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Job offers lured men to NJ town where threats and violence procured religious divorces, feds say

Posted May 16, 2014 1:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Those involved in bitter disputes over the granting of a divorce recognized by Jewish religious law might want to consider steering clear of one town in New Jersey.

Federal charges in two separate criminal cases in Trenton allege that job offers in Lakewood were used to lure two out-of-state victims. After they arrived, authorities say, the men were physically abused and threatened to persuade them to grant their wives a religious divorce known as a "get" that permits Orthodox women to remarry within their faith.

Earlier this month, Rabbi David Wax, 51, who lives in Lakewood, pleaded guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy charge concerning an Israeli man, according to the New York Daily News and the Village Voice. Wax, who is at least the fifth defendant to take a plea in the case, could get as much as life in prison when he is sentenced in August.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, similar charges were filed against two more Lakewood men in another federal kidnapping case.

David Aryeh Epstein, 39, and Chaim Barush Rubin, 32, are accusing of playing a role in the a 2009 kidnapping in which a man who had been living in Brooklyn was abducted from the parking lot of his new Lakewood workplace. The feds say this victim was bound, beaten and shocked with an electrified cattle prod on his fingers and genitals to persuade him to grant his wife a religious divorce, which was videotaped by his abductors as he spoke the required words, according to NJ.com and Philly.com.

Epstein's father, a rabbi in Brooklyn, New York, was charged last year in a similar claimed conspiracy, the articles report.

Hat tip: Daily Mail

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "NJ Rabbi and Wife Charged with Kidnapping Man in Effort to Force Religious Divorce"

ABAJournal.com: "2 rabbis among 10 charged in claimed kidnap-and-torture plot to force religious divorces'

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