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Rabbi, wife charged with kidnapping in agunah case

JTA

July 18, 2011 | 5:48 pm

Federal authorities filed charges of kidnapping against a New Jersey rabbi and his wife for allegedly detaining and threatening to kill a recalcitrant husband.

David Wax, 49, and Judy Wax, 47, appeared in a federal court in Trenton, N.J. on Monday and were each released on a $500,000 bond, the Associated Press reported.

The couple are alleged to have lured Yisrael Briskman to their Lakewood, N.J. home last October with the possibility of assisting Wax, a noted scholar, on his next book.

Briskman allegedly fled Israel in 2008 because he was wanted for not granting his wife a court-ordered divorce.

There have been calls in recent years for tougher measures to deal with men who reufse their wives divorce, leaving them unable to remarry. Such women are known as “agunot,” or chained.

When he arrived at the house, two men allegedly bound Briskman and beat him, threatening to bury him alive in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains if he did not grant his wife a divorce.

Wax allegedly threatened to kill Briskman’s father if he did not pay the Briskman’s ex-wife $100,000.

Supporters of the Waxes appeared in court when they were charged. The case now goes to a grand jury.

Lawyers for the couple said that they would plead not guilty if they were indicted.

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