Recently, on its “16 x9” program, Canada’s Global Television Network aired an hour long feature on Lev Tahor. It included interviews with members of the sect starting with self proclaimed rabbi, Shlomo Helbrans and his 3 stooges or enforcers – Nachman Helbrans, Uriel Goldman, and Mayer Rosner, as well as several women members including Helbrans daughter or daughter-in-law, and a representative of Quebec’s child welfare authority.
Two of the underlying messages of the program were that Lev Tahor was playing the media and the public for fools, and that Lev Tahor is a cult.
This last fact comes from Orthodox Rabbi Reuben Poupko of Montreal who was also interviewed. He confirmed that there is no religious prohibition that a woman cannot show her feet.
With respect to Lev Tahor he went on to make the following statements:
… It’s all very comforting to live in a cult. All questions are answered. All decisions are handed over. It’s very comforting to live in a bubble. … But it is not authentically Jewish.
What was most significant and revealing was that Rabbi Poupko in his interview said that Lev Tahor was modeled after extremist Muslim groups; especially in how they treat women. This comment comes from a man who is a descendent from a great Hassidic dynasty, and should therefore know.
As mentioned, Shlomo Helbrans is the self proclaimed rabbi of the sect. Documents of his ordination as a rabbi have never been confirmed. As far as I am concerned, he is a rabbi only in his own mind.
The program contained many questionable matters, revealed the answers to many unanswered questions, and may have shown evidence of deceit on the part of Lev Tahor.
The program began with filming on the Jewish Sabbath. This is shear hypocrisy in that that those who strictly observe the Sabbath, especially within Orthodox Judaism, refrain from what is considered turning electricity on or off during the Sabbath.
When Global Journalist Carolyn Jarvis, interviewed Mayer Rosner, he refused to look at her for religious reasons which prohibit him from looking at a female other than his wife, mother or daughters. If this be the case, then why did Shlomo Helbrans spend 7 hours in his office being interviewed by Jarvis? I would have to surmise that during this time, he looked at Jarvis at least once.
A significant amount of time was spent interviewing the children while they were in the classroom. Apparently, the males begin studying at 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night, and English is taught for a whole hour each day. Although English is taught for an hour per day, by watching the program, one can easily see that the males cannot speak English, and that the cult is not meeting the educational requirements of Ontario.
The males do not learn geography or mathematics, and don’t even know the name of our Prime Minister or the names of Canada’s provinces. Goldman began his response by making reference to politics, but Jarvis quickly corrected him that it was not just a matter of politics. His response was more telling when he said “we don’t do this because we don’t want them to know the facts”. It reminds me of servitude or slavery; where people were kept ignorant. I can only speculate that they don’t teach them these things, because they wish to keep them ignorant and in the dark. This last point is verified by Denis Baraby of Quebec’s Youth Protection who stated that when a 5 year old was taken to their offices, the child was amazed by the changing colours of lights on a traffic signal. The child had never seen a traffic signal before, and Baraby doubts that the child ever travelled off his street.
When asked whether or not the males could obtain a high school diploma, at first the teacher didn’t know, but then Goldman said that they could if their parents allowed it. But how could any of the males receive a high school diploma when they spend from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. in religious instruction?
Goldman then made some cockamamie excuse that one has to learn how to behave first. Does one not have to learn how to cross a street at a traffic light? I would say that learning the protocol for crossing a street, or the required behaviour when using a traffic signal is of paramount importance in today’s society.
With respect to their financial assets, it is true, that the sect’s charity lost its charitable status some time ago. But they had over $5 million in assets. What happened to these assets? Please see my previous post for more questions and concerns.
When questioned about the accusations of child abuse, poor hygiene, foot fungus, use of drugs to control behaviour, and neglect, the allegations were denied by Nachman Helbrans even though Interpol and Quebec’s Youth Protection Service documented that these allegations were in fact true. Helbrans never responded to the specific allegations of foot fungus and urine soaked mattresses. But one will note that the women were busy making a new type of garment called sleep sacks so that their feet would be covered during sleep, instead of wearing stocking at times which resulted in foot fungus.
The sect fled Quebec just before Quebec child welfare authorities were to come and place the children in foster homes. This alone is an indication of the sect’s intention to evade child welfare authorities and the law.
When Shlomo Helbrans was interviewed, he confirmed that people in his sect were not allowed to read any book unless he in fact, approved. This applied even to a book written by Margaret Attwood. He said that those people who read books, would be asked to leave the sect. But what about Malka Helbrans his former wife, who was severely beaten within an inch of her life before being banished by this self declared rabbi.
Helbrans admitted that he encouraged marriages at a young age. But as the laws prohibit marriage for those under 16 years of age, he does indeed respect the law and does not allow marriages under that age. But in a previous post, I was able to determine that marriages in fact occur before the age of 16 years, and sometimes as early as 14 years. If Helbrans was so intent on cooperating with authorities and the law, then why did they leave in the middle of the night, just before authorities were to enforce court orders concerning the children.
Helbrans applied for, and received immigration status on the grounds that he would be persecuted in Israel for his anti-Zionist views, even though many members of other anti-Zionist Orthodox sects live in Israel, and benefit from Israel’s welfare system and institution. He was sentenced and jailed in the U.S. for child abduction. But no mention is made in the program that the Canadian government attempted to appeal Helbran’s refugee status without success.
The most hideous comment made by Helbrans was his accusation that Israel is worse than the holocaust, and is causing the holocaust of the soul. All I can say is that making a statement such as this, is to cheapen the legacy and impact of the holocaust on the world, not only for Jews, but for the millions of non Jews that perished during this period.
So there you have it. The key messages of the program are that Lev Tahor is “playing the media” and as a result, public opinion. I say this noting the hypocrisy and falsehoods of many of the statements made by Lev Tahor, and that they are a cult according to Orthodox Judaism.
Tell me if I’m right or wrong. Although the program is 45 minutes in length, I invite you to watch it in its entirety in the following and you can judge for yourself.