In the summer of 2013, while the government investigated a ring of rabbis who assaulted husbands for refusing to give their wives the divorces they requested, a woman who called herself Rachel Marconi wept. She was an agunah, a chained wife, one of the many Orthodox Jewish women whose husband was withholding a get, the biblically mandated bill of divorce.
With Rabbi Martin Wolmark on speakerphone from New York, Marconi recounted how she lived piously but her husband squandered their money, abandoned her, and refused to grant her a divorce.
But as Wolmark would eventually come to find out, “Rachel Marconi” was the alias of Jessica Weisman, an FBI agent who carried out numerous investigations in the closed communities of Orthodox Jews in the tri-state area. Weisman was undercover investigating Wolmark and his crew of rabbis who allegedly used violence as a work-around for long-standing traditions like the get that kept women in marriages they wanted to leave.