Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rav Nota Greenblatt: Problem of relying on others for the facts that determine psak

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

There is a tragic situation I have been trying to do something about for several years. Perhaps your recent endeavors can help.

In January 2014 I spoke to Rabbi N. Greenblatt of Memphis, TN who confirmed the Halachos of Orech Chaim, siman 366  require that if anyone is prevented from access from the food component of the community eruv, the eruv is invalid. There are several people in Las Vegas that the Young Israel does not allow on the property, most notably a widow (! It appears that Rabbi Greenblatt's son Rabbi Yaakov Greenblatt, who participated in construction of the eruv, was not informed of the situation in the area the eruv was to encompass. 

When I called Rabbi Greenblatt in Memphis it was very clear he knows the Halacha of eruv that the Kollel failed to fulfill. He said he was going to check into it. When I called him back he said that he had been assured by the "Bnei Torah of the Kollel" that everything is all right. He didn't know about the widow, he didn't know what happened to Rabbi Peltz ( and he has no idea how Rabbi Edgar Gross, z'tl was threatened if he dare try to enter the shul (
Rabbi Greenblatt simply put his trust with "the Kollel", a kollel that disregarded a seruv on the excommunicated leader of the shul, that everything is all right so to him the eruv erected by his son is ok.

Any way you can help with this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Asher Kaufman

Fax number, 763-322-2342

If anyone wants to speak with me they can either email or fax their number to me and I will call them back.

Rav Nota Greenblatt featured at conference about Gittin - teaching about sensitivty to the individuals involved

Jewish Link    [This article is genuine]

Most of the active mesadrei gittin (get administrators) in the United States gathered in Manhattan last week for a day-long conference. It was a fantastic event. We had the privilege and opportunity to hear from leading halachic authorities such as Rav Nota Greenblatt, Rav Hershel Schachter, Rav Mordechai Willig and Rav Mendel Senderovic (listed in order of age). The focus was on addressing the manifold halachic challenges involved in gittin administration, such as securing the cooperation of recalcitrant men and women.....

One vignette stands out, though, in my mind as most memorable and insightful. Rav Nota Greenblatt, the country’s senior get administrator who has been administering gittin since 1952(!), related how he dealt with a particular challenge he encountered in a midwestern city. The woman insisted that she should hand the get to her husband instead of the Torah-mandated procedure of the husband handing the wife the get. She argued that since it was he who misbehaved during the marriage and not she (a fact that went unchallenged by the husband) then she should be the one to deliver the get.

This poses a serious challenge since a get delivered in such a manner is unquestionably halachically invalid, yet the woman was unwilling to cooperate in the traditional procedure. Rav Greenblatt patiently sat down with the woman and told the following story. His wife’s first delivery was an extraordinarily difficult one, with labor taking over thirty hours (!). When coming for the delivery of the next child, the Greenblatts (who reside in Memphis) hired the finest OB-GYN in the state of Tennessee. Rav Greenblatt told the wife that he asked the doctor if this time he could deliver the baby considering the difficulty of the prior delivery (by this time, the wife was already laughing). Rav Greenblatt noted that it is not fair for the husband to sit by on the side while his wife does the labor. It would seem far more equitable if the wife delivers the first child, the husband delivers the second and they flip a coin to decide who delivers the third.

Rav Greenblatt explained that God has ordained that it is the woman who delivers the children, notwithstanding our sense of fairness. So, too, Rav Greenblatt explained, if it were up to him, the husband should deliver the get to his wife if she misbehaved and vice versa if he acted poorly. However, God revealed at Mount Sinai a specific procedure in which the get is to be delivered under all circumstances. Laughing heartily and appreciating the insight, the wife then readily consented to receive the get in the halachically prescribed manner. What a fine example of sensitively bridging culture gaps with humor and wit! ....

Tamar Epstein's Heter: Is R Nota Greenblatt or R Shalom Kaminetsky going to inform Tamar that she needs to separate from her new husband?

Considerable progress in dealing with the phony heter has been made. In fact it is no longer a question of how many people support the heter. The answer is absolutely no one!

At this point - even Rabbi Greenblatt is fully aware that the heter that he gave is invalid. He blames R Shalom Kaminetsky for putting him in a very unpleasant situation where not only the Rabbanut wants to disqualify his future Gittin - but there is such talk also here in America.

Even without publishing his teshuva - enough people have read it to be aware that it is nonsense and was based on his blindly accepting everything that the Kaminetsky's told him. Even he is aware that the facts are false and that he permitted Tamar to be in an adulterous relationship.

The present question is who has the obligation to inform Tamar that her new marriage is invalid? Is it Rabbi Greenblatt who provided the heter to remarry and in fact was the mesader kedishin or is it Rabbi Shalom Kaminetsky who manipulated Rabbi Greenblatt - through his father  - into giving the heter and marrying Tamar and Adam.

Perhaps it should be the gedolim of the Agudah who stood silently by and voiced no objection even after it was clear that a horrible perversion of Torah had happened at the highest levels? Maybe it should be Rav Herschel Schechter who publicly announced that the word of Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky in Tamar's quest for a divorce should not be questioned? There are clearly other candidates.

In short, we have a situation where Tamar Epstein is living in sin because of unquestioned obedience to the doctrine of Daas Torah of Gedolim. Who is going to tell her that the Emperor has no clothes and that she has been horribly betrayed? Each minute that she stays together with Adam, there are rabbis who will be paying the price for their hesitancy.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tamar Epstein's Heter reaches the press- "Former ‘chained’ woman remarries in Memphis"

A former Silver Spring woman who was a central figure in the ongoing efforts to reform how the Orthodox community deals with men who refuse to grant their wives a Jewish divorce has remarried.

Tamar Epstein married Adam Paul Fleischer on Sept. 24, in a ceremony in Memphis, Tenn....

Because they are still married in the eyes of Jewish law until they receive a get, such women are known as “chained” women, or agunot in Hebrew. With several religious authorities viewing a husband’s refusal to grant the document as tantamount to spousal abuse, Friedman had been banned from communal activities in several locales, including in the Washington area, pending the Silver Spring man’s granting of a get....

The process by which Epstein was allowed to remarry has come under scrutiny, according to several sources. At issue is whether her marriage to Friedman was satisfactorily annulled....

Several people told Washington Jewish Week that Tamar was told she was a free woman by a Philadelphia rabbi who declared that Friedman had severe mental issues that existed prior to the couple’s marriage, including paranoia and obsessive compulsive disorder, and that had she known of these conditions, she would not have married him. Therefore, halachically she could move on with her life, the rabbi declared....

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, vice president of the Rabbinical Court in Israel, wrote a blog post in protest of Epstein’s remarriage.

A decision by some rabbis that the Epstein-Friedman marriage was over even though Epstein “had lived with her first husband for an extended period of time and she had borne a daughter from him,” is not the way it works, he said.

“I saw the [ruling] that ‘freed’ her. I hate to say this, but the [ruling] is total nonsense. Taking the approach of this [ruling], it is possible to destroy the whole framework of halachic marriage,” he wrote. “Such an approach is destructive to Judaism and uproots the basic laws governing Jewish marriage.”

According to Sternbuch, Epstein is still married to Friedman “in every respect.”...

[Rabbi] Kranz, who believes Epstein must receive a Jewish divorce before she can go on with her life, called the matter “a tragedy, a really big tragedy.”

Friday, November 27, 2015

Why aren't Rabbi Jeremy Stern and ORA protesting the false heter that has resulted in Tamar committing adultery?

Over the years we have had many discussions of the problem of women who want to leave their marriages but their husband refuses to give them a Get for various reasons. While we have some significant disagreements in the realm of halacha, I acknowledge there has always been one person - Rabbi Jeremy Stern and his organization ORA - that has consistently taken the side of the woman. He has sincerely devoted much effort to try and help anyone who claims to be an aguna. He has organized public demonstrations of hundreds of people to try and help a wife obtain her Get. He is very knowledgeable about the use of the media and how to create maximum pressure on the husband and his family to produce a Get. The common denominator in all those that he tries to help is that they are all women. They are viewed by Rabbi Stern and his halachic advisor Rav Herschel Schecter  as being victims of the husband, apathy of the public or rabbis who lack their commonsense human sensitivity to suffering.

In short, I am sure if I called up Rabbi Stern at 3 a.m. and told him there was a woman who needed help – he would immediate start working on finding a solution.

So why haven't we heard from him, ORA or Rav Herschel Schecter regarding the false heter that Tamar received? Why haven't they organized public demonstrations against Rav Greenblatt or the Kaminetskys? Why doesn't the fact that Tamar is now committing adultery as the result of rabbinic incompetence cause them to be outraged? Isn't Tamar also a suffering victim? Aren't they bothered by the major corruption of the halachic  process that has taken place. Why don't they heed the call of Rav Sternbuch and other rabbis to protest the disgrace to the Torah?

It can't be that they don't know about it. It can't be that they are unaware of the elementary halachic errors used to justify the "heter". Even more obvious is that they can not be unaware that the  psychological "evidence" used to justify the "heter" is total nonsense.

Perhaps they claim they are working behind the scenes to rectify the error? Or perhaps that they are worried for the loss of emunas chachomim because big rabbis made a terrible error? Perhaps they think the case should be covered up to prevent a chilul haShem of Titanic proportion? Highly unlikely.

Or perhaps they are afraid to publicize that the advice that rabbis give to women sometimes is wrong. Perhaps they don't want to acknowledge that not every strategy that seems to help women get out of a marriage is correct.

It seems that they are paralyzed because the protest against the heter is a protest against their categorical feminist focus and they simply can't do it. If this "heter" is wrong – people might starting thinking other heterim are also wrong.

Rabbi Stern - please prove me wrong. Please stand up and protest Tamar's plight.


Guest post by Ploni

Allow me to point out another serious problem with Tamar’s היתר. I believe that this problem points to the total lack of responsibility involved in attempting to use the רופא מומחה as a so called "עדות" that AF is a חולי רוח שמפריע לנשואים, as stated in Rabbi Greenblatt’s recent letter.


Got that? In cases like that of AF, the mental health practitioner has a legal obligation to disclose that both the reliability and the validity of his “product”, namely his evaluation, is of “limited” value!

A well-known fact in this case is that Tamar’s Friends and Family (TFF) are relying on a secular DSM diagnosis to prove AF’s purported mental illness. We are not privy to the personal communications between MHP and TFF. Perhaps the MHP DID disclose to TTF the “limitations on the reliability and validity of their professional products”. Unlikely, but possible.

We are however EXTREMELY CERTAIN that TFF did most definitely NOT notify any of the Rabbonim about this lack in validity and reliability. What makes us so sure? NO Rov with even one iota of ירא שמים – including both Rabbi Kaminetsky and Rabbi Greenblatt – would ever be מתיר אשת איש, had they known from the get-go that said evaluation is of questionable worth. To the contrary, TFF made EVERY EFFORT to prove that the evaluation IS valid and reliable. Rabbi Greenblatt’s letter pretty much says the same thing.

What we see here is לפענ"ד mind boggling. A היתר based on secular “science”, while that very “science” states unequivocally that it lacks validity and reliability! שומו שמים!!!

Who is responsible for this obvious lapse in judgement???? Did none of the מתירים have the אחריות to ascertain the validity and reliability of the diagnosis? Is this what סוד ה' ליראיו has come to???

This monumental חילול ה' could easily have been avoided, had we only had people with both יראת שמים and working KNOWLEDGE OF SECULAR LAW pertaining to mental health diagnosis and treatment.

This knowledge gap needs to be fixed quickly.

The issues at stake are not just relevant to this particular fiasco with Tamar. They are much, much more wide-ranging. Outdated secular theories of mental health at loggerheads with Torah values have made serious inroads into our communities in areas like Marriage counseling/שלו' בית, parenting/education/חינוך … The list is long. Ironically, more recent theories with strong backing from those at very pinnacle of their respective scientific fields are MORE CONGRUENT with Torah thinking - yet they are all but ignored.

Let us band together to turn this terrible חילול ה' into a tremendous קידוש ה', by dedicating the time and resources necessary to really get a “handle” on these complex issues.

Rav Moshe Sternbuch: It is required that we protest the "heter" to remarry without a Get

This is a selection from Rav Sternbuch's weekly parasha sheet. He denounces the "heter" to remarry without a Get and says that there is not sufficient public protest against it. Furthermore the "heter" needs to be protested even if the protest doesn't seem to be effective.

מאמר שבועי בדרכי עבודת ה' וענייני הזמן 

מפי מרן רבינו   

הגאון רבי משה שטרנבוך שליט"א 

פרשת וישלח תשע''ז

אין לי מנוחה כשעה כזאת שהפרצות כעיקרי הדת מתגברות והולכות בארץ ובחו"ל, ואין שומעים מספיק קול מחאה על חילול ה' ותורתו, ובאמריקה נתנו 'היתר' :'בטל קידושין בלא גט בטענת מקח טעות, ואף שנבלה נעשתה בישראל כמו פילגש בגבעה מ"מ לא פורסם מספיק קול מחאה.

הדבר פשוט שאין כאן הוראה אלא טעות מעיקרא, שכל בחור ישיבה יודע שאם לאחר שידע מהמום המשיך להשתמש בו אח"כ, אין דין מקח טעות, ולכו"ע תצא :מזה ומזה והוולד ממזר .

וחובה להצטער ולהוקיע מה שנעשה בעו"ה, והחילול ה' הוא נורא מאוד כשרבנים עוקרים בשם התורה יסוד דיני אישות, וכבר כתב מהרש"ל בפ"ק דב"ק שהוא ביהרג ובל יעבור שלא יעקרו דין תורה. ובארץ ישראל בשעה שהתיר הרב ראשי ממזר, ולדבריו חתמו עמו עשרה רבנים, צירה הגאב"ד בעל מנחת יצחק וגדולי ישראל זצ"ל לכנוס את כולם וישבו בארץ ואמרו קינות, ורבים קרעו עמו בגדיהם על חילול כבוד ה' ותורתו, ואף שהוא התיר ממזר שהוא באיסור לאו, וכאן הפרצה היא על איסור אשת איש שחמור יותר, מ"מ לא שמעו עדיין קול מחאה מספיק. ומצווה למחות אף אם לא יוכלו לפעול, שעצם הדבר שמוחים הוא זכות רבה מאוד, וישוב חרון אף ה' על עמו שפוגעים בתורתו, שהרי קיבלנו ערבות לשמור התורה לנצח לעולם וועד.

ומפי מו"ר הגה"צ רבי משה שניידער זצ"ל שמעתי כמה פעמים שבשמים מצפים ושואלים האם נשמע קול מחאה, ואם נשמע קול מחאה, אז מתקיים מאמר הכתוב (מלאב' ג' ט"ז) "ויקשב ה' וישמע ויכתב ספר זיכרון לפניו ליראי ה' ולחושבי שמו", ויהי רצון שיהא חלקינו עמהם".

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Rav Dovid Eidensohn Telephone Conference about Tamar Epstein's Heter Thursday at 9 p.m.

Last night the telephone conference didn't work because they changed the numbers and I didn't know about it. So I am making the conference tonight Thursday at nine oclock PM. The old numbers are no longer valid.

The new numbers are
call in 641-715-3580
access code 884800#

Vayishlach; What We Need To Know About Camel Milk

Rabbi Shloime Pollak  Published on Nov 26, 2015

Yaakov Aveinu sent to Eisav a large gift. Five different types of animals were included; sheep, goats, camels, cows, and donkeys....

However, there is an interesting difference between them. With four out of five of the species, Yaakov Aveinu included both male and female, but he did not include a male camel. Additionally, the child of the camels were included, but no other calf's were sent...

Rashi quotes a Medrash as a SECOND pshat/explanation, but in the simple meaning, these discrepancies don't seem to be addressed...

For questions or comments please email

The Smoking Gun: I am requesting a copy of a rumored letter written by R Shalom Kaminetsky requesting a psak of Mekach Ta'os for Tamar Epstein

 update: I have posted the letters here   LETTERS

Update: I have been contacted by a number of people who have the actual letter.  Hopefully in the near future I will receive a copy with permission to publish it here.
I was contacted 2 days ago, through a 3rd party, by someone who claims to have a letter written  by R Shalom Kaminetsky himself. Supposedly it states that Tamar Epstein is looking for a heter of Mekach Ta'os. It allegedly describes the evidence of mental illness that is identical to that noted in Rabbi Feldman's letter and it was claimed that it explicitly says that this evidence is justification for mekach ta'os. 

This letter, if it exists, is much more significant than the report I published from a posek concerning a summary letter from a student at the Philly yeshiva. This letter is claimed to have been written by Rav Shalom Kaminetsky himself and he allegedly says that his father is fully informed of all the facts and supports the request for a heter of mekach ta'os.

I requested that a copy of the letter be sent to me so I can publish it here. Such a letter would be the "smoking gun" regarding the direct involvement of the Kaminetsky's in obtaining the heter. It would also confirm the conjectures I have published on this blog. So far I have not received the letter. If anyone else has a copy please send it to me for publication.

On the other hand if someone knows for sure that there is no such letter - I would appreciate receiving that information also. 

If someone has contact with R Shalom Kaminetsky, please ask for confirmation or denial of the letter's existence.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Custody laws: Does the daughter automatically go the mother as the Talmud seems to indicate?

In a recent discussion it was claimed that the mother always gets custody of the daughter and that Rav Sternbuch's statement that custody is determined by the best interest of the child is a "chidush". Here is a cogent discussion about the issue and clearly establishes that the principle of what is in the best interest of the child is an established principle by a number of major poskim.

The principle of to do what is best for the child - even though there is a general preference that the daughter goes to the mother -  is expressed by the Rashba (38) traditionally ascribed to Ramban.

שו"ת הרשב"א המיוחסות לרמב"ן סימן לח
שאלה: ראובן שמת והניח בנים, והאלמנה תובעת מן האפוטרופסים מזונות, מחמת היתומים בניה. והאפוטרופוסים אומרים: יבואו היתומים אצלנו, ונפרנס השנים מהם משלנו. והאחרים נקל עליהם מן ההוצאה. והאלמנה אומרת: איני רוצה שיהיו בני אצל אחרים, אלא אצלי. ואף על פי שהאפוטרופסים קרובים הם, ואינם ראויים לירש. הדין עם מי?

תשובה: הבת לעולם אצל האם, ואפילו נשאת האם, לא שנא גדולה או קטנה, כדאיתא פרק הנושא (דף קב:). והטעם: כדי שתרגיל האם לבת, ותלמדה דרך נשים, ושלא תרגיל עצמה בפריצות. אבל הבן, יותר ראוי להיות אצל האנשים הקרובים. שהם ירגילוהו וילמדוהו דרך הלמוד. ודרך אנשים יותר מן האם. שבני האלמנה דרכם דרך זר. ולא אמרו: שלא יהא הבן אצל קרוב, אלא בעודו קטן, ואצל מי שראוי ליורשו, ומשום מעשה שהיה. וכדתניא ריש פרק הנושא (שם /ק"ב/) מי שמת, והניח בן קטן לאמו, יורשי האב אומרים: יהא גדל אצלנו, ואמו אומרת: יהא גדל אצלי. אין מניחים אותו אצל מי שראוי ליורשו. מעשה היה ושחטוהו ע"פ =ערב פסח=. אלמא: דוקא קטן, ואצל מי שראוי ליורשו. הא כל שאין קטן, שאין בו חשש רציחה, וא"נ קטן אצל קרוב שאינו ראוי ליורשו, מניחים אותו אצל הקרובים, ולא אצל האם. ולעולם צריך לדקדק בכלל לדברים אלו, אחר מה שיראה בעיני ב"ד בכל מקום ומקום, שיש בו יותר תיקון ליתומים. שב"ד אביהם של יתומים, לחזור אחר תקונן /עיין ש"ע אה"ע סי' פ"ב סעיף ז

שולחן ערוך אבן העזר הלכות כתובות סימן פב
סעיף ז
י] שלמו חדשיו וגמלתו, אם רצתה המגורשת שיהיה בנה אצלה, ז (ח) אין מפרישין אותו ממנה {ד} עד שיהיה בן שש שנים גמורות, אלא כופין את אביו ונותן לו מזונות והוא אצל אמו; יא] ואחר ו' שנים ח יש לאב לומר: {ה} אם אינו אצלי (ט) לא אתן לו מזונות. ט והבת אצל אמה לעולם, יב] ואפילו לאחר ו'. כיצד, היה האב ראוי לצדקה, מוציאין ממנו הראוי לה בעל כרחו, וזנין אותה והיא אצל אמה; ואפילו נשאת האם לאחר, בתה אצלה ואביה זן אותה משום צדקה, עד שימות האב ותיזון אח"כ מנכסיו בתנאי כתובתה והיא אצל אמה. הגה: יג] ודוקא שנראה לב"ד שטוב לבת להיות עם אמה, אבל אם נראה להם שטוב לה יותר לישב עם בית אביה, י {ו} אין האם (י) יכולה לכוף שתהיה עמה (ר"מ פדוואה סימן צ"ג /נ"ג/). מתה האם, יא (יא) {ז} אין אם אמה יכולה לכוף שיהיו הבנים עמה (ב"י בשם הרשב"ץ).

JLaw    by Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
As explained below, two very different theories, one called "parental rights" and one called "best interest of the child" exist in Jewish law. These two theories are somewhat in tension, but also lead to similar results in many cases, as the best interests of the child often will coincide with granting parents rights. There is a basic dispute within Jewish law as to why and through what legal claim parents have custody of their children. Indeed this dispute is crucial to understanding why Jewish law accepts that a "fit" parent is entitled to child custody -- even if it can be shown that others can raise the child in a better manner. Rabbi Asher ben Yecheil (Rosh), in the course of discussing the obligation to support one's children, adopts what appears to be a naturalist theory of parental rights....R. Asher appears to adopt the theory that the father is the presumptive custodial parent of his children based on his obligations and rights as a natural parent, subject to the limitation that even a natural parent cannot have custody of his children if he is factually unfit to raise them. For the same reason, in situations where the Sages assigned custody to the mother rather than the father, that custody is based on a rabbinically ordered transfer of rights. While this understanding of the parent's rights is not quite the same as a property right, it is far more a right (and duty) related to possession than a rule about the "best interest" of the child. The position of R. Asher seems to have a substantial basis in the works of a number of authorities. There is a second theory of parental custody in Jewish law, the approach of Rabbi Solomon ben R. Aderet (Rashba). R. Aderet indicates that Jewish law always accepts -- as a matter of law -- that child custody matters (upon termination of the marriage) be determined according to the "best interests of the child"..... R. Aderet accepts that all child custody determinations involve a single legal standard: the best interest of the child, regardless of the specific facts involved. According to this approach, the "rules" that one encounters in the field of child custody are not really "rules of law" at all, but rather the presumptive assessment by the talmudic Sages as to what generally is in the best interest of children. An enormous theoretical difference exists between R. Asher and R. Aderet. According to R. Aderet, the law allows transfer of Custodial rights (even from their parents) in any situation where it can be shown that the children are not being raised in their best interests and another would raise them in a manner more in their best interest....

III. Determinations of Custody Between Parents The Talmud seems to embrace three rules that govern child custody disputes between parents:

1. Custody of all children under the age of six is to be given to the mother;

2. Custody of boys over the age of six is to be given to the father;

3. Custody of girls over the age of six is to be given to the mother.

.....The above talmudic rules, read in a vacuum, appear to provide no measure of flexibility at all and mandate the mechanical placement of children into the appropriate category. However, Jewish law, as has been demonstrated by others, never understood these rules as cast in stone; all decisors accepted that there are circumstances where the interest of the child overwhelmed the obligation to follow the rules in all circumstances. It is apparent, however, that this interpretation of the talmudic precepts, which turns these rules into mere presumptions -- and allows custody to be given contrary to the Talmudic rules -- is understood by the various authorities in different ways.....

However, an examination of the responsa literature and decisions of the Rabbinical Courts in Israel does indicate that two schools of thought exist on this issue. Many decisors rule that these presumptive rules are relatively strong ones and can only be reversed when it is obvious that the parent who would be granted custody (or already has custody) is unfit. Other decisors adopt a lower standard and permit granting custody contrary to the talmudic rules when these presumptions are not in the best interest of the specific child whose case is being adjudicated.....

Tamar Epstein Heter: Understanding the essential basis for resolving this unholy mess PART ii

Guest Post  Two birds of a feather: the "kidushei taos" and the "seruv"

Part 2. The Wolmark Otisville gang and their “seruv”

The trial in Federal District Court in Trenton of the Wolmark criminal gang shed light on the nature of the “seruv” against Aharon Friedman and the criminal enterprise that purported to issue it. The Department of Justice wanted Tamar Epstein’s to’ain / medical malpractice trial lawyer, Frederic Goldfein, to testify in the criminal trial of Mendel Epstein and several of his accomplices. However, Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey wrote the Court that Goldfein was likely to refuse to testify by invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination regarding his criminal participation in the matter. With the approval of the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney asked United States Federal District Court Judge Freda Wolfson to force Goldfein to testify and give him immunity in order to override his ability to avoid testifying by invoking the Fifth Amendment. Judge Wolfson approved this request, giving Goldfein immunity, and therefore forcing him to testify.

As noted previously, the Baltimore Beis Din that actually had jurisdiction over the case and heard the case refused to rule that Aharon give a get. The Washington Beis Din ruled that it could not assert jurisdiction, and it appears, at least according to ORA and Jeremy Stern, that the Beis Din of America also refused to intercede. Who knows how many other batei din were asked by Goldfein, ORA, and the Kamenetskys to intercede but refused to do so? Eventually, according to the testimony of Frederic Goldfein, he turned to Martin Wolmark, a criminal gangster, to organize a “seruv” against Aharon from a criminal enterprise posing as a “beis din.”

Goldfein also acknowledged at the trial that as part of extensive correspondence between Goldfein and Wolmark, Wolmark had sent Goldfein an email offering to sign the "seruv" that Wolmark was organizing because Wolmark believed his involvement would scare Aharon and Rabbi Shragi. Pursuant to this plan, Wolmark was one of the signatories on the “seruv.” In other words, Wolmark and Goldfein believed that Wolmark was so infamous as a criminal gangster, that his involvement would scare Aharon and Rabbi Shragi.

Wolmark has pled guilty in connection with the case, and is currently scheduled to be sentenced in Federal District Court in New Jersey on December 14. The Wolmark gang was so thoroughly incompetent and corrupt that it ruled that force should be used to force a purported husband to give a get even though the man did not even exist, and even sent a whole gang of thugs to a warehouse to kidnap and beat up this non-existent man. The gang was so eager to collect their $60,000 that whether the man actually existed, never mind whether there was any actual halachic basis to kidnap and beat him, was not something that really concerned them.

It should also be noted that Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, one of the other signatories on Wolmark’s “seruv” was, like Goldfein, given immunity in the case and forced to testify by Judge Wolfson at the trial at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s office with the approval of the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Department -- because Rabbi Ralbag would otherwise have invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as to his criminal involvement in the gang. An FBI affidavit in the case stated that the FBI had probable cause to believe that both Rabbi Ralbag, and another of the signatories on the “seruv,” Rabbi Israel Belsky, had violated five different Federal criminal statutes, with regard to their participation in the case.

So --- the Beis Din with jurisdiction and that heard the case with the participation of both parties concluded that Aharon has no obligation to give a get. In addition, the Washington Beis Din sent Aharon several hazmanos, but concluded, as Aharon had argued to them, that they had no right to intercede in the case. And, at least according to Rabbi Jeremy Stern and ORA, the Beis Din of America also refused to intercede in the case against Aharon despite being requested to do so by the Epsteins. Eventually Goldfein found a thoroughly incompetent and corrupt criminal enterprise led by the criminal Martin Wolmark to purport to issue a “seruv” against Aharon with the participation of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky. The criminal enterprise did not even bother to issue even a single hazmana [summons] against Aharon. And yet, other than Rabbis Eidensohn and Rabbi Gestetner, very few would publicly defend Aharon against these criminals, and their associates such as Rabbi Hershel Schacter and ORA who made a mockery of halacha, beis din, and the frum community. Is it any mystery why the Kamenetskys would believe that it would also be perfectly accepted if they were to organize a “kiddushei taos”?


Direct examination of Frederic Goldfein by an assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey in federal district court in Trenton on March 23, 2015.

Q. And at some point, you went to a man named Rabbi Wolmark, you said?


Q. That's Martin Wolmark?

Goldfein. Yes.

Q. Do you remember approximately when that was?

GOLDFEIN. The first time I met with Rabbi Wolmark was in approximately February of 2011.

Q. And at some time Rabbi Wolmark referred you to Mendel Epstein. Correct?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, he did.

Q. Do you remember approximately when that was?

GOLDFEIN. I think around February or March of 2012.

Q. Approximately a year after you met with Rabbi Wolmark?


Q. Why did Rabbi Wolmark refer you to Mendel Epstein?

GOLDFEIN. Because we had several attempts to make that deal, which originally they agreed to and backed out of, and we just felt we needed some help to get him to take the deal to take the money.

Q. Why specifically Mendel Epstein?

GOLDFEIN. Rabbi Wolmark -- I went to Rabbi Wolmark. Rabbi Wolmark referred me to Rabbi Epstein.

Q. What did Rabbi Wolmark say about Mendel Epstein?

GOLDFEIN. Rabbi Wolmark said that Rabbi Epstein could turn the heat up.


Cross examination by defense lawyer:

Q. -- I want to go to a couple of things you said, and I'm going to show you -- do you remember you met with the FBI about this matter? Correct?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

Q. And that was on January 6th of 2015?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

Q. You had an attorney with you. Correct?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

Q. I'm going to show you what's been marked for identification previously as JGF-01. Hold onto that for a moment, and I'll direct your attention, sir. Mr. Goldfein, I just want to direct your attention before we get into everything. You said, in response to Mr. Gribko's questions, that Rabbi Wolmark introduced you to Rabbi Mendel Epstein. Correct?


Q. And that your testimony on direct was that Rabbi Mendel Epstein said that, We needed to turn the heat up on Aharon Friedman. Do you remember that testimony?

GOLDFEIN. I did not say that. Rabbi Wolmark said that.

Q. And as the months went by, you stayed in regular contact with Rabbi Wolmark by email. Correct, sir?

GOLDFEIN. I was in contact with him, yes.

Q. In fact, you had dozens of emails with him. Correct?

GOLDFEIN. I didn't count them. I was in regular contact with him.

Q. It wouldn't surprise you, there were dozens, if we counted them up?

GOLDFEIN. No, it would not surprise me. I trust your counting.

Q. Do you remember around August of 2011 there was contact between you and Rabbi Wolmark about whether Rabbi Wolmark's name would go on the seruv to Mr. Friedman? GOLDFEIN. I don't remember. If you say it's there, I believe you.

Q. Let me show you what's been premarked for identification as ME-18. I'm just pointing to the first two emails on the top of ME-18. Does that refresh your recollection? GOLDFEIN. I said it's there. I believe you. Yes.

Q. And Rabbi Wolmark was saying if Wolmark's name was on the seruv, that it might scare Mr. Friedman into granting a get. Is that your take on that? GOLDFEIN. Rabbi Wolmark wrote, Either way is fine. My name might scare him and R. Shragai.

Q. Do you know who R. Shragai is?

GOLDFEIN. He is someone who lived in Baltimore. He was a rabbi, and maybe still is, of a school in Baltimore who was a friend and/or advisor of Aharon Friedman at one point.

Q. This was the document, the seruv, the contempt of court, that you had been working on through Rabbi Wolmark all those months to finally issue to Mr. Friedman.


GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.