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December 21, 2010

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John Doe

Shmarya -- I agree with you about the track records. That's why it's amazing that Reb Shmuel and some feminist organizations are on the same side here and that's the part of the story you're missing.

Your contention that "beit dins do not trump civil judgments" is a non-sequitur of the first order. What does your statement mean? Aharon is not in violation of the court order. The issue is a religious one -- is Tamar, pursuant to halacha, required to return to beis din to resolve these issues? Don't answer with the court order because the court has nothing to say about halacha. And if you say that you don't care about the halacha here, well, I don't much care for the rules on the get issue either, but then don't invoke the religious obligation to give a get. You can't have it both ways.

If you're going to invoke Aharon's moral obligation, then what about her moral obligation to allow Aharon more access (read: feasible access) to his daughter?

Finally, let me conclude with a moshul because Jews seem to love them. What if I steal $10,000 from you and then you sue me, but one day late under the applicable statue of limitations. The court therefore dismisses your suit for lack of jurisdiction...you're late after all. Does that mean that my theft of $10,000 becomes approved by the court? Not at all; the only thing the dismissal means is that the court cannot order me to return the money.

Just because a court concludes that, in its assessment, the best of interests of a child lies in allowing the mother and kid to remain in Philly hardly equates to a ringing endorsement of her conduct.

And, again, I ask -- where was the community outrage at her conduct? WHere is the current outrage? If we're talking basic morality, I'd say her leaving town with his daughter is pretty low, along with emailing Aharon's boss. What's up with that? Is the best interest of her daughter really in denying her father a livelihood? There's been no allegation of Aharon's failure to pay child support? Should he lose his job, how will he pay Tamar? Unless the answer is that Tamar hardly needs his money...

Please accept the possibility that you'd do exactly what Aharon is doing in this case.

IH

Gevalt! They were married in 2006. Why in God's name didn't they have an RCA Prenuptial Agreement?

http://www.rabbis.org/Prenuptial_Agreement.cfm

No RCA Rabbi should be mesader keddushin without one being signed. Haven't we learned yet!!!

 micaela

rabbinical courts should change the get law and should give a dead line - one year of separation should automatically grant divorce to the wife .
for what reason should the husband be the only one to grant divorce ?

Shmarya

You cannot contend after reading Rabbi B's letter that Aharon has not been terribly wronged... I agree that he should give the get for a variety of reasons, but where in God's name was the community and rabbinic outrage when she all but kidnapped his kid! Did Reb Shmuel say, "listen, Tamar, I know that life will be much easier for you at home in Philly, but you made a baby and lived in Silver Spring, so while life sucks as a single mom, you can't move out like that."

Again, I find it hard to believe the civil court intentionally set up custody for him that forces him to violate Shabbat.

Past that, rabbis and beit dins have a very bad track record in the modern era (and probably earlier) with regard to protecting women's rights.

And beit dins do not trump civil court judgments,

So, again, where is the proof the civil court did what you claim it did?

Shmarya

I can't send you the copy I have and whether you'll trust me or not I can't change that. I am anonymous here so why should you trust me?

Seriously?

Because you are anonymous and because I have no reason to trust you.

John Doe

Shmarya-- I love your stuff but you quoted the best excerpt of Rabbi Breitowitz's letter that favors the wife. Rabbi B says that she's obligated to go to beis din; all but concludes that she manipulated the court process vis-a-vis the beis din process; and provides an ample moral justification for Aharon's actions. If anything Rabbi B's letter begs the question -- how is Aharon supposed to get a religious resolution to his problem WITHOUT the leverage of the get?

You cannot contend after reading Rabbi B's letter that Aharon has not been terribly wronged... I agree that he should give the get for a variety of reasons, but where in God's name was the community and rabbinic outrage when she all but kidnapped his kid! Did Reb Shmuel say, "listen, Tamar, I know that life will be much easier for you at home in Philly, but you made a baby and lived in Silver Spring, so while life sucks as a single mom, you can't move out like that."

And what is the basis for righteous, **religious** indignation about not giving a get -- the entire issue is itself a religious one. And there appears to be significant disagreement about the extent of Aharon's obligation to get give a get at this point.

The fact is only an idiot plaintiff litigates to the point where the former bankrupts the latter. She has left Aharon with no option but the current course. If he were asking for a cash payout, that'd be disgusting and immoral, but all he's asking for is better visitation with his kid. We'd all do the same thing in his situation, although I'd never have bothered with beis din and I would've gotten a warrant for her arrest immediately when she left the state. Aharon's patience and optimism about his marriage in the end cost him.

Bottom line -- many of Aharon's sympathizers are telling him he should give a get. Who is telling Tamar to do the right thing or is she just listening to the echo chamber?

Well what about this...

I can't send you the copy I have and whether you'll trust me or not I can't change that. I am anonymous here so why should you trust me? Obviously, I am not asking you to believe me about the order though Tamar certainly has a copy as well so if I'm lying they can call me on it. But I'm not lying.

Shmarya

Nothing personal, but if you don't share the entire order and any other documents, then it is difficult to believe you.

Well what about this...

I am not against providing you the order but the copy I received was given in confidence. I assume it is a public record though. It was an order/memorandum opinion issued July 2, 2009 in Montgomery County. Case 71624-FL.

That both parties are fit parents is on page 4.

That Tamar "has made minimal efforts to foster the relationship between [Aharon] and his daughter," and the statement I already cited above are 4-5.

That the fact that the daughter was in Philadelphia for 14 months since Tamar left the marital home led to the outcome of the order is page 6.

Shmarya

(5)H's behavior in witholding a get is wrong.He is acting totally improperly
-repeat,totally improperly-but his behavior is the pained and
desperate response of a helpless and distraught father to the loss of
his only child through the unilateral decision of the mother to move
out of state.. .Basic morality teaches us that two wrongs do not make a right but the
community should at least know there are TWO wrongs,not only ONE.

That's the crux of the matter.

Friedman doesn't have the right to withhold the get.

As for his custody problems, the proper place to deal with them would be in civil court.

If the current arrangements use Shabbat to prevent visitation, it would seem to me Friedman would have a strong case, and would have many rabbis supporting him, and I find it difficult to believe a civil court would let stand custody arrangements that force one party to violate Shabbat.

So why isn't Friedman pursuing that route?

norm

I have no sympathy for the wife. If you belong to a religious cult like orthdox Judaism either obey the rules or get out. Its frankly none of secular Jews business what these midevil bearded shaman's do or think. Just another reason not to support any of their institutions, here or in Israel.

It's like a women wanting to be a Catholic priest-if you don't like the rules become a "Pro testant"

John Doe

STATEMENT BY RABBI YITZCHAK BREITOWITZ ON THE AGUNAH
CONTROVERSY
In recent weeks .the community has become increasingly concerned
about the plight of a young woman who was civilly divorced in April
2010 and has not yet received her get.Because my role in this matter
has either been intentionally misstated or inadvertently
misunderstood,I feel it is necessary to offer a clarification. I have no desire to interject
myself in a bitter and emotional dispute nor do I want to engage in possible lashon
hara or rechilus but here are several points to consider:

(1)It has come to my attention that some people are
asserting that I support the refusal of a husband(H) to grant a get to his wife and in fact I
am the counsel actively advising the husband not to divorce his wife.
Nothing could be further from the truth..I have written an entire
book(400+pages) on how agunot can and should be protected.I am
sympathetic to the plight of these unfortunate women and over many
years have devoted much time and effort to do what I could to assist
them. I do not support the right of a husband to withold a get in
order to secure negotiation advantages. I have urged H explicitly
to give a get immediately

(2).At the same time,I believe he has been wronged --he has been deprived of
meaningful access to his infant daughter which is all he seeks to obtain-and I believe it is
essential that a beis din be convened to adjudicate his claims. and create a workable
schedule that recognizes the importance of both parents having a strong bond with their
child. The present schedule of weekend visitation is preposterous and
literally not possible for a shomer shabbos man living in Maryland to
keep.

(3)The allegation that he somehow forfeited his rights by initiating
litigation in secular court is groundless.He went to court because of a
deadline filing that had to be met in order to preserve legal rights in
the future in the event the beis din system broke down..This step was
taken with the stated intention of obeying a beis din decision and foregoing whatever
legal benefits the court proceeding would give him..I know this is the case
because I discussed this with him at the time..This type of legal
action is halachically permissible and commonly practiced.It was never
intended to circumvent halacha and the beis din process. If H was in
error in taking that step,the error was mine(though I do not consider
it an error) for which I take full responsibility..He certainly should
not suffer by my mistake.

(4)There is no conceivable reason why a beis din cannot hear the matter
and come to its own conclusion.And any statement that the beis din’s
hands are tied because of a court decision is equally specious.The
parties are perfectly able to ignore or modify any court visitation by
mutual consent and Jewish law requires that they ignore the court
schedule by agreeing to go to beis din.This is the duty of H and W and
there is nothing in any court order that inhibits them from doing this.

(5)H's behavior in witholding a get is wrong.He is acting totally improperly
-repeat,totally improperly-but his behavior is the pained and
desperate response of a helpless and distraught father to the loss of
his only child through the unilateral decision of the mother to move
out of state.. .Basic morality teaches us that two wrongs do not make a right but the
community should at least know there are TWO wrongs,not only ONE.

(6)This is why I was not an enthusiastic supporter of the rally.(though I did not
voice open opposition).The parties still need to work out
very important details,a proper beis din needs to be constituted,both
parties bear a share of blame for the unfortunate impasse,and
shame/humiliation tactics are not necessarily the best way to break the
impasse.I am unfortunately not in a position to actively work on this
matter and do not want to be embroiled in yet another controversy but
sincerely hope and urge not only that H give a get but that both
parties resubmit their dispute to a beis din as soon as possible,agree
to abide by whatever decision is issued and modify the visitation
schedule accordingly..

May Hakadosh Baruch Hu bring peace to this couple for the good of their
child and may the fires of machloket in all its negative forms be
extinguished,Yitzchak A. Breitowitz
PS I am simply clarifying my position but do not intend or desire
to engage in any debate or discussion about this.I respect the fact
that others may differ strongly with my views but given the fact that I am not
presently involved with this case, I will not be commenting further.[END]

John Doe

I generally agree with many of the sentiments expressed on this website, but you've got this case all backwards. This is a case of a well respected, popular, and well-to-do Philadelphia Yeshiva affiliated family beating up a less-connected person. The wife left the state with the child under the pretense of abiding by the beis din, but then pressed for the court resolution when she saw she could get a good result there. The beis din asked the parties to dismiss the court case and she refused. He went to court only to avoid waiving his rights under guidance from a legal and get expert...Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz, whose letter to the community you should now be able to obtain.

The irony here is that the same yeshivish people who ordinarily believe in the issur of going to a non-Jewish court are today citing the Maryland state court in support of pressuring Aharon to give the get. Since when does Reb Shmuel hold of going to a secular court?! Answer: When a family with whom he is close asks him for help.

I agree that the batei-din often cause more chillul Hashem than any two orthodox Jews do in resolving disagreements in a regular, good old state or federal court, but the wife's family are only trumpeting the state court ruling because they won there. Had Aharon prevailed they'd be protesting at his house for not going to beis din.

Here's the ultimate irony -- what the heck does the state court have to do with a get?!? Whether a get must be given is a religious legal question, not a secular one. As far as the state court is concerned, Aharon's done nothing wrong. So, the only proper question is whether he has a halachic obligation to give a get now or whether he may wait for a beis din to finally resolve the matter. According to the local vaad and R. Belsky and others, it seems that Aharon has a right to the beis din's ruling BEFORE giving a get.

Finally, here's one thing we can probably all agree on. These issues wouldn't be a problem if rabbis permitted the use of prenupts (and other rulings) to simply avoid the agunah problem to begin with.

state of disgust

SJ:
Your assumptions in this case are unfounded. If you have evidence that the civil divorce was unfair, please share it. Otherwise Mr Friedman is asking for visitation rights that a fair and impartial Judge has determined not to be in the best interest of the children. In determining visitation rights Judges have an obligation to determine what is in the best interest of the children, not just the parents.
Assuming that religious courts, which have a poor history of looking out for women and children, is a better arbiter then civil authorities is specious at best.

Shmarya

The facts as you state them are interesting.

Perhaps you should share the supporting documents with us so we can ascertain your statement's validity.

Well what about this...

First off, in the name of all that is holy can you please set that video up top to play if you click "play" and not go off automatically when you enter the page. Every time I hit refresh I have to pause it and it is annoying.

Second, Aharon did not sue for civil divorce. Your assertion he did is false.

Third, it is Tamar avoiding the halachic process that leads to a get. Aharon is not compelled to give a get until an appropriate bet din says he is. Two batei din that Tamar has applied to in this matter - Baltimore and Silver Spring - both say the Baltimore bet din is where she must seek her get (unless both parties agree otherwise). Yet she avoids it and then, together with Ora, has the nerve to claim that it is Aharon only in the wrong.

Fourth, a secular court could not be expected to realize the implications of requiring a Friday night pick up in one city when the frum husband works 150 miles away. But Tamar knew when she submitted that recommendation to the judge.

Fifth, the court order whose impartiality you cite to, states that Tamar's “indifferent approach to [their daughter] having a mutually rewarding relationship with her father [Aharon] is rooted in spite and is not beneficial to the child.”

Sixth, the order explicitly states the only reason that Tamar gets custody in Philadelphia is because of all the time that passed since she left the marital home. The only reason the time passed is because the parties were both in the midst of proceedings with the beit din of Baltimore. And the only reason those proceedings ended is because Tamar refused the beit din's instructions to sign an agreement that would allow the civil case to drop. In other words, Tamar manipulated the situation that led to the order in its current form.

Finally, the court most certainly did not approve ganging up on Mr. Friedman. That was approved by the goons at Ora. Until this matter I thought Ora was respectable and made efforts to contact both parties before they did their thing. Here they were hanging up attack posters against Aharon before the first contact threatening him.

nobody

If you had your kids taken away from you, wouldn't you use everything in your power to try to get them back? Good grief, you self-righteous a-holes.

Shmarya

But courts are the law of the land, and he brought the case to court first.

SJ

Courts aren't always right. I do say that this guy can do a better job making his case that it's problematic.

Shmarya

what troubles me is the protesters ganging up on Mr. Friedman without finding out for sure whether or not the custody agreement is indeed equitable.

The court already ruled on that.

SJ

The man says it's problematic, what troubles me is the protesters ganging up on Mr. Friedman without finding out for sure whether or not the custody agreement is indeed equitable.

I simply don't like ganging up on one party in a situation without being informed of the situation and while it appears that both parties are in fact in the wrong.

AT LEAST gang up on both Mr. Friedman and his soon-to-be former wife equally and I would respect that.

I'm against not allowing women to divorce, but as far as gets and divorces are concerened, if the woman wants to play dirty I'm ok with the man playing dirty, as long as no laws are broken by either.

Shmarya

Or alternatively, the rabbis are concerned about halachic integrity, Tamar is avoiding the beit din and Ora is using the press (read: you) and the mob to intimidate and "extort" (as you put it) Aharon.

Actually not.

Friedman is trying to get a better custody deal by withholding the get and the rabbis are, as usual, too incompetent to stop it.

He initiated the divorce. He is mandated halakhicly to give the get.

He wants a better custody deal? Convince a judge.

Well what about this...

Or alternatively, the rabbis are concerned about halachic integrity, Tamar is avoiding the beit din and Ora is using the press (read: you) and the mob to intimidate and "extort" (as you put it) Aharon.

Shmarya

Posted by: Well what about this... | December 21, 2010 at 07:41 PM

In other words, he wants to void the court-ordered custody agreement and the rabbis are, as usual, allowing extortion to achieve it.

Shmarya

Funny how none of these dickfaces who are protesting are simultaniously calling for a fairer custody agreement.

SJ officially supports Mr. Friedman and hopes Mr. Friedman is able to stand strong while the masses of un-fairminded braindead ortho-turds try to pile up on him.

If the idiot braindead protesters were SIMULTANIOUSLY calling for a fair custody agreement and a get, then I'd be more sympathetic to their cause.

Posted by: SJ | December 21, 2010 at 07:40 PM

What makes the custody agreement made by civil court wrong or "unfair"?

Past that, what gives Friedman the right to use a get as extortion for changing the custody agreement?

Well what about this...

10 Tevet, 5771
December 17, 2010
To the Members of the Greater Washington Jewish Community,
We, the members of the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington, are fully cognizant and aware of the communal concern and polarization of opinions surrounding the dissolution of the marriage of Tamar Epstein and Aharon Friedman. While we truly empathize and understand the feelings on both sides we must follow the objectivity of Torah values and halakhic principles as our guide if we are not simply to react to the powerful emotions of the moment. These emotions, though legitimate, may or may not lead us in the proper direction, while halakhah can always serve as our roadmap in times of trouble.
In that regard and as is appropriate, we and others have been and are continuing to make diligent efforts to facilitate a resolution to this situation and have been gathering the appropriate information so that we could act and comment appropriately. It was only during the past week that we were able to meet with the Baltimore Bet Din (the Rabbinic court that has dealt with this case) to understand their perspective on this issue.
Though some things are inappropriate for a letter of this type there are some points that we wish to share with the community.
First, at this time there is no Bet Din order for Mr. Friedman to give a get.
Second, there is no Bet Din statement indicating a refusal to comply with a Bet Din’s order to give a get (a siruv) that exists at this time.
Third, the Baltimore Bet Din considers the matter of the get to be part of the original case. If a get is requested from that Bet Din they will then rule on that request.
Fourth, at one point, for a period of time, the Baltimore Bet Din relinquished its jurisdiction of the case but when petitioned to reconsider did so and reasserted its jurisdiction.
Fifth, during that period the Vaad took several steps to take jurisdiction but those efforts were halakhically precluded from continuing once the Baltimore Bet Din made its decision to retake jurisdiction.
The Vaad, therefore, hopes for the following and will do all it can to facilitate these steps.
Both parties should return to the Baltimore Bet Din to resolve the issue of the get as quickly as possible.
If both parties agree, another Bet Din can deal with these issues (the Baltimore Bet Din has agreed to relinquish jurisdiction if both parties agree to another venue).
If this agreement is possible we stand ready to help facilitate arranging that change of venue.
This situation has created immeasurable pain and anguish. We hope and pray that the parties will accept one of these alternatives and that we can all see a rapid resolution to this tragic circumstance.


Rabbi Hillel Klavan, President
Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, Vice President
Rabbi Dovid Rosenbaum, Secretary
For the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington

SJ

Funny how none of these dickfaces who are protesting are simultaniously calling for a fairer custody agreement.

SJ officially supports Mr. Friedman and hopes Mr. Friedman is able to stand strong while the masses of un-fairminded braindead ortho-turds try to pile up on him.

If the idiot braindead protesters were SIMULTANIOUSLY calling for a fair custody agreement and a get, then I'd be more sympathetic to their cause.

critical_minyan

what a shandeh these republicans are. its nice to see so many people trying to help this woman out.

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