Among the Rabbis arrested by the FBI in the ‘Forced Gittin for Agunos’ scandal that has captivated the nation is a young Crown Heights husband and father, a Dayan and Sofer who is experienced in Hilchos Gittin.
After his arraignment he was released on $500,000 bail, which was posted by his family. He remains under house arrest as he awaits his trial.
A committee consisting of community leaders and activists has issued an appeal for funds to help with his defense. They have released the following letter urging everyone to open their hearts and wallets to keep him out of Federal prison:
To Crown Heights Community Rabbonim & Synagogue Leaders:
We are writing to you on behalf of a Crown Heights resident, a young, Torah scholar who has devoted himself to matters of Halacha and especially Gittin during the last few years. Because of his well intentioned activities he is now facing a very serious legal challenge and must put together a capable and respected Defense Team to help clear his name and exonerate him.
His family has put together the necessary securities in order to obtain bail. However, the Judge has decided that he must be kept under house arrest.
At the request of his family and community leaders a Committee has been formed to work together with the family and the Legal Team to be of assistance in the fundraising, distribution of payments and other proceedings that will evolve in this ongoing case.
Here are the facts of the story as they stand today:
1. This Yungerman has been an experienced witness for several years in Gittin. He has worked with Crown Heights Rabbonim on Gittin and has also worked with several Batei Dinim outside of Crown Heights. Because of his experience and knowledge, he has not shied away from difficult cases. In the current case, he was not knowledgeable of all of the details involved at the time that he joined together with the other members of the Bais Din to effectuate the Get.
2. He has currently been released on $500,000 bail. Securities have been provided by the family and he is being held under house arrest. The bail lawyer has been paid. The family is currently in the process of hiring a team of lawyers to defend him in the ongoing case. The minimum amount that will be needed for the retainer is $50,000, but it may be more.
3. The family has been able to put together, from their own resources, $15,000 but the total $50,000 is needed by Monday, October 21, 2013.
4. Knowledgeable people in these types of cases estimate that the legal fees could rise to $200,000 or $300,000.
We request from the Rabbonim and the community leaders to kindly hold an appeal in all of the Shuls of Crown Heights on this Shabbos Parshas Vayeira. The undersigned Committee will oversee the receipt and distribution of the funds in a proper fashion.
The National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE) Pidyon Shivuyim Fund is a recognized 501c3 organization and therefore all donations made to NCFJE Pidyon Shivuyim will be tax-deductible. The “Committee for 5774 Initiative” will make sure to oversee the distribution of all of the funds donated for the purpose of the defense of this individual.
The Prosecutors are trying to make this a case which could involve a sentence of “Life in Prison.” We appeal to your Congregants to be generous and donate as much as they possibly can so that we can help the family in their time of need.
Please give your kind donations to the Gabbai of your Shul on Sunday, October 20, 2013 or deliver it direct to the NCFJE offices at 824 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213 in order to be deposited on Monday 10/21/13.
The check can be written out to: NCFJE-Pidyon Shivuyim. Please deliver it to the NCFJE offices on Sunday between the hours of 12:00 to 2:00 PM.
Good Shabbos & Besuros Tovos.
Committee for 5774 Initiative: Golan Benoni, Lipa Brennan, Sholem B. Hecht, Shea Hecht, Yosef Orenstein, Moshe Pinson, Yoni Raskin, Benzion Stock.