Recently, an article appeared in “Chatham This Week” concerning a rally that was organized in front of the Court House in Chatham, Ontario by supporters of Lev Tahor to coincide with the launching of their appeal of an Ontario Court decision that 13 of the sect’s children be sent back to Quebec to be placed in foster homes.
Last November, the approximately 200 members of Lev Tahor moved from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec to Chatham in order to evade Quebec child welfare officials from placing these children into foster care.
The underlying theme of the article centred on human rights issues such as hate and tolerance. There were even comments such as:
“Why can’t they just be part of the community and be accepted for who they are as a people?”
… just because their religious beliefs and the clothes they wear are different from most people, there is no reason they shouldn’t receive the same consideration as anyone else. “They are people just like us.”
“People need to show respect. Just because they look different doesn’t mean they should be singled out for it.”
These supporters are absolutely right! Members of Lev Tahor should not be victimized based on how they dress or for being or looking different. I am quite positive that I look different than most people, and I am sure that at least one person out there will say that the supporters who organized the rally look different. We all look different, and we are all different.
Being different or looking different is not the issue. Religious beliefs are not the issue. Their religious beliefs may only differ in degree from other sects.
In all of my writing, and I hope that I speak for others as well, I have never written about their dress, their religious rituals, or their political beliefs. My concerns and criticisms are based on allegations of child abuse, neglect, use of drugs, physical and mental abuse and mind control that have been made against them by child welfare agencies, former members, and those with who have had personal experiences and relationships with Lev Tahor; especially with their leaders.
These are the critical issues that Lev Tahor’s detractors have, and they come from all corners of the Jewish community – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Hareidi, Zionist, and Anti-Zionist. The common thread is that of the allegations of physical, emotional and mental abuse which have been entered into the courts as evidence.
These supporters may have visited Lev Tahor on several occasions. Were these visits pre-arranged so that preparations could be made to show their good side? Remember when interviewed by Global Television, Denis Baraby stated that when his unit visited Lev Tahor in Quebec, they did not see any toys with which they could play. Children need toys amongst other necessities for stimulation and their development.
When Global Television visited their community in Chatham, they now noticed toys and stated that Lev Tahor was quick to point this out and play this up. Lev Tahor is certainly adept at playing to the media and to the public.
Here is the question that everyone, including those who attended the rally in support of Lev Tahor, should consider – Should allegations about human rights abuses take precedence over potential child abuse? Should these allegations take precedence over mental and physical abuse?
Don’t be taken in by Lev Tahor.
If I have made a difference in at least one person’s health and welfare, I will be satisfied.