NJ Rabbi and Wife Surrender on Kidnapping Charges

Couple plead not guilty to charges of kidnapping a man who refused to give his wife a religious divorce.

It’s the latest twist in an odd case involving a "pillar" of a New Jersey Jewish community.

A Lakewood rabbi and his wife surrendered to the FBI on Monday on charges that they abducted an Israeli man, beat him and threatened to bury him alive if he didn't give his wife a religious divorce.

David Wax, 49, and Judy Wax, 47, made a brief appearance in federal court Monday where they plead not guilty just hours after surrendering to the FBI. They were released shortly afterwards on $500,000 bond each. Officials say a chain of events started with a 2008 divorce dispute in Israel's Rabbinical Court over the victim, Yisreal Briskman’s, refusal to allow his wife to “get,” an Orthodox Jewish divorce document permitting a wife to remarry.

According to the FBI complaint, Briskman was lured to the Wax's Lakewood home on Oct. 16, 2010, to discuss opportunities for Briskman to work on a book the rabbi was writing. Once Briskman was in the home, two men allegedly pounced on Briskman from behind before handcuffing, blindfolding and robbing him.

”We're confident that when all the facts are made public, he'll be cleared of these charges and his good and honorable name will be restored,” Mitchell Ansell, David Wax's said on Monday.

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