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2 Rabbis have been charged with threats of beating, kidnapping, and physical torture in New Jersey on Wednesday October 9th, with the intention of forcing men to grant their wives religious divorces.
Mendel Epstein, 68, Martin Wolmark, 55, and two others, Ariel Potash, 40, and an individual known as “Yaakov” who were also involved in the plan were arrested on the evening of the 9th after a meeting at a secret warehouse in Middlesex County, where the group collected to dispatch their plan of kidnapping.
Epstein has been a rabbi known in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for assisting women who are fighting to divorce their husbands. For members of the Orthodox, a divorce can only be official with the husband’s approval.
The rabbis are accused of charging families thousands of dollars to get their husbands to agree to divorces by using several different violent conditions, including the use of an electric cattle prod. On tape, Epstein had admitted to performing similar kidnappings at least once a year.
“If it can get a bull that weights five tons to move…You put it in certain parts of his body and in one minute the guy will know,” Epstein told to an undercover agent.
The rabbi’s torturing plans were discovered by an undercover female FBI agent who posed as a member of the Orthodox community looking for a divorce. The undercover agent first contacted Wolmark and Epstein in August. They met with her and another undercover agent who claimed he was her brother in Epstein’s home in Ocean County.
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