On Tisha B’av, a vicious attempted abduction of Aharon Friedman took place in on the property of Mrs. Cheryl Epstein, where Tamar Epstein and Aharon and Tamar's child currently reside. The attempted abduction took place as Aharon was leaving the property having returned his child to Mrs. Cheryl Epstein’s residence, pursuant to a court order. This vicious assault appears to be a continuation of the Epsteins’ ongoing efforts to prevent the child from having a relationship with her loving and dedicated father, which began over four years ago when Tamar Epstein abducted the child from Silver Spring to her mother’s home in Pennsylvania
The Epsteins’ campaign, coordinated with ORA, has included many threats against Aharon and ongoing harassment of him, his family, and his employer. In fact, various family members who have helped transport the child to ensure that Aharon can see her at all per a court order have been harassed at the very location where the assault took place, the property of Mrs. Cheryl Epstein. The child spent this past weekend of Shabbos Chazon with Aharon. By the order of the court,
acting at Tamar’s request, father and child were restricted to the Philadelphia area. They spent Shabbos in a motel room, and Sunday, Tisha B’av, was spent 'walking the streets' as the Epsteins have, for over four years, made Aharon a pariah in the Philadelphia area and threatened anyone who would even think of providing a place to stay for Aharon and his child. The need for revenge has blinded Tamar and her family to the suffering she is inflicting on her child
Per the court order, Aharon brought the child to Mrs. Cheryl Epstein‘s home at 6 PM on Tisha B’av. Contrary to her usual lack of reception, when Aharon arrived, Mrs. Cheryl Epstein inquired about the child, speaking to Aharon for the first time in years. In fact, in an unprecedented instruction, she told the child to go back outside and give her father a kiss, calling into question her motivation, given what was to happen moments later on her own driveway. With the child nearby, two or three masked thugs hit Aharon over the head and knocked him to the ground. Did the Epstein family plan this attack on Aharon when he would be in a weakened state from fasting and be handicapped by wearing Tisha B‘av shoes? The thugs smashed his glasses and beat him. Miraculously,with Hashem’s chesed, Aharon escaped. The police were summoned and verified the incident with an eyewitness.
Mrs. Epstein resides in an upscale neighborhood with a low crime rate. Because Aharon’s car was intact and the car keys were on the ground, the motive cannot be construed as an attempted robbery. Aharon was sent to a local hospital for tests and treatment.
There have been numerous tragic incidents of Jewish fathers being abducted and beaten, but this time the thugs did not succeed in abducting Aharon. Are we to surmise that there is more to come?
Additional guest post comments:
The violent attack against Aharon Friedman was at least partially the result of the incitement to violence against Aharon by various rabbis and organizations. In this letter (see link below) that was publicized by ORA, Rabbi Hershel Schachter calls for Aharon to be physically beaten. It is not yet known whether Rabbi Schachter was involved in hiring the thugs that attacked and attempted to kidnap Aharon on Tisha B'av.
One of the sources Rabbi Schachter cites in the letter against Aharon (Rabbi Akiva Eiger) is referenced in an audio lecture by Rabbi Schachter that is on Yeshiva University’s website: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/739308/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Options_for_Helping_Agunot# as grounds for beating someone over a get. (It is ironic that Rabbi Eiger writes about a husband who is leaving the city of the marital residence and that immediate action was necessary, whereas in this matter it was Epstein who left the city of marital residence with the child and abused the beis din process so that her abduction of the child would be treated as a fait accompli in court.)
In the letter, Rabbi Schachter says that Aharon's situation is the same as "a slave whose master provides for him a Canaanite maidservant, that until now it is has been permissible, and now it is forbidden." In the audio, he explains that in such a situation the slave, or, as he writes in the letter, Aharon, should be beaten. Furthermore, Rabbi Schachter specifically writes in the letter that any person can take the law into his own hands [to beat Aharon].