“He Gets You The Get”: Prominent New York Rabbi Gets 10 Years For Kidnappings and Beatings

cover-prodfather-1215 Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 70, of Brooklyn was convicted this week in a bizarre series of crimes where he and others kidnapped and beat Orthodox Jewish men who refused to grant their wives religious divorces or “gets.” He was to 10 years in prison, a relatively light sentence given multiple kidnapping and beatings ordered by Epstein. The attackers were paid by women to force “gets” out of their husbands. That makes this a religious-based form of organized crime.

Epstein is the father of nine, grandfather of 45 and great-grandfather of five. He is a prominent rabbi who specializes in divorce proceedings, is heard on secretly recorded conversations bragging about using a cattle prod and other violent means to force recalcitrant husbands to agree to the religious divorces. Epstein provided the undercover agents with details of how the target husband would be taken to a warehouse in Edison where he would be kidnapped and beaten until he agreed to the get. That sounds actually like what a mobster would do for money. In such a case, however, the sentence would have likely been longer. Indeed, Epstein was called the “prodfather” for his claimed preference for using a cattle prod on kidnap victims.

Epstein was contrite at trial and said that he was “embarrassed and ashamed” by the tapes and that “Over the years, I guess, I got caught up in my tough guy image.” He said that his clients knew his reputation as the rabbi who goes and gets into all crazy places and he doesn’t give up He gets you the get.”

While Epstein said it was not the money that he was motivated by, he is caught on tape demanding $60,000 from the undercover agent and prosecutors said that only a small portion of that payment went to the “muscle men” who were there to rough up the husband.

Epstein’s attorney, Robert Stahl, argued that Epstein’s sentence should be less than that for the traditional kidnapping cases because those cases usually involve murder, terrorism or child abduction.

2F6841EA00000578-0-image-a-14_14502213880152F6841F200000578-0-image-m-11_1450221256044However, the pictures of husbands tied by ropes and admitted to hospitals belies the defense claims that these were relatively mild kidnappings . . . even if one accepts such a questionable notion.

Two other rabbis were also convicted with Epstein including Rabbi Martin Wolmark, 57. The other men in the warehouse also received remarkably good deals given the kidnapping charges. Arrested were Jay Goldstein, 61, Moshe Goldstein, 32, Avrohom Goldstein, 36, Simcha Bulmash, 32, Binyamin Stimler, 40, David Hellman, 33, and Sholom Shuchat, 31, all of Brooklyn, and Ariel Potash, 42, of Monsey, N.Y.

Putting aside these sentences, it is astonishing that these Orthodox Jewish individuals — both the wives and the kidnappers — would be appalled at the thought of a divorce without a “get” as a sin but not view kidnapping and beatings as a sin. Call me a bit confused on that point.

Avrohom Goldstein, Potash, Shuchat, Moshe Goldstein, Hellman, and Bulmash were allowed to plead guilty to a single count of traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion.

Source: NJ

74 thoughts on ““He Gets You The Get”: Prominent New York Rabbi Gets 10 Years For Kidnappings and Beatings”

  1. Interesting that karen, rather than show the vehemence against the second class state of Jewish women that she reserves for Islam, is rather just sorry that it is the case…
    No vehemence here
    No attacks on judaism here…
    No demonization of the faith here…
    No speaking of the whole of Judaism while claiming to condemn only the extremists…
    Ah, karen…. karen…. hypocrisy by any other name!

    But, since we are in the same room at the same time, let me ask her again :
    karen said to Po:
    Do you consider crashing a van deliberately into a civilian bus stop, hitting people, and then jumping out with a knife to stab a woman with a baby a terrorist attack? Yes or now. And this time answer the question.
    Po answered:
    yes, I do!
    Do YOU consider the bombing of hospitals, of schools, of ambulances, the dropping of a missile on 4 kids playing on the beach, the lighting of a sleeping family on fire a terrorist act? Yes or no?

  2. The obvious answer, from an outside perspective, is to remove the requirement for the husband’s permission to get a religious divorce, rather than engage in violence or other illegal activity.

    I am curious if only Orthodox Jews require this for a remarriage before a rabbi, or all Jewish people.

    1. Karen – I think it is only the Orthodox and it is really a big deal. If they divorce without the get they are expelled from the community.

  3. What a mess. It’s an especially heinous betrayal when police, judges, health care professionals, or clergy betray the trust placed in them.

    The law should be applied equally.

    Bam Bam:

    Thank you for explaining more about the “get.” That part of the story bothered me, that women are helpless to move on without the man’s permission, while the men can just carry on. In Catholicism, the divorce loophole is the annulment. You can get it without the spouse’s cooperation, and even in cases where there are children and long marriages. They should just call it a divorce, because that’s what it essentially is. People without an annulment, but with a civil divorce, can still date and marry, but not in a Catholic ceremony.

  4. What the hell is this!

    I’m pretty sure the Talmud gives him the religious right to cattle prod people.

  5. > andrea
    1, December 18, 2015 at 7:57 am
    The husbands who refused to issue the Get are despicable. Too damn bad that they weren’t all charged with extortion, because that’s what refusal to issue the Get is usually about.

    I used to think this way, and when I divorced, there was no issue at all in my signing the get.

    But I think I was mistaken.

    My wife and I were married under a chuppah by a (female) rabbi, and my wife who is Jewish insisted all along that Jewish law, Jewish religion was important to her. And indeed, she still lives like that. The marriage contract we framed was our ketubah, not our civil license.

    So if all of this law, if all of this religion is important to her when getting married, why isn’t it important to her when getting divorced?

    Oddly, the reason women want the get is to get remarried by a rabbi.

    So to some extent I don’t think the refusal to issue a get is an issue for the husbands, but more an issue for organized Judaism. Either its important and the divorce should be negotiated by a bet din, or its not and they should get rid of it altogether.

    In my case, I would have appreciated having our local Jewish community who knew me and my ex very well listen to the claims made in civil court regarding my ability to parent and why the civil court should not grant me the joint shared physical custody even the court’s own psychologists recommended. (My wife won her arguments in civic court too.).

    So yeah, I think I gave her a get too soon. If the community witnessing our marriage was important, I would think the community witnessing our divorce would be too.

  6. Well, This post brought out our anti-Semites. I hope that Patriot Jew hater is OK, he should have put up his usual 25 videos by now. He is the main missing anti-Semite.

    1. Apparently, it brought out our islamophobes too.
      Then again those are always present.
      Always nice to see you nick!

  7. The comments go on and the notion that religion has some sort of legitimacy to it goes deeper into the well. Or the sewer. The usual dialogue is that my religion is the right one, the other ones are wrong and evil and athiests are the worst of all things human. Atheists see it as all those chumps out there. Dogs see it differently. Different strokes for different folks and four legs good two legs baaaaad!

  8. I don’t see the Rabbi’s criminal behavior as a major national security threat. But some will obviously run with this to understate the threat of Islamic terrorism.

  9. You Zionazis must love when the Rabbis spread disease while fellating babies during briss. Oh, and thank _od Rabbis are excluded from servitude laws in Israel (serve in the military, even females, or prison, your choice). Oh those sweet Rabbis, claiming Hitler did _od’s work in killing Judaics who embraced secularism and turned against the criminal Rabbis. Oh and this lovely Rabbinical trick hoisted on unsuspecting Judaic fathers whose daughter can not conceive child: Give the Rabbi your entire family fortune and more (even borrowed money), and the Rabbi promises to intercede w/_od who shall help the daughter carry child…”Just a few more tens of thousands of dollars and I’m sure little Sarah will carry child! I promise!”

    And those Kosher laws, just love ’em: anything to help the Rabbis from having to (_od forbid) get an actual JOB!

    bam bam: insult your audience in debate. Did they teach that at Harvard debate?

    1. Joseph Jones – as a former director of the BBC once said, Some people deserve to be insulted.

  10. bam,
    If these rabbis have no right to claim jewish law as cover for their claim, why do you offer muslim criminals the right to claim islamic law as cover for their acts?

    what islamic law condones what you claim? Not the quran, the highest authority!

    What is jewish law? Are yous saying the torah offers no justification for “” violence against infidels and even other jews is encouraged, condoned and demanded…”” along with women and non jews as 3rd class citizens?
    Do you really wanna go there?

  11. Consider the up side: the Rabbi has been sent to prison and doesn’t have to buy 64 Hanukkah gifts for his kids, grandkids and GGKs.

  12. Again, po, you miss the point. My point was simple: nowhere in Jewish law is this criminal behavior condoned, encouraged or tolerated. Nowhere. It simply cannot be justified. Period. If you want to contrast it with Islamic law, where violence against infidels and even other Muslims is encouraged, condoned and demanded, you are free to do so. These rabbis have no basis, whatsoever, to claim Jewish law as a cover for their criminal conduct and deeds. Muslims, on the other hand, kill, maim, rape and behead others using quotes from Islamic texts to justify their actions. Major difference, which, as usual, you ignore.

    There should be reform in the manner in which these religious divorces are granted. No doubt about that. Women should be entitled to the right to grant divorces of their own accord. You will find no argument there from me. Your comparison to Islam is, however, off the mark. Atrocities are committed on a daily basis using religious Islamic mandates which encourage and justify said atrocities–that doesn’t exist in this story, where these individuals chose to break with religious rules and take things into their own hands. You are trying to make a comparison when no such comparison exists. I’m sure it will work for the more dim-witted on here, so congrats.

  13. John Smith – a White Paper was published in 1939 offering the Palestinians their own country, but the Grand Mufti of Palestine refused it because it meant accepting Jews in Israel.

              1. po – as Grand Mufti he was the Islamic religious voice for all of Palestine. You have so much to learn.

        1. Paul, the consensus out there is that both you and bibi are Hitler apologists…
          here is your cite, expect my invoice.
          CNN)There’s no question Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany when it implemented the “final solution” in an effort to kill all Jews.

          But, in a speech this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested it wasn’t Hitler’s idea.

          Rather, he pointed to Jerusalem’s then-grand mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who met with the Nazi leader in Germany in the early 1940s.

          “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” Netanyahu said Tuesday at the 37th Zionist Congress, according to a transcript on his website. “And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’

          “‘So what should I do with them?’ (Hitler) asked. (Husseini) said, ‘Burn them.'”

          There’s no video or audio, not even a transcript, that can definitively prove Netanyahu’s account of the conversation between Hitler and Husseini, who as grand mufti oversaw Muslim sites in Jerusalem. But it quickly spurred criticism in Israel and the Palestinian territories, with some claiming that Netanyahu had effectively absolved Hitler of the Holocaust’s most gruesome, deplorable aspect and instead blamed Husseini — then and now a renowned figure in Palestinian circles — for the systematic killing of more than 6 million Jews using gas chambers and firing squads.

            1. Paul, this is where you take your own advice and use google, you’ll see the consensus, including the israeli and german ones that deem you and Bibi both ridiculous.

              1. po – I have told you this before, but you jump to conclusions. Bibi and I are not on the same page. Just answer mine and Bibi can worry about his.

                1. Paul, who named him grand mufti? Yes, the British!
                  So…according to you, the British, non Muslims, can actually elect someone as the voice of all Muslims in Palestine?
                  How would that work?
                  Such statement reveals the holes in your islamic education.

                  Regarding you and Bibi, you are the only two people I have ever heard say that outloud!
                  And it surprises me a great deal that you would keep pushing it, this is one of those instances where most people would let it go lest they discredit themselves COMPLETELY!
                  Then again, what do you have to lose?

                  1. po – The British ‘selected’ him, not elected him to replace his half-brother who had been Mufti of Jerusalem. Since this was almost immediately after the Balfour Declaration and the riots that the Grand Mufti started, they decided to nominate him at Grand Mufti and then made it for all of Palestine rather than just Jerusalem. Sadly, it was a poor choice. He will support more riots against both the Jews and British. Eventually he will have to flee, finally ending up in Germany.

                    Among his other accomplishments, he put together a Waffen SS division of Muslims to fight in the Balkans and charged as a war criminal.

                    1. Ah…Paul…we know the why of Bibi’s obsession with the Grand Mufti, he needed a convenient scapegoat to blame from his massacring of Palestinians…the escalation of blaming Palestinians for their own massacre and the need to portray them as fundamental threat to Jews would necessarily culminate in their being designated as responsible for the worse fate to befall jewry.. . understandable…somewhat…
                      As for you however…am at as much of a loss as everyone else as to why the obsession?
                      Worse yet, why the rewriting history?

                    2. Paul, I hope you will tell us 🙂
                      Not karen I hope!
                      It would conflict with her current duties as ayatollah…

  14. bam bam, protesth much, eh?
    I, for one, thank you for the explanation you offer showing that rather than it being all of islam uh …Judaism being the problem, it is merely some people whose interpretation of the holy texts, along with perhaps some personal interest, pushes them to act contrary to the religious spirit.

    Thank you also for not blaming islam for what Jews do…at least not this time.

    It is still a little confusing though, to me at least. If I remember correctly, you were the one railing against the patriarchy that is present in Islam? yeah? Didn’t you complain about the lesser weight of women’s testimony in Islam…? yeah?
    But…in the Quran, God says that men and women are equal…
    And women have the right to demand a divorce…
    And men have no right to make it hard on women who want to divorce…
    And men have the duty to help support women through the divorce process…
    And that they, men, should be the ones to leave the house and leave the women there until the divorce is consecrated…

    Additionally, isn’t the Talmudic religious law you are referring to a…shariah law? Shariah law is religious law. Talmudic law …is too religious law… So you do support religious law in this country, just not shariah law?
    interesting…for according to shariah law, the women would NOT need a get to divorce.

    Speaking of beam and speck…
    Let me take a stab at how you will react next…
    A- Try to show that though both are religious laws, Islam is worse than Judaism.
    B- offer out of context quotes claiming to show that islam is MUCH worse than judaism…
    C- Quote Robert Spencer to show that…yes, all together now…islam is MUCh worse than judaism…
    D- Quote Daniel Greenbeans to show that…yes, in unison…islam is MUCh worse than judaism…
    E- Hire Nick the Sneak/karen to bring up Ayaan Ali Hirsi’s eloquence, beauty and intellect to slam islam
    F- Recruit karen to slam islam while pretending to speak on extremism…
    All of the above?

  15. Ah, the joys of secularism. The world is better since capitalism took over right? Now we’re all slaves. Ayn Rand told us that rich men are better than priests and kings, so it must be true. Hail Rabbi Rand. I only say that metaphorically, because as her acolyte Nathaniel Branden (ben-rand) noted, the entire upper circle of “objectivists” was Jewish. Atheist jews I mean. Whatever. Including Alan Greenspan, oy vey vat a mensch. And they have nothing to do with these rabbis, nothing, there is no connection.

    I mean other than what Jewish Marx and Trotsky said when they talked about the connections between capitalism and Judaism. But they were self hating jews right, like Noam Chomsky. We put Rand on a pedestal, up there with the Israelis, rabbis, and neocons.

    Somedays Jewish guys like Chomsky or Bernie Sanders seem saner and saner to me than ever, and a lot more benificent than their tribal elders, or ruthless thugs like this rabbi, who is striving downwards to the level of Caiaphas..

  16. It’s all about power and money. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are male dominated religions and therefore male dominated power structures. If Judaism was about religion and the best interests of all Jews then they would do away with this nonsense of the get. A woman would be equal to a man and if she wished to divorce then she would have equal conditions to that of a man. There is no dignity here in any of these religions regarding male chauvinism. The rest is what happens when someone is left no other alternative.

    Human nature will find a way. The men deserved to get kidnapped, pummeled, and made to give up their dominance over their wives. This get situation parallels Islam for repugnant behavior. Oh, sorry, it’s all part of culture and such.

  17. Would anyone, in his or her right mind, argue that the Catholic priests, who molested children over the decades, were somehow acting under color of Canon Law? Of course not. At least not the sane ones among us. That would be outrageous. All sane individuals would attest to the fact that these predators were rogue priests–criminals, pedophiles and abusers, who preyed on innocent and vulnerable children. Nothing in Christianity, or, more specifically, within Catholicism, itself, condones, encourages or allows said despicable conduct, and nowhere will one find a religious justification for those criminal acts. The apparent cover up, however, is another story, yet it still does not lend any religious justification for the underlying criminal conduct. JT’s bizarre assertion that the story at hand is an example of religious-based organized crime is as balanced as claiming that the rogue Catholic priests, who molested children, were part of some organized and religious-based child abuse ring. They were not. They were evil men doing evil things. Period. They wore collars and pretended to be men of God. Period. Their behavior went against everything in which the Catholic Church believes. So, too, are these rabbis–rogue agents, acting under cover of religious titles and outside of the color of religious law to harm others. In both instances, there exists no religious doctrine, in either faith, which permits said abuses. Most priests are good and kind men, who devote their lives in service to God and to their respective communities. The few pedophiles among them do not define them or the religion. So, too, these Jewish individuals do not define what is acceptable or permitted under Jewish law.

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