Yomin Postelnik’s columns on many subjects often challenge one’s outlook. Most see that as a positive thing. But in the worldview of the left, which views any opposition as a nuisance that needs to be crushed, such outspoken activism has become cause for attack.
Attacks on Yomin’s columns and on him personally weren’t unprecedented. A few years ago a particular atheist group went on a relentless campaign to ban his columns and to smear him personally. They accomplished little, other than proving the original point of his column that touched it all off, that atheists do not act or think logically.
One would hope that despite one’s political differences, certain kinds of defamation would be off limits. One would be wrong to assume this of the left. When Postelnik insisted, with the backing of both rabbis and professionals, on seeking an evaluation and marital counseling before agreeing to a religious divorce, he was targeted in a variety of false and despicable ways that give a new meaning to the war on men. That this was done largely without his then wife’s consent by those who raise money claiming to be women activists, makes what happened all the more shameful.
To begin with, the rabbi who converted their adopted son testified that he had been working with the Postelniks throughout almost the entire divorce. Rabbi Mendel Senderovic is no amateur rabbi and apparently his conversions are more accepted as valid worldwide than those of any other rabbi in the entire State of Florida. But when he saw little wrong with Yomin’s insistence on counseling and professional involvement, activists wasted no time in publicly in publicly defaming him.
According to outside experts, these actions were unwarranted and shameful. Leading rabbis spoke up in spite of attempts to pressure or silence them. Yet this didn’t stop the “modern-orthodox” rabbis, who seek to remake religious Judaism in a new image, and like all other movements on the left, attempt to silence those who don’t march in lock step. A few of their activists decided to make a cause celebre out of a former Republican candidate and outspoken conservative columnist’s insistence on trying to save his marriage, working with orthodox rabbis and secular professionals, and ignoring their demands. In their eyes there were no human beings involved, only a cause and a traditionalist/moralist who was not interested in their worldview.
Just as liberal society has increasingly viewed marriage as something that one can throw away at will rather than the serious commitment that it always was, so have many so-called religious leaders. Leaders of all religions do far less to save marriages and are callous toward, or at least more abivalent about, divorce to an extent that would have been hard to believe until now. This is of course a byproduct of the constant attempts to remold the definition of marriage to mean anything and everything, as well as a direct result of today’s throw away mindset.
Postelnik’s case gave his enemies the fodder that they needed to attack. Aside from advising the wife, more accurately scaring the wife that she’d lose custody of their children if she didn’t avail herself of their “help.” After harassing him, organizing a theft of his belongings and filing a false charge that the state attorney refused to proceed with due to the sheer ridiculousness of it, they then launched a media campaign demanding that he provide a religious divorce upon demand, without, of course, mentioning that he had offered to provide one so long as there was an evaluation and counseling beforehand.
According to the religious Jewish faith that the Postelniks follow, marriage and divorce are serious matters and both need the consent of both parties. Rabbi Avrohom Gestetner put it very clearly when he said that as little as 20 years ago any rabbi worth his salt would have required counseling before sanctioning a religious divorce. Now activists push not only for divorces on demand, but push women to seek divorce as a first option.
Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn, a rabbinical judge who was so ordained by leading deciders of Jewish law, including Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, has also decried the tactics of the “get” (or “Jewish religious divorce”) activists, joining with many leading rabbis and religious courts in Israel. It seems to be the consensus that leading rabbis who follow traditional orthodoxy and chasidism decry the campaign for “gittin (religious divorces) on demand” that have been launched by the less religious Yeshiva University and their leaders, who are referred to as “modern-orthodox.” They have also deemed such divorces to be largely invalid, as seems to be the opinion of Postelnik’s rabbi.
Rabbis Gestetner and Eidensohn were not the only ones who spoke out against the viciousness that surrounded the Postelnik case. Professional experts were brought in and advised against an immediate divorce. The modern-orthodox crowd knew better and disregarded the rabbinical judges and secular experts. Their tactics, including theft, defamation and at one point trying to arrange a false arrest, were so over the top that even his then wife asked them to cease and desist.
But why would a group who did not know either party get involved in a divorce case? Why did they do this in case after case, harassing men who do not comply with their demands; demands that leading rabbis have decried as immoral. Why would the same people who were clear to state that their involvement was nothing personal become so involved in a family matter? The fact is that the leftist media and blogosphere looks to have a frenzy when any Republican is involved, especially one who has been attacked relentlessly before by atheists, for standing up to their intimidation tactics. And from this case, and others brought to my attention, it seems that the cruelty of the left reaches a particularly zealous pitch when it comes to destroying marriage.
Who were the people behind the attacks on Postelnik? Better phrased: Which loons decided to make a case out of someone who was willing to grant a religious divorce upon completion of counseling and a few other stipulations that were suggested by professionals. What kind of people choose to launch into a self-glorifying internet smear campaign, which would have precluded the woman who they were claiming to help receive a religious divorce from ever receiving one, had the man not been above their tactics and defamation?
Aside from threatening rabbis, breaking their own promises to adhere to Jewish religious law and ignoring a religious appellate ruling that provided 9 pages of sourced refutation, the group (calling themselves the “Beth Din” or rabbinical court “of America”) staged a sham hearing in which their representative tried to berate the husband, grabbed papers out of his hand, screamed and yelled and later shamefully blogged against the husband, with a made up rendition of events that even the wife laughed at. The defamation and other shameful tactics of this self-styled court (which in this case were condemned by two proper rabbinical courts) are not unique to this case and have been described in detail by Mishpat Tsedek, a religious site dedicated to preventing forced divorce. A particular article, available here, is quite telling.
The rabbinical court that the Postelniks went to originally opined that the Beth Din of America hearing was a sham and a “disgrace to the religion.” The Florida representative in the sham hearing agreed to refer the case to a proper rabbinical court in Monsey, who issued a ruling that Jewish law does not demand a divorce in this case and that the husband may insist on counseling, that the sham Beth Din of America acted so improper that their leader is excommunicated in accordance with Jewish law (something called “cherem”) and that its panel members had “forfeited their portion in the World to Come” according to religious statute.
The administrator of this highly controversial Beth Din of America has also been the subject of an FBI complaint for racketeering (threatening people’s livelihood if they refuse to use his mediating body, even if they are using another religious court) and for criminal extortion (stemming from his advice to use false criminal allegations of domestic violence and insane mandatory arrest laws to procure religious divorces, despite the fact that these coerced “divorces” have been ruled to be religiously invalid by leading rabbis of the religion which he claims to represent).
In fact, a full statement from the head of the mutually agreed upon rabbinical court, available by clicking here, shows that Postelnik was fully cooperative throughout, was looking for proper resolution and had taken steps to alleviate any fears the wife may have of not receiving a divorce, doing so many months before the left-leaning activists who wreak havoc in every case that they touch ever got involved.
That didn’t stop some local media from having a field day. A group called Get ORA, who have previously boasted of causing false arrests, went to bloggers whose stated mission is to bash religious people, with the story of “another Republican get witholder,” promoting a false charge that had already been thrown out of court, with the state attorney refusing to proceed with it due to its ludicrous nature.
Did the blogs report this? No, even when they were provided with court documents and emails from his ex-wife, they preferred their own narrative. One Shmarya Rosenberg, who spends day and night posting even the flimsiest report against any religious Jew that he can find, even kept the story up even after receiving this email from the ex-wife:
Can you please remove the post about my marriage and divorce ordeal? Yomin had consistently offered a get based on counseling. There were a lot of third party people trying to make hey out of the situation, yelling that it was a ploy, < >
Regarding the arrest, the charges were thrown out before trial and the person responsible for it was a lady named Leah Davis who pretends to help women win custody. I did not cooperate with this and in truth, the arrest was an abuse of mandatory arrest laws, initiated by her.
This was not the first time that Shmarya Rosenberg was caught printing false stories, or at least taking great liberties with the truth. One story here documents Rosenberg’s report of an “arrest” of a Jewish bride in Williamsburg, NY that never happened. The comments about him were telling. Yet this is who Get ORA and their Beth Din of America use to post untrue stories of hatred in the media.
(Rosenberg did link to the dismissal of a no-contact petition, instead of the charge, which would have shown that it was thrown out by the State Attorney himself, and had done so well before Rosenberg had printed his activist hit piece.)
As with the rabid left, it seems that ORA, headed by Yeshiva University Dean Hershel Schachter, is all about control and self-glorification, even if it comes at the expense of the people who they purportedly claim to help. The fact that according to leading rabbis, their actions could have caused a man not to provide a religious divorce at all, and that if not for the decency of Postelnik this might have been the end result, due solely to their actions.
Their modus operendi in this case is not unique. This link documents ORA’s leader Hershel Schachter calling for violence against a husband whose daughter was taken out of state and who had also sought a different rabbinical tribunal (with Schachter being excoriated for doing so based on real Jewish religious law), and here we see how the same Schachter threatened the lives of two Israeli prime ministers, used derogatory racist terms and compared women to monkeys. His insane and vicious musings have widely been condemned by rabbis and Jewish leaders throughout the world and his following has been reduced to only the most rabidly inclined of modern-orthodox activists. It should be noted that Schachter has appropriately been placed in excommunication as well, as noted here.
A separate Mendel Epstein was arrested for arranging beat-ups in order to coerce Jewish divorce. In that case it was widely reported that the late world renown expert on Jewish law, Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv had ruled that bills of divorce written by him were mostly invalid. When Epstein was arrested (and news that his divorce bills were not religiously valid was disseminated), Hershel Schachter and Yeshiva University staff took down his own calls to violence from the internet, as documented here.
According to one rabbi involved with the Postelniks, the get activists readily admitted that they did not know the husband either, at least not all that well. But “he’s a Republican,” (Haven’t we heard this all too often from the hate filled left?) “he won’t give a get,” (He had made a concrete offer for a get and was following the advice of professionals and his rabbis.), “he must be a …..” Well sorry, but his actions throughout this ordeal say otherwise. Maybe they were in fact talking about themselves.
This much I know. Both Yomin Postelnik and Leah Postelnik are decent community people and parents. Both work tirelessly to ensure that their children receive a proper Jewish education and have made sacrifices to do many in far better situations wouldn’t make for their children’s education. Both of them deserved better than the media circus that was foisted upon them. Both Postelniks deserved better than the range of outside activists who knew nothing about the case, but who were all too willing to make sport out of it nonetheless.
What remains shocking is how low the left, atheist bloggers and associated others will go when it comes to attacking anyone who challenges their secular leftist or, in this case, “modern-orthodox” worldview. And that, in fact, is the lesson to be learned from this case, the message of their own leftist depravity.
This piece was researched and written by Dan Levy