Haredi-turned model in bitter divorce battle
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish wife turned model describes her divorce ordeal as she continues to fight for full custody of her children
An ugly divorce battle that has shocked New Jersey's haredi community is making headlines in the US and Britain over Pearlperry Reich's attempts to divorce her husband Sinai Meir Sholz and gain full custody of her four children – even though she is no longer a member of the haredi community and is now launching a modeling career.
According the New York Post and Britain's Daily Mail, the mother of four has spoken out about her ordeal at the hands of an Orthodox Jewish community- saying she was trapped in an abusive arranged marriage for six years.
Pearlperry Reich, 30, says she was pushed into an arranged marriage with Sinai Meir Sholz in her home of Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York and had 'issues' right from the start.
Ms Reich told the Daily Mail about what she describes as an emotionally and physically abusive marriage.
She claims her husband called her a 'slut' in front of her children, cut up one of her $4,000 wigs and warned her that she was 'playing with fire' by seeking to leave the Orthodox community.
Ms Reich, who is launching a modeling and acting career, says that her husband is trying to portray her as an unstable and promiscuous woman in order to retain custody.
Reich told Ynet that her former husband and rabbis in the haredi community "used and abused my children in an attempt to persuade me back into the marriage and curb me in any way possible. They destroyed my children's stability for their religious beliefs. For example, they took my children out oh Chabad schools and claimed it wasn't religious enough."
Since she left her husband five years ago, she has moved from Brooklyn to Lakewood, New Jersey because she feels it is more accepting.
'I vary considerably from the accepted orthodoxy level in the Lakewood community and have since become a lot more liberal and open minded,'' she noted..
She also has a boyfriend and her ex's lawyers say that she is behaving inappropriately by kissing her boyfriend in front of their four children.
She said that while she may not follow the religion's rules all of the time, she is very clear to do so while her children are present.
'I keep my home 100 per cent Kosher in regards to the kids,' she said.
She also said that since she left her husband five years ago, she has done the lion's share of the child rearing for all four of their children- ages 5, 7, 8 and 9 years old.
Complicating the legal matters of the case, the couple agreed to a beth din- a special contract issued in rabbinical courts- that said they would share custody and she would raise the children in accordance with Orthodox teachings.
She now argues that she was not aware of what she was signing, hoping to repeal the decision.
Because she left the tight-knit religious community, she has been very alone throughout the ordeal, with even her parents ganging up against her.
Now, she just hopes that her case earns enough attention and sympathy to overturn the agreement that she signed in rabbinical court which allows her husband joint custody.
'It's more than emotionally draining- it's psychological, mental,' she said.
Ms Reich's plight comes just a week after the announcement that another woman named Deborah Feldmen who left the Orthodox lifestyle has penned a memoir about her time in her ultra-conservative marriage.
Rather than writing a book, Ms Reich is using social media as a way to tell her story. Her Facebook support group already has over 2,000 followers and she has launched a Facebook Causes page to help her raise money to pay for the ensuing legal battle.