Information concerning the search warrants executed by the Sûreté du Québec and Chatham- Kent Regional Police on January 29th on 2 homes within the Lev Tahor community in Chatham, has now been released, but much of the information has been censored to protect the privacy of individuals. Lev Tahor will be filing their appeal on February 25th.
Although no information about what was seized is included, we may be able to speculate on the purpose of issuing that search warrant from the information that has been made available. The allegations highlight the use of force, intimidation and relocation to other families to keep children and community members in line.
The warrant included testimony from child welfare workers about underage marriages, and no doubt testimony from Adam Brudzewsky, a former Lev Tahor member, who indicated that he had personally witnessed seven underage marriages during his time in the community.
The document details allegations of imprisonment of young girls in the basement of homes, underage marriage and the use of violent physical discipline. Included are allegations of psychological and physical punishment being used to control children and adults of the controversial ultra-orthodox radical Jewish sect.
The fact that illegal and underage marriages occur within the Lev Tahor community has already been proven in my previous posts.
Quebec social workers also testified that a foot fungus was endemic amongst women in the community as a result of the religious requirement against appearing barefoot, and being forced to wear socks at all time and even while sleeping.
Interviews had taken place with members of the community, social workers and unnamed witnesses beginning in 2012. Contained within the warrant were allegations that a member was ordered to hit a woman in the face because she wasn’t complying with the sect’s requirement that women wear a burqa-like covering, and the beating of a young girl with a belt and coat hanger.
It is alleged that a 17-year-old pregnant girl was sexually abused by her father, beaten by her brother and married off at age 15. The document further indicates that the 17-year-old girl was “in a psychosis” and incapable of being interviewed after arriving at a children’s hospital, but her injuries were however photographed as evidence of trauma. Afterward, in a video interview at the hospital with investigators, the girl made “no allusion to the crime”. This fact is quite plausible when members are forced to take non-prescribed drugs as also alleged in the warrant.
The warrant also contained allegations that children were brought to Canada from other countries under false pretexts when they were really being brought for future marriages. Included was a report from social workers which noted that a 14-year-old girl did not want to return to the community out of fear of marriage, as she was promised to a man, and was also being intimidated to keep her silent.
Shlomo Helbrans, the self-proclaimed rabbinical leader of the sect denied all allegations of abuse or wrongdoing. Instead, he is claiming that all the allegations are the result of a campaign of genocide being waged by Quebec judges, child-protection workers and politicians against them.
This is the same person who has told his followers that Hitler and Stalin were good teachers.
On the day that the warrant was released, call it perfect timing, the sect published the following video:
The video consists of an 18 minute tirade by Helbrans before leaving Quebec. Here he equates the Quebec government with that of Nazi Germany, since the Quebec government is intent on making the province “Judenrein” or cleansed of Jews, and equating provincial judges to Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering.
By equating the Quebec government and judges, child welfare workers and politicians with Nazis, it is truly a gross and perverted tactic on his part, which cheapens the holocaust and the memory of those who perished in it. Not surprisingly, organized communal institutions within Quebec’s and Canada’s Jewish community have not taken umbrage with these statements. I recall that in the U.S., the Anti Defamation League made strong protests when gun control was equated with Nazism. Where are these organizations now? I hope that they will not be silent.
It is incredible that when things do not go the way they want; Jewish organizations and individuals are known to conveniently label actions as anti-Semitism. Lev Tahor is doing just that.
Let’s get the facts straight, Lev Tahor has no one to blame but themselves. They have been under investigation for over 2 years for allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse, underage marriages, health concerns, not meeting minimum educational standards, and forcible confinement. These allegations have all been documented, and there is evidence to prove most of them.
There is a marked difference between providing proof that counters an allegation, and just refuting it. Helbrans is not providing proof that authorities are wrong, he is merely refuting their allegations by calling the authorities all kinds of names and invoking the word, “anti-Semitism”.
If one is to believe Helbrans that “The creator knows the truth — that we have not committed in the village a single crime. We did not break any Canadian or Quebec laws,” then why did Lev Tahor run from these allegations by leaving Quebec in the middle of the night. As the saying goes “The truth shall set you free! Does he not believe in their own righteousness?
Why did they wait until the warrants were made public to release the video? It was a public relations stunt meant to garner public sympathy from the misguided who are always quick to claim human rights abuses.
The coroner’s inquest into the death of Jeffery Baldwin has just been released with 103 recommendations. Jeffery Baldwin, a 5-year old who was placed in the care of his grandmother, subsequently died in 2002 as a result of neglect, abuse and starvation. The underlying message of these inquest`s recommendations is that it is not only the responsibility of child-welfare workers to protect children, rather the onus is on the entire community, and child safety and well being take precedence over individual privacy interests.
How can we apply these recommendations from the inquest to the situation of Lev Tahor? In the case of this radical sect, child welfare officials are acting responsibly in attempting to investigate allegations and signs of abuse, and prosecute. Hopefully, the misguided who fly the flag of discrimination and proclaim the abuse of human rights of the members of Lev Tahor will comprehend this.
In Jeffery Baldwin’s memory, the safety and wellbeing of children supersedes any hollow or self serving argument about any potential human rights abuse of Lev Tahor. Helbrans and his followers should show that they care about validating their own concerns and behaviour, and proving their innocence rather than claiming discrimination. If they are in fact guiltless, as I have said, the truth shall set them free.