Mrs. Ort filed for divorce in New Jersey State Court. Rather than taking this action pursuant to permission granted by a Beis Din, Mrs. Ort spoke to one Rav. R’ Avrohom was not consulted by this Rav regarding the monetary issues. A letter signed by three Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva and Rav Dovid Feinstein did not succeed in countering this action. Their notification to Mrs. Ort that her behavior was prohibited and incongruous with the standards of an Ir HaTorah had no effect.
June 2000: R’ Avrohom moved back into his family’s home to attempt a reconciliation. He remained in the home for the following 14 months. During this time, he consented to the release of over $300,000 from the couple’s joint account to appease his wife. All accounts had been frozen at the time of filing, as is the usual procedure, to prevent drainage of assets prior to reaching a settlement.
August 2001: Failing to reconcile, he left his family’s home once again. His wife retumed to court and was awarded pendent life support of $25,000 per month. This money was drawn from the couple’s joint account, which had a balance of $700,000 at the time of the case’s opening.
2003:The joint account ran dry. The court then permitted Mrs. Ort to draw support from her children’s accounts. These were comprised of money from R’ Avraham’s family that had been disbursed among his children’s accounts. The accounts totaled over one million dollars. In view of the fact that the money would now be coming from the children’s accounts, the court lowered the monthly amount to $11,000. These withdrawals continue until today.
2007: The court case came to its conclusion. The Roshei Yeshiva, Rav Dovid Schustal shIit’a and Rav Yisroel Newman, shlit’a, took the time to come to court to provide moral support for R’ Avrohom. Rav Malkiel Kotler, shlit’a, wrote the judge a letter of support. Nevertheless, the final settlement awarded Mrs. Ort all the assets of the marriage. This occurred, despite the theory of equitable distribution, because the joint account had been spent on child support. Mrs. Ort retained residential custody of the children in accordance with the husband’s wishes for the sake of their stability, who are in turn the recipients of their father’s assets. Furthermore, the amount of support for which R’ Avrohom was held accountable was greater than his equitable share of the marital assets.
The Ort Children: Although R’ Avrohom and Mrs. Ort have been awarded joint legal custody of their children, R’ Avrohom has agreed to give her full residential custody. He made this decision with the intention of minimizing the impact of the divorce on them, to give them stability and a daily life in their own home with their siblings and mother.
At this point, the children’s minds have been thoroughly poisoned against their father. They believe that he has left their mother impoverished. This belief has inclined them to adopt many other negative ideas that have been put forth about R’ Avrohom. He hopes that by resolving the underlying financial issues in Beis Din, the children can lay to rest their sense of injustice and lay the foundation to rebuild their relationship with their father. In the interim, he has made every effort to maintain contact with them, to attend their milestone events and correspond with them, even though his efforts bring no response. Now, since he has been forced to reside outside the country, he can no longer maintain even this tie to his children.
You may be wondering: But what can l do?
There are a number of areas of proper השתדלות.
1) You or someone you know could contact Mrs. Ort and help her realize the terrible mistake she is making. Point out the damage to the family reputation and to the children who have been unfairly turned against their father. Her phone number is (732) 367-80112.
If direct contact is not practical, please send her a letter explaining how everyone will only benefit from doing על פי תורתנו הקדושה. Her address is 1088 Times Square Blvd.
The Roshei Yeshiva shlit”a have been doing their utmost to bring this matter before a Beis Din. They can do more if they have the full support of the tzibbur. Speak to them, voice your חיזוק, and ask them what you can do to end this חילול ה and have all parties fairly settle כדת וכדין תורתנו הקדושה in the עיר התורה.
ln the zchus of לא תעמוד לדם רעך may we all be zoche to a כתיבה וחתימה טובה.