Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Response to R' Jeremy Stern's criticism

 Guest Post:

If Jeremy Stern claims [noted on this posting] that there is anything false or misleading with the summary of the case as posted on this blog, or as described in greater detail with citations at stuffandnonsensesaidalice- let him say specifically what is not true. 

From the beginning of Ora's involvement in this case, Jeremy Stern has acted in a matter best described as immature, dishonest, inflammatory, and irresponsible, seemingly designed to achieve maximum publicity for himself and Ora. Indeed, one might question whether Ora and Jeremy Stern are acting with any regard for whether Tamar actually receives a get. Ora has done everything it could to turn a very personal matter that could and should have been settled privately into a national and international news story, without any regard whatsoever for the interests of the parties' child. He acts out of his own self interest and has twisted all the facts of this case from the beginning.
He also claims he has the backing of R. Schachter - This is true on paper, but R. Schachter made it very clear Thursday night at the YU symposium that he does not look into the details and basically lets Jeremy Stern do what he wants. The day after (Friday), after reading the article by the mediator Rosenfeld, R. Schachter told a talmid of his "maybe I was all wrong in the Epstein Friedman case - maybe I should have looked into the facts, and not just relied on R. Kaminetsky doing so" So much for completely destroying a person, and THEN looking into the facts.

Please see the following email (the text of which is still at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jcor/message/2429) that for some reason, is not currently on Ora's website.

How can anyone believe that Jeremy Stern and Ora have any credibility whatsoever? He states clearly (see below):
 "From our perspective at ORA, advocating on behalf of agunot is an internal issue for the Jewish community, not a cause to be advocated in the national media."
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rabbi Jeremy Stern
Date: Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM
Subject: Response to the New York Times
To: Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot
Reaffirming Our Values:
A Response to the New York Times
Friday, January 7th, 2011 / ב' שבט תשע"א

Dear ORA Supporter, An article in the New York Times this week has brought national attention to the Epstein-Friedman agunah case and the plight of agunot. From our perspective at ORA, advocating on behalf of agunot is an internal issue for the Jewish community, not a cause to be advocated in the national media. To that end, ORA did not solicit the article, we declined to comment to the reporter, and we turned down many requests for interviews from other major media outlets. The NYT article contains one important factual error that warrants clarification, available here. The article has provided us with an opportunity to reflect on ORA's core values. Though some non-profit advocacy groups are focused on promoting the cause, our concern at ORA is with resolving each case. With that in mind, we advocate and raise awareness according to what is most effective for the cases at hand. We work very diligently in every case to verify the facts and perspectives, under the halakhic guidance of our posek, Rav Hershel Schachter, shlit"a. Divorce is tragic and challenging under almost all circumstances, often entailing much he said/she said. However, as a matter of public policy, in order to preserve the beauty and integrity of our Torah, a get must never - under any possible circumstance - be used as leverage to negotiate the contentious issues of a divorce settlement. I want to personally thank you for supporting our efforts on behalf of Tamar and the 60 other agunot whom we currently are assisting. Please feel free to contact me via email or at our office (212-795-0791). All the best, Jeremy


  1. Can you respond to this claim made by ORA?
    "Though other rabbinic courts had been involved previously, they all relinquished jurisdiction over the case."

    1. Epstein violated the orders of the Baltimore Beis Din and simply walked out on that Beis Din, which the parties had brought the case to, and which actually held several hearings with the participation of both sides. This caused Aharon and the child severe harm. Epstein then had the Washington Beis DIn send Aharon several hazmanos before ruling that it had no right to get involved. Epstein eventually got a purported seruv against Friedman from the UOR even though that Beis Din never bothered to send him even a single hazmana. That seruv was signed by Martin Wolmark, amongst others, which also says a lot about its authenticity.

  2. ORA was forced to change its policy after the reform Rabbi Herzfeld from DC started getting all the attention. Jeremy felt that ORA was taking a back seat to Herzfeld and this could affect fundraising which is the number one priority for ORA.

  3. Of course fundraising comes first. Of the grand total of $159,502 raised in 2010 $146,419 went in salaries and benefits to Jeremy Stern and his cronies, while $720 went in grants to "assistance to abandoned spouses".

  4. The above figures can be found here:


  5. You people have real chutspah to challenge the mamzer factory when it quotes Schachter as an authority. And who would dare challenge the words of that Washington meshugeneh who obviously is not embarrassed if people assume that he means to spread violence. And when you have some trained thugs beating up one of our people, there is no guarantee that somebody won't be killed or at least maimed for life. And the worst part of this is that nobody dares challenge the female side of this. They are entitled to their GET through violence no matter what vicious things they did when they ran away from their husbands with the children. Did ORA ever do a study on the emotional damage done to a daughter watching a hundred people scream at her father?


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