I’m posting a link to a petition to Republican member of Congress, Dave Camp, asking that he take a stand against Aharon Friedman, a Jewish man in his employ who refuses to give his wife a get.
(Update: There seems to be a problem with this direct link. You can go to change.org/petitions and do a search for “Friedman” which will take you to the correct page. Not sure what the problem is, but I’m trying to get to the bottom of this.)
I wrote about this case over a year ago, but unfortunately, time does not seem to have worked its magic on Mr. Friedman, who continues to withhold the get.
Deborah Lipstadt has an article in Tablet Magazine, in which she remarks:
At a rally in support of Tamar Epstein held in December 2010, Rabbi Shmidman said: “Aharon Friedman walks around Capitol Hill as a religious Jew … But this is not what a religious Jew does.” According to the New York Times, over a year ago Rabbi Herzfeld wrote to Jon Traub, the Republican staff director of the Ways and Means Committee, accusing Friedman of “psychological terrorism.”
And yet, Camp has dismissed the whole thing as “gossip.” It’s not. It’s a fact that Friedman is abusing his wife using the foil of religion. Camp has reportedly told others it’s an internal or private matter and he does not feel he should get involved. But imagine if a chief staffer in Camp’s office was found to be beating his spouse or abusing his children. Would Camp dismiss that as “a private matter”? I seriously doubt it.
It would be ironic if Camp is reluctant to take a stand because he fears that he might offend Jews. The fact is that Judaism takes a very dim view of husbands who refuse to give their wives gets, particularly after having been told to do so by rabbinic courts. Maimonides believed that recalcitrant husbands should be flogged until they agreed to issue the get.
Friedman has complained that there are unfair aspects to divorce and child-custody settlement—aspects that he wants to change. But using the giving of a get is an unfair tool and only sullies the tradition Friedman claims to uphold.
All of the rest is commentary.
So, Mr. Friedman, as Pesach, the holiday of freedom approaches, see your way clear to doing the right thing.