Rabbinical Council of California own Director Rabbi Baruch Gradon calls women he teaches too "evil", I kid you not! Diane Polonsky
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
One night in the fall of 1986, a woman named Deena talked with Neustein. Soft-spoken, she'd been sheltered all her life. "Naïve," Neustein remembers. Her story began the way many did: abusive husband won't grant get.
Deena went on to explain that her friends had referred her to a man who was known to help women in her situation. "He told her that the abuse denial was very much entrenched in the community; that the beth din favored men; that women were losing children and not getting divorces and there was nothing she could do; that she would remain a woman in chains for the rest of her life; that she wouldn't get a divorce in any other way than through him," Neustein recalls.
Soon after speaking with the man, Deena had second thoughts. He'd guaranteed he could persuade her husband to grant the get, but he was charging her thousands of dollars and was suspiciously secretive about his methods. Eventually Deena learned from others that the man was rumored to use violence to coerce gets out of stubborn husbands. So she told the man she'd changed her mind. She hinted that she might report him to authorities. In response, he told her she was about to make a terrible mistake. If she didn't accept his services, he said, she would lose her children, she would never marry again, "no one would ever want her, and the community would align with the husband," Neustein reports.
Neustein wasn't familiar with the man, a to'ein named Mendel Epstein. She advised Deena to "stay strong," "keep fighting," and they'd figure out a solution. The two women spoke a few more times over the next couple of months. And then Neustein never heard from Deena again. To this day she doesn't know where Deena went, but she heard the woman may have left the city.
In the years that followed, Epstein became a common thread between many of Neustein's nighttime meetings in the bais medrash. Most stories followed a similar arc: a desperate woman turns to Epstein, decides not to follow through with his plan, faces extortion.
There were some exceptions. In 1997, for example, Neustein met with a woman named Libby. She came from a poor family, Libby said, but her husband was a wealthy, well-known member of the Orthodox community. He was also abusive: When she was six months pregnant, Libby told Neustein, he beat her until she miscarried. Desperate, Libby turned to Mendel Epstein. The rabbi offered one solution: He'd have her husband give her $10,000 if she left the country and promised to keep quiet.
Neustein advised her to reject the deal, and to bring the spousal abuse to light.
A few days later, Libby phoned Neustein from the airport and apologized. She had a one-way ticket to Israel. "I'm giving in," she said.
Over a decade and a half, Neustein estimates, two dozen women came to her in fear of Epstein.
Meanwhile, in a one-room office in Crown Heights, a family therapist named Monty Weinstein was hearing stories, too. Weinstein founded Father's Rights Metro, a nonprofit group that assisted men in custody disputes. Weinstein remembers the first time he heard Epstein's name: In the mid-1980s, an Orthodox Jew approached him with a farfetched tale about how he'd been jumped by thugs and beaten until he agreed to recite the get oath.
"I was skeptical," Weinstein says. "In fact, I didn't believe it. I knew this guy must be a kook."
Several weeks later, though, another man came in with the same story. Then another. Some told of beatings, others of threatening phone calls: Grant the get or you'll be accused of child abuse; grant the get or you'll never see your kids again; grant the get, or else. By the time Weinstein shuttered the nonprofit in 1995, he says, he'd encountered more than a dozen men who'd been assaulted or intimidated over a get.
Such acts of physical coercion go back to ancient times, when a Jewish man could legally be flogged until he relented. In the early 20th century in certain parts of Europe, Queens College professor Heilman says, a woman's father might hire neighborhood toughs to rough up a son-in-law who refused to grant a get.
But refusals persist, and so do beatings. If anything, an increasingly mobile society has amplified the temptation to resort to violence. In the past, a community might shun a recalcitrant husband. Nowadays the man can simply relocate. "It's a modern-day problem because now men can start over," says Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, director of Beth Din of America, a Manhattan-based rabbinical court that handles more cases than any beth din outside of Israel. "Before mobilization, he's stuck in his community, where there's a stigma."
Certain forms of coercion are unanimously accepted in divorce disputes. The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot uses a variety of social and economic pressures to persuade a man to grant a get. Jeremy Stern says he'll stage protests outside a recalcitrant husband's home or workplace and have lawyers look into civil litigation. He asks the man's synagogue to bar him from entry. In some instances, he has asked a husband's employer to fire him. If the man owns a business, he calls for a boycott.
Rabbinical Council of California own Director Rabbi Baruch Gradon calls women he teaches too "evil", I kid you not! Diane Polonsky
The article sorely overlooks that facts of rampant filing of false abuse charges--women told by Epstein that they can and should file false abuse charges to deny their husband's custody--that this happens first before any state of limbo happens--and the rampant misuse of orders of protections to just throw husbands out of their own homes for which they are paying rent or the mortgage; that there are "recalcitrant" intransigent women making unfair unequitable divorce demands.
The article fails to bring to light that many rabbis consider Epstein a quack--meaning his so-called knowledge and arguments were just bunk--i've been present to see him presiding as a judge (not a lawyer-toen) try & pass notes to his client on what claims to make--that is a clear violation of judicial procedure for a judge; the article overlooks the accusations of Epstein's confessions of pedophilia and that he can get away with anything with anyone's children.
The article has very little discussion of the numerous charges of corruption & bribery of the police, the D.A.'s (Gribbitz & Hynes and undoubtedly others) the FBI's lack of action and lie that they did not investigate when several citizens have stepped forward and said the FBI investigated Epstein decades ago. The FBI's statement that they have no files on Epstein is just a lie.
IMHO, the article fails to cover many, many issues. Some issues are illuded to. But, not clearly stated.
As Oswald Spengler put it, 'you can't really understand a culture you were not brought up in'. But this much needs to be clear, that Epstein is just singing a song people want to hear, so he can make money. He is no feminist. He is not a fundamentalist. He is no champion of the underdog. He is just a criminal and an extortionist who operates outside the laws--American and Mosaic. And, lots and lots of corrupt public officials are aiding him for their own personal corrupt reasons and they are on the take.
The Rabbi said: "They'll think it's some crazy Jewish affair" Why, if that hadn't been said by a Rabbi, I would think it was anti-Semetic!
The article ends: "He hasn't signed the Get". The husband does not sign a Get; he authorizes that it be written. Witnesses then sign it. It is very difficult to explain a religious procedure in a popular journal that is not well-versed in all that is part of the Get process. The bottom line is that Rabbi Epstein is accused of violating the law. He may have meant well, or not, but American law governs the behavior of Orthodox Jews. For those who used this opportunity to take aim at religious behavior, the answer is simple. The behavior described here did not rise to religious behavior. The salacious details do not in any way controvert this conclusion.
Thank you orthodox Jews for honoring me with abuse, insults, bad behavior and treatment that ignores the fact that non-religious Jews are simply your equal. Your lifestyle is nothing short of hysterical and insane -- the politics of blind support for Israel is deeply disturbed -- your religious beliefs are no better than members of any other cult or religion that cause suffering to the participants. Signed...an actual Jew.
Women without a Get cannot get married, so are relegated to a life of celibacy with no children other than the ones they already have. If it were men in that situation, would the article be written differently?
7 pages? Not to say that Im impressed with the behavior of said Rabbi, but I cant wait to see how many pages the HOLEY Village Voice will devote to all the salacious details of each Knockout perp and Knockout crime, and cant wait to see the mocking tone employed by the writer about each perp......!
Nah, that wouldnt be PC. Fuegedabatit.
Fair treatment, my HOLEY PC friends!
Science tells us that the "dimensionality of God" collectively felt by all who participate in a specific set of religious practices is by agreement amongst themselves. If there were an actual material "God" dispensing "holy authority", it would controvert all advanced laws of physics and all advanced understanding of what science actually is. This simple fact applies to secret satanic rituals or a Catholic Eucharist or people applauding one another at Scientology meetings -- take your pick. Hard to believe, I'm sure, but Judaism is in the same category when it comes to its relation with science.
Is that an attack on Judaism?
No...because science recognizes that religions fulfill specific human needs involving our understanding of that which is non-material. Does it pose a threat to those who would use religion to solicit either blood, or money or the capital of people's hard labor for their own power and enrichment? Yes, I think it does, and thank God for that! The political structures that incorporate violence most effectively do so...with invocations of "God." God wants you to fight for us...the Jews! Or...God is calling you to be a suicide bomber -- an "Army of One" member -- or any collectivized violent structure. Your induction into any part or section of the U.S. military is based on an oath -- and oaths always involve "God." That way, when you come home with your legs missing, or in a casket, those who wrote the orders aren't responsible -- only God knows why your particular tragedy had to happen -- even though a scientific analysis would point to the functioning of a hugely profit-driven industry based on these catastrophic events involving the lives of innocent young men and women.
I'll tell you what...I'll say a prayer for you and a prayer for those who believe that God is good...and the main reason billions (actually, upon second thought, "trillions") must be spent on weapons whilst people the world over suffer the consequences. I'll say a prayer that you one day wake up and realize that there's nothing good about a God that prevails over science.
An actual Jew? Jew by birth perhaps, not by practice. If you dont believe and observe the Torah, thats all you are. I dont despise you, my brother. It would be nice if you didnt despise me for my choices and keeping the faith of my ancestors, all the while living successfully in the secular world, in every way.
@skier456 What is to stop a woman from just walking away, file for a divorce and move on?
Bestsustenance, when did you turn white? I thought we were Jewish, not white? Are you now rejecting your Jewishness?
Please, sir, don't tell me Jews are white. I want at least one thing to be proud of!
@bestsustenance The knockout crime is bullshit. But hey, thanks for bringing up a completely manufactured crime.
@dubsdingleberries Thanks for launching on that long-winded philosophical treatise of yours without warning, said no one, ever. Way to blanket over all the distinctions underlying NJMediator's points. I mean, if the man never says anything is being attacked, even if some of the tone (*salacious") is indicative, aren't you out of line responding to him as if he did say it? I don't think anything you've written contradicts anything the above commenter initially posted. For a rationalist, you should really watch the non-sequiturs, as the irony there gets pretty thick.
@bestsustenance The Torah is your religious document. Not mine. I didn't choose it...and there is actually nothing to indicate that not choosing the Torah makes my "Jewishness" less than yours -- even though you insist that to be the case. Likewise, the fact that you can find other religious Jews who agree with you and support your thinking...does not make it valid -- just as the leader of any church or cult is not validated by the fact that he (or she) has followers. If you choose to believe that your way is "the" way, because of texts written in the dark past -- before science prevailed -- you're welcome to do so; however, the relationship of your thinking to reality is tenuous at best. I can find videos of orthodox Jews wherein they declare that "Arabs" or Palestinians are animals. The fact that you may agree or disagree with those sentiments does not make them valid, not does it invalidate them -- although it stands to reason that thinking of Palestinians in this manner is not rational or productive in any way, shape or form. By the way...you're not my brother.
What's to stop her? Oh, being disowned by her family, possibly stripped of all she owns, not being able to marry within the Orthodox community, things like that.
Think you could easily make that choice, if you were a woman reared in that culture?
And the Rabbi's crime is more real?
Hey, any crime the O in the big white house in DC doesnt speak of, doesnt exist, remember?
<i>"What makes you Jewish?"</i>
Hey, best sustenance, you make me, a Jew, sick! You want to know what a Jew is? I'll tell you what my Father told me a Jew is: "Son, at one time, saying 'I am a Jew' could lose a man his life, or subject him to discrimination. As far as I'm concerned, any man brave enough to say he is a Jew, is one"
I have always found his advice sound.
And BTW, best sustenance, there aren't that many of us left, why do you want to kick anybody else out? So there will be more Jewish for you?
When there aren't enough Jews left for Yom Kippur, will you get to fast for a whole week?
Hopefully you and I agree that we all have the right to choose what we believe. Hopefully you and I agree that there are good people and bad people within every group in the human race, whether believers of any kind, or non-believers. Good luck to you as well.
@bestsustenance I'll tell you what...you win the argument. Your a "real" Jew and I'm not a real Jew. How's that? Is that what you need? I grew up in a Jewish family -- I'm not defending the degree or level of my Jewishness. My grandfather was an editor for "The Jewish Daily Forward" for 60 years. I could provide other details of being raised as a Jew, but I'm not going to. We're commenting on an article that delineates the most primal dysfunction anyone could imagine -- within the Jewish faith. Is the "bad Rabbi" also more Jewish than me? There's no argument here -- no debate. The abuse of the Palestinian people speaks for itself when looking at Orthodox Jewry -- there's nothing to add. Good luck.
No human is an animal. Some humans, among them Jews and non-Jews, behave animal-like though.
If observing the Torah in some form doesnt make someone Jewish, what does?
What makes you Jewish?
Ok, so to be healed from my malady, if theres any hope at all for me, that is, must I also judge ALL lovers of Israel badly and judge ALL Arabs well?
Thinkin' about it.
What we are seeing here with ol' bestsustenance, is another unfortunate sufferer of the "Ziocaine Syndrome". This unfortunate collection of behaviors causes some people to act as if they are intoxicated by cocaine and alchohol whenever certain subjects are discussed.
It's a shocking display, but I believe its sufferers demand our empathy.
"Crimes", you mean. And they are quite real and of long standing.
But hey, you'll say anything you can to help keep people hating and fearing black folk, as your goal is to cut Corporate America's taxes and thus social programs. (See also: Southern Strategy, Lee Atwater.)