Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Outrage at US Congress staffer Aharon Friedman over 'get' refusal
Thursday’s rally will not be the first to be held as part of a concerted campaign by groups such as the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, which advocates for chained women.
“We are rallying now to continue our efforts to convince Aharon Friedman to give Tamar Epstein a get,” Rabbi Jeremy Stern, the executive director of the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, in charge of the demonstration.
The demonstration, to take place outside the Longworth House Office Building in downtown Washington, is intended “to make it clear to Aharon that we will not relent in our fight for Tamar’s freedom,” Stern declared in an email to supporters.
After asking for a divorce in 2008, Epstein took the couple’s then-two-year-old daughter and moved back in with her parents in Philadelphia. A custody battle ensued and in the final civil settlement, Friedman was granted three weekends a month to spend with his child.
However, as these weekends begin on Friday evening, Friedman, as a Shabbat observer, can only begin his visitation on Sundays.
Yisrael Belsky, a prominent New York rabbi associated with the Orthodox Union, told The New York Times in 2011 that he considered the custody arrangement “a joke,” seemingly taking Friedman’s side.
“The court decided in a bullheaded way not to respect the Shabbos,” he said at the time.
The visitation schedule was subsequently changed so that Friedman could start his visits on Thursday evenings.
The seruv, issued by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, declared Friedman “in contempt” of the Beit Din, or rabbinical court, and called on “any person who has the ability or opportunity to influence [Friedman] to free Tamar Epstein from the chains of her aguna status.”