Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

The Personal IS Political

Republicans are all ready to assume their leadership roles as Congress convenes on Wednesday, but one Republican House staffer is probably less then thrilled with the amount of attention he is getting.

Aharon Friedman, a 34-year-old tax expert on the Republican side of the House Ways and Means Committee, is in the midst of an ugly divorce that has led to protests outside his suburban Washington home and to requests that his bosses in Congress call him to order.

The New York Times has the story and even a link to a YouTube video showing activists protesting outside the staffer’s residence.

The reason: Friedman is refusing to give his wife a get, the Jewish decree of divorce, thus making his wife an agunah, a woman who cannot remarry. The couple divorced by civil law last April, but unless the husband follows the ancient Jewish practice of giving his wife a get, they are not considered divorced according to Jewish law.

Rabbis and activists have urged Friedman to give his wife the get and one local religious leader even tried taking the issue to the Hill. Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, of Washington’s Ohev Shalom Orthodox synagogue wrote to the Republican chief of staff on the Ways and Means committee warning him that protests could move from outside Friedman’s house to the vicinity of his workplace, meaning Capitol Hill. The chief of staff, according to the Times, was not moved by the threat and replied that it was not an issue for the committee.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.