Man Says Rabbi Beat the Hell out of Him
NEWARK (CN) - A man claims in court that a New Jersey rabbi had him assaulted, handcuffed and blindfolded and threatened to have him "eaten alive by rats," then forced him to submit to a quickie rabbinical divorce.
Meir Bryskman sued David and Judy Wax, husband and wife, in Federal Court. Bryskman, an Israeli citizen who lives in the United States, also lists his parents, Zalman and Jean Bryskman, as plaintiffs.
Bryskman claims he was involved in "a contested divorce and custody issues in a Rabbinical Court in the State of Israel."
On the advice of his rabbis, Bryskman says, he fled Israel to the United States after his wife refused to grant him any contact or visitation with his children.
Bryskman claims he traveled to Lakewood, N.J., on Oct. 16, 2010, to meet with David Wax, a rabbi, to discuss doing work on Wax's books.
Upon his arrival, the complaint states, Bryskman was led to the second floor, where he believed a meeting was being held, and was jumped by unknown assailants, who punched him in the face, breaking his nose, handcuffed and blindfolded him, then "constrained the victim's [Bryskman] hands even further by wrapping wire all along his right and left arms, from the wrist to the elbow. The victim remained tied in this position for hours while the torture continued. David Wax was present and an active participant throughout the assault laughing at the cries of the victim for his
attackers to stop.
"The attackers spoke of the victim divorcing his wife and told the victim that he will give the divorce without receiving custody or any visitation rights or parenting time vis a vis his children."
The complaint adds: "At one point ... Wax picked up the victim's head, allowing the victim to see Wax from under the blindfold, at which time Wax was wearing a white cowboy hat and asked the victim 'do you like my hat' then started kicking the victim in the ribs. Wax also constantly threatened to urinate on Y.M.B. on several occasions.
"The victim was shown a body bag and told by the defendant David Wax that if he did not comply that he would be buried alive in the Pocono Mountains. The defendants also told the victim that they told him they planned to videotape how he died while he was eaten alive by rats. The defendants told the victim that they had been contracted to kill him and that the video would serve as proof of the killing for their employer. A dark colored body bag was brought into the room and laid on the victim by Wax who stated 'for you to get used to the size' and that the body bag 'fit [him] perfectly.'
"The assault lasted for multiple hours and the victim was threatened repeatedly. During the first half hour of the assault the victim was forced to verbally consent to a 'Get,' a Jewish religious divorce.
"The attackers went through the divorce process. Following the victim's consent to the forced religious divorce the attack did not stop but rather continued for hours, while the victim lay face down and restrained on the floor in a pool of blood. Once the divorce was concluded the defendants began questioning the victim about his life: where he stayed, who his friends were, how much money he had and where he kept the same. If the victim did not answer fast enough, the defendants kicked him repeatedly and threatened his life. At one point, the defendant David Wax noticed the puddle of the victim's blood that spread beneath him. He began to kick the victim again screaming 'you ruined my carpet.'
"While he was being beaten and interrogated, "one of the attackers stated to the victim that 'this' was revenge because C.D.S., the victim's former wife, was angry that the divorce was delayed even though the victim had repeatedly said that he would gladly acquiesce if the issues of custody and visitation rights to the couples' children which had and continues to be denied to him were settled."
The bizarre complaint continues: "At one point, one of the defendants, at present the victim does not know which, carried in a bottle of a clear liquid, brought it to the victim's mouth and told him to drink. The victim refused and clinched his teeth. The defendant tried shoving the bottle into his mouth but was not successful. In frustration, the defendant bent down to the victim's ear and asked whether he, the defendant, needed to break the victim's teeth to make him drink the liquid. As the victim still refused to open his mouth, the defendant poured the contents of the bottle over the victim's face and head, causing the victim to feel a terrible all over his head, face and in his eyes. Drops of the liquid got into the victim's mouth and the victim found that it was not drinking water. The victim was sure that the defendants had poured acid over him and that he was going to lose his face and his eye sight, even if he somehow survived the beatings. Additionally, as he was lying with his face on the carpet the unknown liquid gathered under the victim's face on the carpet, burning him on the side of his face. In order to ease his pain the victim tried keeping his face from coming into contact with the liquid, but every time he moved, the defendants started kicking and beating the victim because 'He moved without their permission.'"
Bryskman claims he was forced to consent to the divorce over and over again, in English and Hebrew.
Eventually, he says, he was led out of the house and put into a taxi with David Wax. With Judy Wax following the taxi, Bryskman claims, he was instructed to contact his parents, in Israel.
Bryskman claims that David Wax told his father, Zalman, that if he did not send Bryskman wife's family $100,000, that Meir Bryskman would be killed and that Zalman get a "special gift. It's called a bullet ... in your head." (Ellipsis in complaint.)
Bryskman claims that at some point he was led into the vehicle that Judy Wax was driving and told that he would be taken to New York and dropped off.
"During this drive," the complaint states, "David Wax told the victim not to go to the police or that 'they' would kill him or the victim's father and that the victim should not return to Lakewood. Wax also told the victim that he should not tell anyone the divorce was forced and that if the money was not paid within 24 hours both the victim and his family in Israel would be killed."
Then they dropped him off at his cousin's place in Brooklyn and the Waxes drove away, Bryskman claims.
He claims that he sought medical attention and filed a police report with the Lakewood Police Department, after which "the defendants David Wax and Judy Was were arrested."
Bryskman claims that his former wife arrived in Newark on the day before the kidnapping and flew back to Israel the day after. And he claims that David Wax's cell phone records show five phone calls from a number in Israel belonging to Bryskman's Meir's former wife or her, after following the assault.
Bryskman seeks punitive damages for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.
They are represented by Benjamin Kelsen of Teaneck.