TRENTON, N.J. – Prosecutors have called a New York rabbi as an expert witness in the trial of an Orthodox rabbi accused of using a kidnap team to force Jewish men to divorce their wives.
Rabbi Jacob Goldstein said Thursday that nonviolent force may be used under religious law to force an unwilling husband to give a divorce. He said on cross-examination that some rabbis "perhaps" still use violence, though he doesn't agree with it.
Prosecutors say Rabbi Mendel Epstein's team used handcuffs and electric cattle prods to torture men into granting divorces. But defense attorney Robert Stahl says the rabbi wasn't involved in any crimes and is a "champion of women's rights."
Goldstein says people must abide by the Jewish principle that the law of the land is the law.