Rabbi asks for ethics probe of House staffer

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The staff member, Aharon Friedman, and his wife got a civil divorce in Maryland court in 2010, according to Herzfeld’s letter to Reps. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.). Friedman has served since late 2007 as a tax counsel on the House Ways and Means Committee, where Camp is the chairman.

Herzfeld said that by refusing to grant his wife a religious divorce, Friedman is abusing her and bringing disrepute on the House.

“Mr. Friedman has violated the House rules and harmed the reputation of the House of Representatives by continuing to abuse his ex-wife, Ms. Tamar Epstein,” said Herzfeld in his letter, sent last Friday and published on the Huffington Post on Sunday.

“The reputation of the House of Representatives is suffering because of Mr. Friedman's continuing refusal to grant Ms. Epstein a ‘get,’ a behavior that is no less a form of spousal abuse than striking one's wife. Just as the House would not tolerate a senior staffer who is an adjudicated wife beater, it should take steps to investigate and discipline Mr. Friedman for his abuse of Ms. Epstein.”

Herzfeld said that Friedman has been barred from praying at his traditional synagogue, whose rabbi has been “encouraging his congregation to shun Mr. Friedman.”

A growing chorus of public outcry is arising, he said, pointing to a social-media campaign launched last month asking Friedman to grant the “get,” which a rabbinical court in Washington has issued a directive requiring him to do. 

A spokesman for Camp’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.