Religious Law

Tax Counsel to House Panel Is Targeted in Protest for Refusing Ex-Wife a Religious Divorce

A tax lawyer for the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee has become a high-profile target in an unusual public dispute over his refusal to give his ex-wife a religious divorce.

Although Aharon Friedman, 34, is civilly divorced from Tamar Epstein, 27, after only a few years of marriage, still at issue is his reported refusal to agree to give her a Jewish divorce decree called a get. Without it, she can’t remarry within the Orthodox faith, reports the New York Times (reg. req.).

Seeking to pressure him into granting it, supporters of Epstein have posted on YouTube and picketed the apartment in which he is living in Maryland. One rabbi even wrote to the staff director of the Ways and Means Committee and threatened to picket there. At least one Jewish newspaper has editorialized against his position in the matter.

Friedman declined to comment for the Times article. However, he is reportedly angry because a court child-custody order issued by a Maryland civil court makes it impossible for him to see the couple’s 3-year-old daughter during much of the three weekends per month he is granted with her, because he would have to travel during the Jewish sabbath to do so. Friedman’s ex-wife has custody of their daughter and is living in her parents’ home in Philadelphia.

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