Tuesday, May 13, 2014

High-Ranking French Rabbi's Religious Court Accused of Extorting Funds To Get Divorce Document For Wife

The Forward yesterday reported on allegations made two months ago in France against the Chief Rabbi of Paris (who is now also serving as the interim Chief Rabbi of France) by a woman who claims that the rabbi-- Michel Gugenheim-- was involved in extorting 90,000 Euros (approximately $123,000 US) from her in exchange for her obtaining a get (Jewish divorce document). According to a deposition filed in March with Paris police by the woman's family, the 28-year old woman's husband demanded 30,000 Euros from her before he would give her a get.  Apparently Gugenheim and two other rabbis serving on his rabbinical court backed the husband's demand, and asked the woman's family to pay it by writing a check for 90,000 Euros as a charitable contribution to the Sinai religious institution.  French tax authorities would reimburse the family for 60,000 Euros of that since it was a charitable contribution. The charity would then transfer 30,000 Euros to the husband and keep the rest. Asked to comment, Gugenheim denied any wrongdoing.