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D.C. Metro ad calls on congressional staffer to grant Jewish divorce

WASHINGTON (JTA) – An ad in a Washington-area Metro station urges a congressional staffer to give his ex-wife a Jewish divorce decree.

The ad, in the Wheaton station in suburban Maryland, features a photo of Aharon Friedman, who works for U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and urges the Silver Spring, Md., resident to “Give a Get Now!” A get is a Jewish divorce.

The ad was sponsored by the nonprofit Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, or ORA.

Friedman and Tamar Epstein received a civil divorce in April 2010, but citing a custody dispute over their daughter, he has not given her a get, without which she cannot  remarry Jewishly. 

The Metro ad is part of a campaign that the Orthodox Jewish community has lodged against Friedman in attempts to pressure him to present the get.

“We will continue to pursue this pressure until Tamar goes free,” said Rabbi Jeremy Stern, ORA’s executive director.

The Metro ad began running early this week, with no end-date yet scheduled, the rabbi said.

The station was chosen because it is the one that Friedman uses to commute to work, Stern said.

“He should have to look himself in the eye every day on his way to work,” the rabbi said. “While he should be serving the American public, he should come to recognize that he is abusing a Jewish woman” by not granting her a get.

ORA is urging its supporters to post the ad on their Facebook pages.

Friedman, meanwhile, alleged that he was attacked July 29 in Lower Merion, Pa., as he was returning their daughter to Epstein’s custody. He believes the attack was related to his refusal to grant the get.

"On Tisha b’Av, Aharon was assaulted and beaten by several people dressed in black, at least one of whom was masked when he brought their child back to Tamar’s house," said a statement from Friedman’s brother, Kalman. "Unfortunately, Tamar and her associates are continuing their efforts to prevent the 4-year-old child from having a relationship with her loving father, as well as their incitement against Aharon, which also endangers the safety of the child."

Local police have said they are investigating the incident.

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