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Protesters urge Maryland man to grant his wife a Jewish divorce

WASHINGTON (JTA) — About 50 people rallied in front of a congressional office building to protest a government employee’s refusal to grant his wife a Jewish divorce.

For slightly more than an hour on Feb. 28, the protesters waved signs and chanted slogans in support of Tamar Epstein, who is seeking the Jewish divorce, or get, from her ex-husband, Aharon Friedman, a Maryland resident who works in the Longworth Office building as a senior adviser to Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

The couple divorced in civil court in April 2010, but Epstein cannot remarry in a Jewish ceremony and is considered a chained woman, or agunah, until she is granted a get. They have been separated since 2008.

Friedman says his wife moved with their 5-year-old daughter without notice and that an initial custodial agreement necessitated his violating the Jewish Sabbath. The court has since amended the agreement.

Friedman also alleges that he was attacked last July after returning his daughter to his wife’s custody. Police are investigating the incident.

The group of protesters included at least three rabbis, Epstein’s mother and about 20 seniors from Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Md.

Led by Rabbi Jeremy Stern, executive director of the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, the group recited slogans such as “Aharon Friedman give Tamar a get” and “Aharon Friedman shame on you.”

Stern vowed to hold as many rallies as necessary until Friedman relents. Last September, his organization sponsored a large billboard featuring Friedman’s face and the words “Aharon Friedman Give A Get Now” in a metro train station near his home. 

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