Rachel is stuck in a bad marriage. Her brother calls a rabbi with a reputation for being able to force even the most stubborn husband to grant his wife a divorce. But nothing about Rachel, her brother, or her marriage is what it seems.
This is a special two-episode series on the story of the Prodfather. Days before his murder, Dan Markel joined the legal team representing one of the rabbis facing charges. And it was while working on a story about the Prodfather that Matt Shaer first heard about Dan Markel’s murder.
“Where the Enemy Sleeps” is performed by Scott Mackay featuring Lucette.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
parts of New York City. There are like countries
unto themselves neighborhoods in Brooklyn in Queens, where alter orthodox jewish communities live.
They have their own leaders, the community's rabbis their own police force
his and their own set of laws, religious laws. They govern everything from how you should eat too how you should be buried
and those laws also dictate the way marriages and I'm sorry.
Berger lives in one of those neighborhoods borough park? Brooklyn its
Toper ninety ninety seven times of practising Orthodox Jew and a lawyer and he's going through a contentious divorce
its morning and he's already given his kids breakfast and sent them on their way to spend time with their mom. Then he
ox outside to go to work,
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, it was just a beautiful full
They are just as he crosses the street.
And I feel an incredible paying on my left eye as if somebody had taken a baseball bat and smack me just as hard as he could against from them. I thought he looks down and at first he doesn't see anything and I thought to myself, maybe it'll psychosomatic. I can't see anything wrong. I took another step and a shooting pain ran through my leg,
and I screamed out one of hives friends seize him from across the street. He comes running over, he happens to be a volunteer ambulance driver and he sees what high can't buy was bleeding. From the back of my tie. His friend calls it a gunshot victim, gunshot victim.
Rushed to the hospital. After that,
to stabilize him. He figures
You tell somebody so we
the nurse if he can make a call. She
the journey over to the following on the wall back in the day
well yeah phones on the wall, and I called my mother,
his mother lives on the same block. Is him- and I shook my
something I need to tell you sit down, he says
I want you to know that I'm all right now, but I've just been shot.
And she responded. Why does it have?
mass lie. Can't you find a way to work things out between you and your wife. Why does it
Does it have to be this and I'm like MA
the just been shop
those yes, I heard you but think of the Kindle us think of the children. I'm was shot.
Behind? You never saw who did he
It have a suspicion of who is behind it, though his wife in
It so happens that his wife's divorce lawyer is an orthodox.
Rabbi with a reputation is right,
he's better known by his nickname, the Prague Father
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you share, and this is over. My dead body
baby guilds, Gaddafi's blood,
Morocco is never very active as a practising lawyer, but a few,
before he was murdered in Tallahassee Dan joined a team of attorneys working on a case about a rabbi known as the proud Father just go out.
So I've been reporting on their case to which is how I first heard about Dan's murder
This is the story behind that case. This is a tube
special series about the proud father. This is episode. One, the chained woman
virgin urine and unhappy marriage.
You decide, you want a divorce, be your spouse, refuses
under civil law, you would still be,
but two separate might be Massey. It still have to dig it out in court
but as bad as a divorce can be. You could legally
and the marriage as bidders
divorce was when the Edison was legally allowed out of her marriage. When she wanted now a man
you're an orthodox jewish woman shortly,
after you get married, you realize your husband is running up dead. He keeps asking
family for money, and eventually he just
stopped coming around altogether quickly. Your marriage falls into disrepair. You want a divorce
under religious law you need, would call the get from your husband g t. It's a jewish divorce document,
and it only works. One way your husband and it's only the husband has to agree to present the get to you
if he refuses then you're stuck
can try to get a rabbi in order to sign it. But if that doesn't work, your husbands,
views makes you, and I do chained woman me
did you try reasoning with it, pleading with him even offering to pay him to let you go but to no effect the power is all his no matter. What you do you can't make him
set you free, maybe when trapped in this situation for months or even years, maybe you find yourself in
king, if only there was a way out
If only there was someone who can make your husband give you what you want it. Maybe there is
hello, hello, this rabbi will mark an if I might
and I have you on the phone with my sister Rachel
Two thousand thirteen unorthodox
jewish woman named Rachel on a trapped in a bad marriage, is desperate for help.
In her brother CALL Rabbi, Martin Watermark High rabbi. Rather we ve been better.
They ve heard that Rabbi Walmart might be able to help them with Rachel's husband problem
Rachel, is asked her husband for divorce, but he's not giving it to her
I merely he wanted to have children and I'm getting a little bit older and I would love to remarry and have children and
the longer this goes on. Unfortunately, tat I am a female in I really,
children and time is not on my side and I'm not sure what to do with our wits end Rachel suspects in her husband s in doing this to be vindictive
Why do we not want to give you a good? I think, wants to continue to take money from my brother. He keeps you no offense. I feel fine
what he asked for more money. For my brother, then into never happened.
It takes more and more money. Lamarck listened carefully.
To think Rachel might have some options.
Made to get him to New York, where someone either can harassing war nail him plain and simple to be.
I'm willing to take whatever steps are necessary threat.
I tell them to sit tight, he's going
connect them with someone who can help. He says he's
not a bad guy, he's a good guy. Let's call him,
they were all taken. All the second hold. The line. Uk Rachel
far any image are crying to your programme, but I put you through open
to be over that name, familiar Mendel appeal.
Rabbi. Mendel Epstein,
he's been a successful alter, orthodox jewish divorce lawyer for more than thirty years, he's not licensed by
American bar association,
he's not even a civil law scholar. Instead, he works in rabbinical court and this
he's Epstein specialty, getting unwilling husbands to agree to give their wives a divorce.
The get laws. One of the most complicated in technical issues of religious law
I've seen even wrote his own book about it called a what
his guide to the get process. He says people often divorce casually for mere in compatibility, immaturity or absorption with their careers or lusts. But this is not true in the religious world. In over thirty years of counselling, I have never met a from highest couple, the divorced due to its compatibility alone when from people divorce. It is because one spouses abusive
and a healthy one feels endangered physically and emotionally Epstein built a reputation around situations like this. It was a pub
the guy and he
represented there is an advocate for women are going through hard times in the voice Monti,
Spain is a therapist, an activist in New York. He says: Epstein was also feared.
The insular hasidic world throughout New York and New Jersey for is methods. This Benbow, Epstein
had a group of goons,
came around in unless you gave the get he with the he beat the mob, be threatened them be threatened,
kill them, and all these things, Einstein Burger. The attorney was shot coming out of his house and ninety. Ninety seven couldn't proof-
they have seen had anything to do with a bullet in his leg, but the suspicion
Epstein might be behind it.
Come from nowhere, beatings, shootings, burnings, electric shock
Over the years there were quite a number of them all of orthodox,
jewish men, like I'm burger with estranged wives
Brooklyn District attorney said he would investigate the claim that abstinence behind these incidents, but in the end, the press,
Peters didn't seem all that interested in the cases the court didn't give
It says about upon the expression it was. They
We totally indifferent to the eight at that. Time is absolutely gotcha, so
Monte decided to do something about it himself. It was
nineteen nineties and he was the president of a father's rights crew.
This guy Epstein was getting me
the money to shake down people then and using states and other types and things in it,
didn't do it alone. He had this group that did it Monti,
other rabbis about Epstein,
as I said, leave him alone, he's very dangerous Monti. Wasn't afraid of Epstein
He marched right over to his house with about thirty other people in stage protest on its doorstep and he came
and spoke does and told us it's none of our business. I said we need
read. Nor members is our business. He didn't act like a man of the cloth. He acted like a hood.
Even though Monti confronted him, and even though law enforcement had looked into some of the assaults, nothing happened,
he said he's heard of at least fifty people who are brutalized in some way. Others may not have told anyone outside of the community to ultra orphan
Jews, getting secular law enforcement involved is a big. No. No, he
right at the open, like it was ok, do the police that will protect me. You want is, then you didn't
I wasn't like we have this, like thought. Shadow
root coming out at night. He did it right out.
Open a total immunity to do this.
Nonsense. You know, and so by two thousand thirteen when Rachel is looking for help with her husband problem. I've seen still
business have steeds associate rabbi. Watermark gets him on the call with Rachel in her brother,
maybe I could hear me
I haven't a brother and sister. This woman needs again.
How can I help the two of you now the proud father,
Is there something it's interfering.
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Rachel is desperate for a divorce. She tried everything
Epstein seems willing to try and help Rachel, but they need to meet in person.
Don't think This'Ll they found conversation right. Am I correct your correct.
Rabbi invites them to his house in Lakewood, New Jersey, for a meeting
one day before agreeing at eleven o clock and bring a peculiarly or a few pictures
I've seen gives them a list of things to bring. You understand what we're talking about.
Will you only from a strategic planning doing United word? Yes, strategic plan
is definitely one way of putting it. A week later, Rachel in her brother Jonathan meet Epstein for the first time
scenes of guy with a frizzy gray, beer that hangs in front of his black vest his wide forehead protrude
it's from out under a black yamaha.
He's, looking down at a file, is holding in front of him and he asked
So we get because to do this by Jonathan explains Rachel's,
Ben Gunn himself into debt and keeps hitting him up for money. They think that's why you won't agree to give Rachel again,
but Jonathan already, given him some fifty thousand dollars, and at this point he's had a
I followed. Epstein looks up, you know
we will talk here.
You say that what we are doing is eventually became. Ever you got a couple of hours.
anyway, I went in
I've seen explains the get ceremony has to take place in front of a group of other rabbis called a based in, so you have to pay them.
Rabbis to keep their mouths shut. They have to be
to go along when they know a husband has been forced into giving again to his wife.
After much ado paying for each of its business, which is expensive. Yours
There is probably such absurd.
The risk he's talking about is obvious.
Those rabbis we putting their names to a document that connects them to a man whose just been to use a secular term, tortured
but ten thousand dollars should cover it. Then
as the man actually doing the torture.
How could it do the job? They are pretty expensive too,
How going you be the range of fifty and everyone set up into the fifty?
you're, sixty thousand dollars. The whole thing is being discussed
It's just an ordinary business transaction, it's almost possible to forget what their discussing is: kidnapping and Torture Rachel's brother, Jonathan skeptical. He knows Rachel's husband and he's not a pushover,
Is this really gonna work, but I've seen says: wait, wait, wait,
hold on a second
you're gonna get to you. Why did they find out?
We prefer, not because they took place before the big guy. Now Rachel chimes in she wants to know.
How do you do all this without leaving a mark?
Really, what I would like more
take another. How much we can offer
come on old, always five once more value in one minute, I will allow an electric cattle per.
I've seen it saying. If you can get a boy
all the ways, five tonnes to move he put in certain
the guy will now and about the police reaches a little concerned.
Rachel a little concerned. How are they gonna pull this off without getting caught?
I've seen reassures. Surely says the police have come to my house,
but I'm not gonna, be the one doing the kidnapping. In fact,
scenes. Never the one at the scene of the crime,
the guy they come to some.
Shut up, and the cops himself with everyone
I don't have an issue. He sing
cops themselves, laugh
the com, and they say where were you and when to joke? Already
turn out later that have seen also has some other tricks up. His sleeve, like making the victim drink vodka.
If he tries go into the cops others think he's drunk.
Epstein tells Rachel to get a burner phone, one that won't be traceable to her
oh and she should have an alibi. Just to be safe, have seems pretty blind about the fact that he's juggling today,
rolls he's the rabbi, helping her and he's
so overseeing something that is not legal,
The unity of I haven't. We get written, they didn t want to see my rebelled.
My criminal is, I want to where you going forward,
You have no idea.
My criminal had he sang
I really don't want you there
Oh you're, home or whenever you're doing in front of witnesses, see really have no idea
as the conversation goes on Rachel seems to get more comfortable with the plan.
I've seen lays out exactly how it all going to go down.
Her husband is gonna, be jumped coughed and who did with a plastic bag over his head. The tough guys will tell him you're not walk out of here until you sign the get or you're not walk a knotty problem. I really dont ruthless right, but Rachel. This desperate Laguna has a secret
She's, not a chained woman, it all she's, not orthodox jewish. Her name's, not even Rachel she's, an undercover agent
for the FBI, she's wearing a wire and recording all her conversations. She's part of a team.
Intent on taking down the pride father from wondering this is the first in a too.
Heart special series of over my dead body about the Prague father.
The second episode will be out in a few days, but if you like,
until now, this was your favorite wondering originals, ad free, subscribe to wonder he plus, but a wondering dot com, slash, plus and wondering dot com. Slash
I, U S, you'll, find a link on the episode notes. This.
Two part series of over my dead body was written and reported by Heather, sharing and hosted by me that share.
Sound designed by Marsolino Veal, Pando Judgment, executive,
is by George Lavender Marshall Louis and her Non Lopez wondering
hi, I'm lucky boy, a host of wonder is ground. Breaking new pod gas dying for sex meet my best friend Molly she's, in the midst of a sexual renaissance and was recently diagnosed with stage for breast cancer and the six part series molly- and I recall her momentous and outrageous sexual escapades, as only best friends can dine for sex, is about love friendship. Any act lapses, deck but is also a story of self discovery and making the best of every moment make sure to surprise to dine for sex and other great shows from wondering apple pod. Cats bought a fight for wherever you're listening right now.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-16.