Rabbi Mendel Epstein and Jay Goldstein are part of the small group of Jews locked up at the Otisville medium. Rabbi Mendel Epstein and Rabbi Mordechai Wolmark were prominent Rabbis in the Haradi Brooklyn – Lakewood communities. They were known to be experts in the area of divorce law. Many women went to them for advice on how to get their husbands to grant them a “get” ie., a bill of divorce. Under Jewish law wives are considered property of their husbands, legally equivalent to chattel. Before the women’s right’s movement American law was no different than Jewish law. Wives were the property of their husbands, just as slaves were property of their masters.
Rabbis Epstein and Wolmark ran into many cases where a husband refused to divorce his wife unless she paid him a large sum of money. Extortion! Epstein and Wolmark felt bad for these “chained” women. These women could never get remarried. These women had to raise money from their families to pay off the greedy husband. Epstein and Wolmark upheld Jewish tradition and employed tactics that were used in the old country. Epstein and Wolmart hired Jay Goldstein to kidnap, torture and beat a husband until he signed the bill of divorce. Goldstein got his crew together and went to work, at times using a cattle prod if necessary.
Rabbi Wolmark got sentenced to only 38 months after he got on his knees and kissed the pinky ring of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Harvard Law graduate Paul J. Fishman, and pleaded guilty. Wolmark got to plead to a crime of non-violence and do his time in the Otisville medium. Jay Goldstein and Mendel Epstein refused to bow down to this Jewish pawn of the Federal government who runs the DOJ out of New Jersey. They have their pride. They went to trial. They both got convicted by a jury. Epstein got sentenced to 120 months and Goldstein got sentenced to 96 months. They got convicted of crimes of violence and have to do their time in the Otisville medium, a dangerous place where some guys are doing life. This is what happens when you go to trial. The government punishes you for wasting Federal resources and discourages other defendants from exercising their Constitutional right to a trial by jury. Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave.
Rabbi Epstein and Jay Goldstein walked into Otisville prison with a lot of street cred. They didn’t plead guilty. They didn’t rat anyone out. They flipped off the Feds. They get to run the Otisville camp for the next 4-5 years. Because Wolmark pleaded guilty, he was recently released from Otisville. Good boychik. Epstein won’t get out until 2025. Goldstein won’t get out until 2023. Bad boychiks. You don’t mess with the Federal mafia.
At sentencing these guys tried to convince the Federal Judge that they were motivated to kidnap and beat men because of their strongly held religious beliefs and their respect for Jewish women. The wives’ families paid up to a hundred thousand dollars to the Epstein-Wolmark-Goldstein gang for their forced gets. During trial these guys tried to argue that the husbands consented to the kidnappings, beatings, and torture.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper for the wife to pay off a recalcitrant husband $100K rather than pay the Prod Father $100K? There must have been some husbands who were demanding double or triple that amount. The wives probably reached a point in the negotiations where it was cheaper to pay the Prod Father than pay off their husbands. Plus there are plenty of husbands who would rather see their wives suffer than get paid all the money in the world. In such a case there should be nothing wrong with beating a husband. The Federal government tortures foreign inmates all the time at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. At times the Feds get a Pakistani goat herder named Abdul to rat out an Afghani sheep herder named Muhammad. Why is it kosher for the Feds to torture dangerous goat and sheep herders and yet not kosher for the Kosher Nostra to do the same to one of its own?
Tonight Michael Cohen will get assigned a seat in the Jewish chapel. Seventy guys will be packed elbow to elbow at fold up tables, with bed sheets as tablecloth. Cohen will be treated to his first Otisville Friday night Shabbos meal: appetizers include one slice of gefelte fish with horseraddish, one cup of chicken noodle soup, sliced challah bread, two slices of noodle or potato kugel, and dips for the sliced challah: chopped garlic in olive oil, spicy tomato sauce and chummus. The chopped garlic dip may have been discontinued since I was released as I was the only guy who spent hours chopping the garlic with a plastic knife. Inmates from the kosher kitchen closet serve the food, making sure every inmate gets exactly the same portions, lest the guys start rioting. Cohen will get one cup of Kedem grape juice served in a white Styrofoam cup. The main course will be a piece of fried chicken breast with some cooked chopped carrots and fried onions on the side. Dessert will be a bowl of cold boiled chopped apples. There will be bottles of seltzer on every table. I used to mix the seltzer with my cup of grape juice, to make a spritzer. The Jewish inmate rabbi will give a short speech on Friday night and officially welcome new inmate Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen will be part of the club. The only qualification to get into the club is to be indicted, convicted and incarcerated by the Federal mafia. Michael will feel a sense of camaraderie with his new Jewish family. That will quickly disappear after he gets into his first fight with one of his Jewish brothers over something stupid.
After a few months Michael will settle in and get into a routine. He will learn to trust a few guys and mistrust many others. He will feel like he is back in High School. On Saturday morning Michael will show up for Shabbos services in the Jewish chapel. Michael will sit at his assigned seat and stare into space for a few hours. He will occasionally glance at his Artscroll prayer book. Shabbos lunch will consist of the same food he had on Friday night except a beef stew will be added, a chulent. Occasionally there is beef in the stew, but the chulent mostly consists of potatoes, onions, and beans. After lunch he will walk outside for hours circling the perimeter of the camp with his new friends. Guys usually walk in groups of two or three. They will walk along the perimeter and may get to see some of the Jews walking around the yard of the medium prison behind the barbed wire, such as Shulum Weiss who is doing 835 years, Mordechai Samet who is only doing 27 years, or Rabbi Prodfather or Prodfather’s enforcer Jay Goldstein, who are only doing 10 years. Guys in the Otisville camp never get to interact with guys from the medium. Eventually Michael will get tired of walking and take a nap on his bunk, which is a yoga mat laying on top of a steel board. Every few hours Michael will have to line up and wait to be counted by the guards. The rabbi inmates will be giving classes in the late afternoon up until afternoon prayers at 7:00 PM or so. After mincha the inmates will get together and eat another meal. The third meal will consist of dips and challah, some kugel, and any food leftover from the other meals. Usually overripe bananas and apples are added. After evening prayers the guys will dance around a circle after the Havdalah prayers. After Havdalah the guys will rush to use the pay phones and the computers. Take a number Mr. Cohen. Shabbat Shalom Mr. Cohen.
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