Rabbi Mendel Epstein allegedly extorted Jewish divorces known as gets from recalcitrant husbands by kidnapping them and shocking them with electric cattle prod. For that service, Epstein allegedly charged these women about $100,000 each. Epstein's federal kidnapping and extortion trial started today – his son and several other men are on trial with him, but many of his co-defendants have already pleaded guilty – and his daughter distributed a letter begging Jews to support her father and alleging the federal government does not intend to give him a fair trial. Here is that letter:
Above: The alleged "Prodfather," Rabbi Mendel Epstein
Good morning everyone.
I am sending you a letter that I had previously written to my family. I am writing to you because you are a frum Jew with the power of tfilla. Please read this before you daven today.
Today starts the trial.
It would be great if you could take a minute and say tehilim and a prayer for my family and the other defendants. Women have a special power of tefila. We aren't required to say specific passages. Whatever words of prayer you use go directly to hashem. In this instance I think the power of a woman's tfila is especially important because this is an issue for all Jewish women. AND ONLY JEWISH WOMEN. No woman should be left to rot because her husband refuses to give her a get. I know it's easy to think this doesn't affect you. But this specific trial is a trial about us. Orthodox Jews. And whether our women should suffer. This trial is about the Get according to Orthodox Jewish law. This issue doesn't affect any other Americans yet our government has conveniently forgotten about the separation between church and state. Make no mistake. This case has NEVER been about federal kidnapping. To arrest these men for a crime that carries up to a life sentence is pure evil.
As a civil attorney I am very familiar with secular courts, witnesses, litigation, etc. Many times my cases involve criminal matters as well. While I don't represent my clients in the criminal parts, I work closely with criminal defense attorneys and I am present in court for their state criminal cases. Even so, I have been appalled and horrified at the complete and utter lack of fairness in the federal justice system. In a civil matter where the end result is merely money, there are deadlines for discovery and witness lists, etc. that must be adhered to. There are rules that must be followed so that both sides have equity and justice. There are no shenanigans like sending 5000 documents each in its own pdf that is password protected or filing documents leaving out a co-defendant alibis or sending us empty disk drives and claiming technical errors. Or after a cooperating government witness has lied too many times to count and collaborates with alleged victims, the government is still permitted to put him on the stand. Where the government can torture you by withdrawing an entire count against you and then reinstate it!! When you have an alibi. And the prosecutors know it. And the judge knows it. But the supervisors don't allow it. Where the alleged victims came to this country unlawfully. Where an alleged victim even had an with Ikuv Yetzia in Israel. And the FBI finagles visas for them so they could stay in OUR country!!!!!!!!!!! Where the alleged victims are drug abusers!!!!!! And each one of them has already been shown to be a LIAR!!!
Where alleged victims are shown a photo lineup and my brother is the ONLY one wearing a YARMULKA ( i have enclosed a cartoon so you can get the drift) abd the ONLY one who has not been clearly photoshopped and cut and pasted and the judge says that a is not suggestive!!!!! Are you starting to comprehend?
In the federal criminal justice system, it is clear that once you are in their sightlines it is as if you are guilty. Regardless of the truth. And these days more and more Jews are in their sightlines. As a New Jersey Federal Judge on another matter has said IN OPEN COURT ..."this is a message to your community..."
We sit in our comfortable homes and it is easy to think it would never happen to ME, to MY family, to MY friend. You are wrong. Open your eyes. My eyes have been glued open by the complete lack of fairness in this system.
Tonight will be chodesh adar, a time when there was a terrible gezeira against all the Jews in a country that ruled the world. The tzadikim of the generation issued a directive. Sak Va'efer. Mourning. Fasting. It is time for us to really understand the seriousness of this situation. There is a gezeira in this country. A country that rules the world. Against religious Jews.
The government does not plan to give our father, our brother, our fellow Jew, a fair trial. They cannot see past the star on our arms. The tattooed numbers on our skin. Their end game is to arrest and imprison as many Orthodox Jews as they can.
We must daven. We must fast. We must do teshuva. We must give tzedaka. We must not be quick to judge others. We must watch every word we say. We must have patience in understanding the pain of another.
We need Hashem's help and we need it now.
May your tfillos go directly the kisa hakavod and be answered swiftly and in a way that we are able to see the true Yad Hashem.
In Chodesh Adar, Hashe performed a nes nistar. Hashem's name is not mentioned in the Megillah phrposely. To reinforce that no matter how dire the situation, He is with us. May we be zocheh, in the zchus of Mordechai and Esther to experience a nes (nistar or nigleh) and overcome this!!
Your wife, your sister, your friend, your mother, your daughter.....I am an Orthodox women and I say it is about time someone stood up for us!!!!!!!
Please forward this to your spouses, your children, your nieces, your nephews. Open your hearts. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. DONT LET YOURSELF DIE. BE STRONGER.
Menachem Mendel ben Baila Rivka
Aryeh Leib Dovid ben Leah