Mahmoud Salem
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This has to be the funniest news story of the day:

Moshe Aryeh Friedman, a senior Neturei Karta
member, who passionately kissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
will now be forced to look for a woman who will agree to kiss him, as
his wife has decided to leave him following his participation in the Holocaust denial conference
which took place in Tehran about a month ago.

The participation
of six Neturei Karta leaders in the Holocaust denial conference in
Tehran continues to stirr up emotions in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Friedman, who lives in Vienna, is the harshest person among the Neturei Karta representatives who arrived in Iran
, and was even photographed kissing the Iranian president. He also
stayed in Iran for another two weeks after his friends left, visiting
universities across the country in order to speak against the State of Israel

'Ultra-Orthodox Voice' service reported that when Friedman finally
returned to Vienna he found out that his wife, following her parents'
advice, had fled to the Satmar community in Williamsburg, New York
City. There she approached rabbis and asked them to help her divorce
her husband due to his misdeeds.


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28 thoughts on “A.J.'s kisser's wife files for divorce

  1. hahaha. poor woman, the shame the shame!!
    it’s funny how the ultra-orthodox can be so anti-israel. I heard they like to do photo shoots with Hamas but passionately kissing Ahmedinejad?? That takes the cake!!

  2. Poor psychopathic culty Neturei Karta. I guess they sold out the Jewish community one too many times.

    I hope he has a long, lonely life. l’chai-im!

  3. Given how Jewish law runs, it will probably be incredibly hard for her to obtain the divorce, since she’ll need his consent to obtain it. And I doubt he can be easily embarrassed into giving her one. It may require the visit of a couple of frum former footballers (couldn’t resist the alliteration–frum means Orthodox-observant) to convince him. She may be condemning herself to living the rest of her life as a single women, and dependent on her blood relatives.
    The term for women who can not obtain the necessary bill of divorce from their husbands–because he disappeared, refused, or is mentally incapacitated–is agunah, which means chained.

  4. OK. They live in Vienna, and she fled to Williamsburg, New York. USA. I’m not familiar with Vienna’s laws on divorce, but in Williamsburg, New York, she can divorce him cause she can’t stand him leaving the top off the toothpaste tube any longer or not putting the seat down on the toilet for the last time. Legally, without prejudice. I’m sure there are lawyers in NY who can handle this for her. Now, as for any “religious rule” that she must live her life as a single woman dependent on her blood relatives? If she chooses to move to America, she can do anything she wants (as long as it’s not illegal). If she “chooses” to abide by her religious laws, perhaps there would be rules to follow. But if she says kiss off to old religious laws and chooses to move to say Dallas, Texas, or Chicago, Illinois, she can apply for welfare (ie, live off the state) until she gets a job. She really wouldn’t have to. She could make a fortune calling a few publishers and getting this stuff in a book here in the states. There would be writers and publishers beating her door down with huge monies to get her story into print. And the movie rights would net her no less than a million dollars. I would suggest her divorce be totally final prior to doing the book deal (as we have community property laws in some states, ie, the ex-husband could sue for half the income).

    This brings up another point entirely. The idea that a woman would have to live single dependent on her blood relatives for support is so outlandish a concept I can’t believe people in the world actually believe this! This is 2007 for heaven’s sake! A woman, at least here in the US, can do anything legal she pleases, particularly if she can afford it. And the availability of opportunities that allow women to afford anything (material, at least) is limitless. There are pockets of cultural, religious and ethnic rule-following areas/sects around, but the vast majority of places to live in the US do not “require” anyone (male or female) to do anything in accordance with any religious law. I guess it’s hard for men in the ME to realize that generations – GENERATIONS!!!! – of American women have been taught that GOD puts the air in our lungs each day, not man, not an Imam, not a preacher, not a rabbi. And a woman who kneels before God need kneel before no man.

    I can kind of see where the husband is coming from. I think (may be wrong) ultra-orthos and hasids don’t recognize Israel as their argument is Israel is only relevant when the Messiah comes. But you’ve got your other half of orthodox and reformed Jews, then the Messianic Jews – who do support the state of Israel. Messianic believing the Messiah has come (Jesus), and the orthos and reformeds not really recognizing the Messiah’s arrival (yet) but recognizing Israel. So you have 1 Almajadine groupie from one Jewish sect (non Messiah believer) kissing the Iranian Devil. Definitely in the minority I would guess when considering the consensus of Jewish AND world opinion. This is more comedy than any real political insight. Dark comedy.

  5. Naomi,

    But if she says kiss off to old religious laws…

    I’m not Jewish, but I’ve met Orthodox Jews… they are pretty religious. And that’s an understatement. Even if she is willing to abandon the beliefs she grew up with, what kind of fallout would there be with her (presumably just as religious family) if she did so?

  6. I have to tell yah, I don’t think obtaining a Jewish divorce will be very difficult.

    Not every ultra-orthodox believes in the destruction of Israel. In fact, some are the exact opposite: living on the west bank (often illegally), calling for Israel’s secular democracy to be destroyed and replaced with a Kingdom ruled by the Torah… equal in insanity but opposite in intent.

    Either way, if she desires a Jewish divorce (to go with an easily obtainable legal divorce) I am sure she could find a Jewish court who is just as horrified to see a Jew supporting a holocaust denial conference.

    It should also be noted that in Israel, people get divorced all the time. The religious divorce is not mandatory in any way.

  7. From the article: “…when Friedman finally returned to Vienna he found out that his wife, following her parents’ advice, had fled to the Satmar community in Williamsburg, New York City. There she approached rabbis and asked them to help her divorce her husband due to his misdeeds.”

    Sounds like her folks are her biggest supporters getting her outta there. Sounds like the rabbis are approachable if she’s able to ask for divorce help.
    I know they’re familar with the wholesale draw away from Orthodox tradition that modern life allows and protects in the US, so they will probably be fairly accommodating to keep her in the fold. Not in any shameful way. Totally in the aspect that in America, they can lose her to Reformed Judiasm, Christianity, Atheism, Scientology, etc. if she requires a “group” to feel whole and her home group’s not giving it to her. The financial impact on her would probably be negligible since she’s Jewish she’s probably educated so can land on her feet financially with or without the fam or husband. Even if she’s a total dimwit, she/her folks/the rabbis, can sell the story and create a handsome trustfund for her needs. Finally, most kids can do almost anything and their folks keep on loving them. At least where I’m from (Christianity). One of our big parables is the prodigal son. I say “if” she chooses to diss her religion, she has a parachute that doesn’t require her to be any kind of a pariah or subservient — and I would guess the elders of her sect are quite familiar with this in the states and able to accomodate the situation to keep their numbers up and members happy.

  8. Jordan,

    The only divorces performed in Israel are religious – there is no such thing as secular divorce here. There is a serious problem in Israel with regard to the “agunot” – the chained women. These are women whose husbands refuse to give them a divorce. The women are left in a state of limbo while the husbands can go off and do whatever they want, have children in new relationships, etc, because Jewish law often favors the man, especially with regard to these issues. A religious divorce is mandatory for any woman who wants to get married again according to Judaism.


    First of all, I think that you are seriously underestimating how important her Judaism probably is to her. It’s not simply about being part of a group – it’s about being part of a group who share her deep-seated beliefs, her faith. It’s about carrying on centuries-old traditions, not about joining a group like one joins a fraternity or sorority.

    Secondly, as for your sentence “The financial impact on her would probably be negligible since she’s Jewish she’s probably educated so can land on her feet financially with or without the fam or husband.” is a misguided stereotype at best. It’s certainly not a given that she went to university, given how religious she probably is, and who knows what she may or may not be trained to do.

    While your observations might be spot on for someone from a background similar to your own, they aren’t really applicable to a Jewish woman coming from an ultra-orthodox background.

  9. “It may require the visit of a couple of frum former footballers (couldn’t resist the alliteration–frum means Orthodox-observant) to convince him.”

    Very nice alliteration.

    For those who aren’t familiar: traditionally, in Judaism, the husband has to give the wife the divorce. Technically, if he can put together enough rabbis, he can actually remarry without ever divorcing her, which really puts her up a creek.

    On the other hand, the Satmar sect in particular is known for an innovative solution. You see, coercion is not allowed, but it is permissible to evoke the husband’s desire to divorce his wife. In this case, if she gets enough rabbis on her side, they will likely decide that the Yetzer Harah (evil influence) is preventing him from divorcing her, but that he really actually wants to divorce her. They will therefore take the approach of beating him until the Yetzer Harah leaves and he is capable of declaring his decision to divorce her.

  10. @14 Yes, that is correct. But I know of 2 ultra orthodox Jewish women who wanted to divorce their husbands and in both cases the husbands gave them their Jewish divorce (the husbands didn’t want the divorce). One of the men is a rabbi. Not fair, I know especially if you want to divorce a psycho husband and he won’t give you one. If you’re not Orthodox, it doesn’t matter. You can remarry in a civil wedding (just like Catholics who can’t divorce period). However, for an Orthodox woman whose husband won’t give her a divorce, she cannot remarry in a Jewish ceremony.

  11. She won’t have a problem with divorce from a religious perspective. Not when the Jewish equivalent of excommunication is not just being discussed against Friedman and his buddies, but being done.

    She won’t have a problem within the Satmar group even. Even *they*, who almost have Zionist-bashing as a religious tenent, say the nutters went too far one time too many.

  12. While I can certainly understand Naomi being incensed at the prospect of a woman being tied to her husband against her will, I think that it is important to recognize that while her assessment may be accurate from a legal standpoint, it has nothing to do with Orthodox Judaism as it applies to divorce. It is no small matter for a woman to consider leaving her husband when that could potentially mean being ostrasized from her community. The ramifications of her faith may mean nothing to Naomi, but certainly they matter to his wife whose first move was to obtain the counsel of Rabbis in New York. Naomi also doesn’t seem to understand that there are still cultures and faiths in which a woman who wishes to maintain the respect of her community has somewhat more limited career options than western women. I’m not saying it is right per-se, but it is short sighted to say “Hey, no problem, she can just chuck her faith.” particularly as it appears to be that faith which prompted her action. Then again, this is coming from a woman who writes, “I can kind of see where the husband is coming from.”

    It is reassuring to think that Roman Kalik may be right in his assesment that Friedman’s actions will spare his wife the difficulty she might otherwise have had to bear for taking such decisive action…

    Then again, the story may have changed after first reported as this article and this article seem to imply.

  13. Heh Marisa, et al. I would never say to “chuck one’s faith.” But I will say to CHANGE your faith if it doesn’t include more GOD and less man. To presume that one can influence what others think by one’s actions is preposterous. If the individual is serving God’s will to the best of his or her ability, and constantly seeking to further knowledge of God’s will, it doesn’t matter what “man” thinks! If I had a Jewish legal or technical matter, i would consult a Rabbi, even though I’m not Jewish due to the fact that a Rabbi is supposed to be super booked on Jewish laws and traditions. My exp is mainly with Reformed Judaism — where the women get super schooled and can be Rabbis. This is extremely progressive compared to some of the other varieties of Judaism. I guess I’m lucky because many of these ladies are smart, holy, and held in high esteem in Temple and out. In regard to kind of seeing the husband’s point of view, yeah, I do. If i met AJ I’d probably take advantage of the photo op. Shake his hand. Plant one on his cheek (I think a gal can get killed for this in Iran, eh?) Why? Cause when God looks down at us, he sees his sons and daughters. He’s our brother, even though he’s a crazy man and I totally don’t understand his rain dance. I’m not the poster child for sanity either so it would be just one crazy kissin’ another, eh? Live and let live ………and keep laughing cause it’s a short ride!

  14. Actually, it’s “Reform” Judaism, not “Reformed” Judaism. Maybe you see Ahmadinejad as your brother, but given that he has repeatedly called for my country to be wiped off the map, I think I’ll skip family connections with him for now.

  15. Marisa, from those articles I think we can be sure that Friedman was there to try and get his wife and children back. Did he get anything beyond a visit? We can certainly hope not.

    As for AJ… Nope, he aint no brother of mine.

  16. Heh Liza. You’re right, it is Reform (not ..ed) Judaism. My typing’s not perfect. You own a country? (“my country”) Cool. Must be a lot of work though… As for AJ, I try to keep it really simple to avoid confusion with all politicians, dictators, tyrants, royalty, rabbis, imams, preachers, etc. God, his children. God, his children. If “we” are not God, “we” are his kids. Simple.

  17. You own a country? (”my country”) Cool.

    Maybe it’s your English skills that are the problem, and not your typing? Are you the same person who was accusing me of slavery for saying “my housekeeper” a few months ago!? :O

  18. Liza,

    I’ve known many a Jew of the Reform persuasion, and I have never heard one call it “Reform” rather than “Reformed” Judaism. In fact, one of my most favorite mentors liked to refer to himself as a “Deformed Jew”. But, then again, as he looked exactly like Mr. Weatherbee from the Archie Comics, maybe he wasn’t referring to his theology. 🙂


  19. Heh Craig. I don’t think so — we need a housekeeper big time and we pay well and don’t demean anyone. Work’s work, eh?

  20. While many people do say “Reformed” Judaism, that’s technically incorrect. It’s definitely “Reform” Judaism – Check this out. This link takes you to the official website for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which is the office of the Union for Reform Judaism.

  21. Liza,
    Next you’re gonna tell me that the “circle-R” on a food package isn’t the Union of Reform Judaism’s kashruth certification. 😉


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