Rabbi Receives No-Jail Sentence in Forced ‘Get’ Case

Rabbi Sholom Shuchat, a Crown Heights rabbi, received a no-jail sentence today in New Jersey federal court for his role in a forced ‘Get’ case.

Shuchat was one of several men, including two rabbis, who were arrested in October of 2013. One of those rabbis, Mendel Epstein, and his son, David Epstein, both of Lakewood, were indicted for the roles prosecutors say they played in the plot, threatening to use electric cattle prods on recalcitrant husbands to force them to grant their wives a ‘get’, a religious document needed for an Orthodox Jewish divorce.

The FBI used undercover agents to pose as a woman seeking a religious divorce and her brother who was allegedly willing to pay for the husband to be kidnapped.

Earlier this week Moshe Goldstein, 32, was sentenced to 4 years in prison, while a day later David Hellman, 33, and Simcha Bulmash, 32, were sentenced to 44 and 48 months in prison, respectively.

Today, Thursday, Avrohom Goldstein,36; Ariel Potash, 42; and Sholom Shuchat, 31, were to be sentenced.

Sources told CrownHeights.info that Shuchat, who plead guilty in June of 2014, was sentenced to time served and no additional jail time, along with two years of supervised release with the first six months being house arrest.

25 Comments

  • 4. women's rights wrote:

    funny how us courts are so big on anti discrimination but when it comes to rabbis who are sticking up for women and helping them against bad men they are threatened or locked up

    • 5. Milhouse wrote:

      What bad men? These “rabbis” were not sticking up for women, they were corrupt thugs who for money created invalid gittin. They made no attempt to find out whether this was one of the very rare cases where a man may be compelled to comply with a valid order of a competent beis din. On the contrary, anyone who paid them money could have her husband terrorized. The proof is this case — there was no husband at all, so they couldn’t possibly have found out anything bad about him, and yet they were willing to force him to give a get. Every woman who obtained a get with their help is still married to her husband, and she is committing adultery and bearing mamzerim.

  • 6. There is a boss wrote:

    FYI the unfortunate way our ‘justice’ system works if he didn’t plead guilty he would have sat for many years, his guilty plea is not for real it’s to save him and his family please treat him as the innocent man he is!!

  • 9. Yitzchok wrote:

    BH. Such good news. Crownheights.info should always only have good news to report.

  • 12. i know rabbi shuchat personaly wrote:

    He is mamesh a tzadike yid.
    he should only go now mi chiael el chol.
    yerida tzorech aliya gedola

  • 14. Perplexed wrote:

    I don’t understand people’s happy spirits. This man was involved in kidnapping torture and other terrorist activities. Why are you happy that he received no jail time.

    • 15. Milhouse wrote:

      As far as I know he was an innocent pawn of the corrupt thugs. He was assured by these resho’im that the case had been investigated by a kosher beis din, and after much deliberation they had determined that kefiyas get was warranted. He offered his services (as a rov, not as a thug!) lesheim shomayim, not for money. His only fault was not to realize who he was dealing with.

    • 16. Me too wrote:

      I can only surmise that since the only punishment he was given was so minimal he really was clueless about what was going on. But because he pled guilty the Judge had to do something. The case against him must have been really weak. What a shame, he has a felony record now.

    • 17. Milhouse wrote:

      It’s not just that he pleaded guilty. He probably knew that force was going to be used, but he thought that a beis din had investigated the case, and that al pi din the force was justified.

      Let me be very clear: just as it’s usually an aveira to use force, and a get given by force is possul, so also when the halocho says force is justified then it’s a mitzvah and the get is kosher. But American law, of course, doesn’t care whether it’s a mitzvah or an aveira, it punishes regardless.

      When it’s a mitzvah we must ignore the law and do what the Torah says. In this case it was an aveira, but he didn’t know, he trusted the villains. But because he had no role in the planned violence, and he pleaded guilty, Boruch Hashem he got a light sentence.

    • 18. YMSP wrote:

      it will be hard to find somebody who is more against in the anti-halacha divorce on demand crazy group than me. However, this case is extremely different and he actually did nothing. They played upon his sympathy, he came as a scribe and although I might disagree with some of what he might have done (and use the word “might” because he was certainly played upon and told dire stories that were not true), he in effect did nothing.

      This was a case of overzealous prosecution (in his case).

      If we’re to end the anti-halacha insanity that readily destroys salvageable marriages, causes fights when there’s no need for one and ruins the lives of women and children, then we have to be careful and just. The fact that he was charged it all was an injustice and not right on any level.

      I wish him well, wish him a good future and hope that he reads Even HaEzer and speaks out against the absolute atrocities that are done in this area. He’s a good man and it’s wrong to see him having suffered at all.

  • 19. TO Perplexed wrote:

    How about you stay trapped in a horrible, abusive marriage for 10 or 20 years, then flee only to struggle raising your kids on your own with no financial support from your “husband,” unable to remarry or truly move on… and THEN let me know if you wouldn’t appreciate it if some brave men offered to stick out their necks and beat up your “husband” to try to help you get just a LITTLE bit of your dignity back. Nobody was going to cripple or kill anybody. For their crime it’s a light punishment. Maybe- just maybe- it will make their days in Gehenom a little easier. PLEASE

    • 20. Milhouse wrote:

      How about you take your sick fantasy elsewhere, because it has no relation at all to reality. You have no basis for assuming that the husbands these thugs assaulted and forced to give possul gittin were abusive. Given that their wives hired hit men to assault them, it’s far more likely that the wives had abused them during their marriages too. 50% of domestic violence is committed by women.

  • 22. to #12 wrote:

    You are obviously ignorant in the case and the Rabbi involved… There was a whole group that went, and not everyone in the group were involved in the violent part. This Rabbi is a respected Dayan, and they would not hire him for the actual violent part. he was most probably hired to make sure the get is done in accrodance to halacha. (if the other guys were ok is a seperate discussion…). BOTTOM LINE: KNOWING HIM AND BEING (SOMEWHAT) FAMILIAR WITH THE CASE I CAN ASSURE YOU HE WAS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY VIOLENT OR TERRORIST ACT. HE IS A GOOD MAN WHICH HAS HELPED MANY PEOPLE AND WILL IYH CONTINUE IN HIS SACRED WORK. AND SOME WORDS TO THE AUTHOR OF COMMENT 12: IM NOT TARGETING YOU JUST YOUR COMMENT. DONT GET INFLUENCED BY THE PRESS AND/OR THEIR LIBERAL IDEAS…

  • 24. messed up order wrote:

    it looks like crownheights.info is changing the order and nunber of comments. so just to clarify: the comment with the title ‘to 12’ was meant to adress ‘perplexed’ and the comment with the title: ‘author of 17’ which was written by the same person who wrote ‘to 12’ -that comment is totally irrelevent due to the ongoing change of order of comments.

    • 25. Pedant wrote:

      Lemme help you out. When someone posts a comment to a comment, that new comment gets the number following the number of the comment they are posting to, or following the previous comment on that comment, as the case may be. That causes every comment following that new comment in the entire thread to have its number increased by one.

      It’s always a bit funny to see people referencing the comment numbers in these threads :)

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