PHILADELPHIA: Tamar Epstein, chained to marriage by husband Aharon Friedman who refuses to give the "get", gets secular support on Youtube

Tamar Epstein Aharon Friedman divorce: He refuses to give her a “get” but she gets tons of secular support; will this shame him into being more reasonable?

PHILADELPHIA: This interesting story was published in yesterday’s New York Times.  It begins this way:

This should have been a good New Year’s for Aharon Friedman, a 34-year-old tax counsel for the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee. He spent time with his 3-year-old daughter, and could have been thinking about the influence he will have starting Wednesday, when his boss, Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, becomes chairman of the powerful tax-writing committee.

Instead, Mr. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, finds himself scrutinized in the Jewish press, condemned by important rabbis, and attacked in a YouTube video showing about 200 people protesting outside his Silver Spring, Md., apartment on Dec. 19. They were angered by Mr. Friedman’s refusal to give his wife, Tamar Epstein, 27, a Jewish decree of divorce, known as a get.
The story of “chained” Jewish wives (women whose husbands refuse to grant a rabbinical divorce) is always fascinating to me. Just last month, we covered a story of a Brooklyn agunah (chained wife) who had to go to Israel (even though she’s American) to get the courts there to get her husband to give her a divorce or “get” which is a sort of dispensation that allows her to re-marry.http://www.divorcesaloon.com/2010/11/30/tel-aviv-american-jewish-agunah-gets-courts-in-tel-aviv-to-hear-her-divorce-case/ (In case you are unfamiliar with this, it’s a practice within the Orthodox Jewish culture whereby a husband has the ultimate authority to dissolve the marriage by granting his wife a “get.” In states like New York, it is a requirement that all barriers to re-marriage are removed before a civil divorce judgment in signed. Still, many Jewish husbands are able to get away with not granting their wives a get.)
In any event, this story out of Philadelphia is really interesting because it is the first time that I have seen a Jewish wife garner such public support against a husband who holds her prisoner to the marriage by refusing to grant a get. And the fact that he works for someone in public office really resonates. It is his Achilles heel. It is how she will shame him into stop being a monster and giving her a divorce. Good for her.
In his defense, he seems to be angry about the custody order. Here again, a portion of the Times article:
All parties have said that Mr. Friedman is angry about the custody order, which grants him three weekends a month with his daughter, two of them in Philadelphia, beginning at 6 p.m. on Fridays. As a religious Jew, Mr. Friedman will not drive from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday — so he cannot see his daughter until Sunday.
The custody order is “a joke,” said Yisroel Belsky, a prominent Brooklyn rabbi. “The court decided in a bullheaded way not to respect the Shabbos,” or Sabbath, he said in a interview.

But the two issues should not collide. He needs to rabbinically release his wife from her chains. And he needs to petition the civil courts for a modification of the custody order that is fair, and reasonable, and is in the best interest of the child. He cannot keep his wife chained just because he’s not getting enough time with his daughter. He’s being a bully and he needs to stop. Good for her that she is getting so much support from the secular and religious groups. He’s being ridiculous and should be ashamed of himself. IMHO.
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