin,

    Your points re: alimony and settlement are well taken. 6FT's comments display his feminist hypocrisy - if a Jewish lady wants to operate in civil courts, then she has no right to ask for a GET, as the courts cannot order this without violating the US Constitution.

    Yes, Jewish law is justice, but the non-Jewish family courts and their feminist police state apparatus are the opposite of justice. In Jewish law there is no "imputed income", wage garnishing, automatic arrest warrants, and debtor's prison due to a man's inability to pay child support.

    One must assume that Epstein has a court order garnishing Mr. Friedman's wages, therefore if Mr. Friedman loses his job, state agencies can and will issue an arrest warrant for him, and suspend his law license and driver's license, causing total disruption to his life.

    By openly harassing Mr. Friedman's employer with total disregard for the consequences to Mr. Friedman, ORA and its corrupt, wicked "rabbis" and supporters are MOSRIM and M'SAYEH MOSRIM, some of the worst possible transgressions in Judaism. ORA represents nothing less than halachic and moral bankruptcy, and its rabbis and supporters should be put under total CHEREM and banished from the Orthodox community.

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    1. Harassing Mr. Friedman's employer with total disregard for the consequences to Mr. Friedman sounds rather like the other half of Mr. Friedman's total disregard for the consequences on Tamar Epstein by withholding the get. But the ball is in Aharon Friedman's court. All he has to do is give the get, and he can end this saga. But he chooses not to because he thinks he can blackmail his wife for a better custody agreement.

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    2. the ball is in tamars court!
      she walked out of beit din!And once she gets off her high horse and realizes that the world is not coming to her and she cant hrt ppl like this then maybe things will get settled!

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  16. Avi Bass -

    Perhaps I should have phrased my words a little more carefully to acknowledge that since no reason is given in the Torah we should not say any reason is definitely the one true reason. I would take that as an understood proposition for any discussion of taamey hamitzvos as I expect all readers here know that 99% of the mitzvos are given with no reason. There was really no reason for you to link to the passuk to show this. However when we deal with mishpatim - the logical civil laws - we generally do point to the social context as the reason for the mitzva. If I said the reason we may not steal is to preserve the principle of private property you would not challenge me by linking to the Ten Commandments which also do not state their reasonings.

    Marriage is also a civil institution, and as part of that must have regulations which make it a stable institution. Marriage is by its nature a long-term committment between people, and the laws of marriage must regulate that. If a either side can leave freely and profitably, that means there is no commitmant, and only their own immediate self-interest can keep them together. On the man's side the ketuba enforces committment. On the woman's side the get enforces her commitment. Anyone who advocates for get-on-demand is advocating that marriage should not involve a commitment.

    I am not the one who needs to bring a source. I have simply said that the get is meant to serve exactly the purpose it actually does serve. You are the one who is claiming that the rule that a get depends on the man's freewill is not actually what should be done in practice, with the obvious question of why there would be such a rule if that is not how divorce is meant to work. So the challenge is returned to you, to bring a source that the laws of divorce were not actually intended to regulate the institutions of marriage and divorce.

    However I am not one to simply ignore a challenge on the Internet. I refer you to gittin 88b (I did learn gittin but it has really been a while) which discusses exactly our topic - a woman going to the non-jewish courts to get a get, about which the gemara says we cannot have such a situation where any woman who wants out just goes to the non-jews to get out of her marriage. In other words, the laws of gittin are intended to prevent a woman from freely abandoning her marriage.

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    1. "Marriage is by its nature a long-term committment between people, and the laws of marriage must regulate that. If a either side can leave freely and profitably,"

      So it is better that just one side can leave freely and profitable, the other not. This makes marriage 50% more stable...

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  17. Avi, are you upset that Aharon isn't playing fair in this custody battle? Because Aharon apparently has the same claim against Tamar.

    The ball is in Tamar's court just as much as it's in Aharon's. Either one can choose to give in and end this. At this rate Tamar will get her get when her child turns 18.

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  18. I don't publish ANONYMOUS comments

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  19. Before I got married, my rabbi told me, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". That was good advice.

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