Lev Tahor: How They Recruit The Unsuspecting


Shlomo Helbrans

Shlomo Helbrans Lev Tahor Cult Leader

The Orthodox Jewish cult called Lev Tahor has been called heretics and evil, and is shunned by most factions of organized Judaism in Canada and are known as a cult. Since media coverage of this cult and the many allegations against them from child welfare and law enforcement officials about child abuse, beatings, children forcibly being removed from their parents and being placed with other parents as a form of punishment, underage marriages as young as 13 years, children sleeping in urine soaked beds, poor hygiene, low educational standards, running away from the law and human trafficking Canadian and International Jewry have for the most part shunned them.

I wrote about how they the cult has managed to acquire millions to fund their, if not illegal but questionable activities. Now I would like to discuss how this group of lunatics manages to recruit or suck in their prey.

I have been doing a great deal of research, and I have been asking many questions from members of the families who have lost brothers, sisters and children to the cult about this. As a result, I’m hoping to paint a picture that gives everyone some idea or at least some insight about how they manage to bring new members to the cult.

Normally, all religions pray to a divine entity. Lev Tahor, like other cults prey on the weak, the susceptible, the unsuspecting and the ideologically vulnerable, and they do have some willing sympathizers who may be called willing conspirators.

From the communications which I have had with the families of those that were sucked into the cult, I have been told of stories where members of Lev Tahor, specially in Israel visit Orthodox Hareidi synagogues and yeshivot armed with many copies of the book written by Shlomo Helbrans, the cult’s leader. From what I have been told, this book is very well and convincingly written.

They leave many copies at these synagogues and yeshivot hoping that the easily impressionable and weak minded, who are seeking some form of spiritual fulfillment or satisfaction will read the book. Once they have read the book once, they are encouraged to read it many more times till the rhetoric is firmly planted in their minds and begins to sprout. Once they read the book, they are encouraged to contact Helbrans who spends hours upon hours and days upon days giving his sales pitch which encourages them to leave their thoughts behind and take on his own view of religion and the world. Helbrans has been described as very charismatic and convincing. He was able to fool many individuals including Global Television.

Also, I found out about Keter Malchut, an Orthodox Hareidi yeshiva for girls located in Jerusalem. According to the mother of the two girls that were returned by Canadian immigration officials to Israel several years ago, and then once again tried to enter Canada via Jordan, the principal of Keter Malchut acts as a Lev Tahor recruiter. The school is supported by a hyper-Hareidi movement of women who have discarded most of the ways of the general Hareidi movement including wigs and cover their faces. Their role is to funnel girls to this school for further indoctrination, and their views can best be described as preaching the abandonment of women of day-to-day society and to live as shut-ins.

Finally, there is the role of the matchmaker. Due to a shortage of young girls, matchmakers play a key role in finding girls as young as 13 or 14 years to marry much older men to bare children.

 

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Lev Tahor: Where The Money Comes From


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Members of Lev Tahor

Time and time again, whenever I ask where Lev Tahor gets the money to finance their activities, I get the same answer: “I don’t know”. And whenever I ask the same question, I get the same answer: “I wish you’d tell me”.

I have been doing a great deal of research, and I have been asking many questions from members of the families who have lost brothers, sisters and children to the cult about this. As a result, I’m hoping to paint a picture that gives everyone some idea or at least some insight about how they have amassed their millions.

There are probably several Hareidi controlled private charities that funnel money to Lev Tahor in both Canada and the U.S. In a previous post, I found and talked about some larger charities such as the Society for Spiritual Development, one of Lev Tahor’s charities which  transferred $3.3 million to another Jewish charity in Quebec, the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institution in 2012. I did find the revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities reported by the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions in 2012 which is illustrated in the following figure.

capture2[1]This was the same year that Lev Tahors’ Society for Spiritual Development transferred $3.3 million to this charity. I still cannot understand how the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions can report revenues of $678,470 when it received a transfer of $3.3 million from Lev Tahor. I am also curious about the relationship between the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions, and Lev Tahor and its Society for Spiritual Development.

There are other ways in which the cult generates funds in which to sustain itself.

I have been told that the father of the two remaining girls that recently banished from foster care in Canada boasted about how he went travelled throughout Orthodox Hareidi communities and to their synagogues raising funds which amounted to $3,000 per day.

Lev Tahor is quite adept and creative in their ability to manipulate the system and those they recruit into their cult. I was told of one case where a family in Israel that supported them made regular donations. Once they joined the cult, their property in Israel was handed over to the cult, which immediately sold the property. Just consider that the average house or condominium in Jerusalem sells for several hundred of thousands of dollars. If three families give up their housing to Lev Tahor, that is $1 million by which Lev Tahor is enriched.

They, as well as many other Orthodox sects are also known to manipulate and take advantage of existing government social assistance programs. In Ontario, a married couple with one child receives approximately $1,100 per month. This amount increases based on the number of children. When most families have 4 children or more, the monthly benefits that they could receive becomes quite significant. Helbrans and his lieutenants then hold their money to pay (and then some) for their housing, and give them a portion for food and other essentials. The cult then sets up a grocery store where members can buy food probably at inflated prices.

As you can see, socialism and caring for their brethren has fallen to wayside at Lev Tahor. One journalist in Montreal told me that members of Lev Tahor used to travel to the Tash orthodox colony near St. Therese Quebec to milk their goat. He then returned to sell the milk to Lev Tahor members. So capitalism and racketeering is also alive at Lev Tahor.

Final Lev Tahor Members Leave Canada Through Deceit


As you know, I have been following the Lev Tahor controversy with more than just keen interest. Lev Tahor has been aptly called a cult by many within and outside the Jewish community as a result of the allegations and evidence of child abuse, poor hygiene, forced marriages of 13 year olds, drugging members, human traficking and many other allegations.

Members of Lev Tahor Outside Typhus Infested Abandoned Office Building in Guatemala City

Lev Tahor has now completely fled Canada, and the country’s laws and courts, to establish what they want to call a paradise in Guatemala. No doubt they chose Guatemala in keeping with their questionable customs as the legal age for the marriage of girls is 13 years.

I have been advocating for the rights of these families which have suffered and continue to suffer the loss of their children, brothers and sisters to this cult. Earlier this year the exodus of members to Guatemala began. Two families fled in defiance of a court order that they remain in the Chatham area. Two minors, at the time,  a 14 and a 16 year old girl were apprehended in Trinidad while en route to Guatemala, and returned to Canada. Once they were returned, they were ordered to be placed in foster care by Chatham-Kent Children’s Services (CKCS). Because suitable facilities were not available in or near Chatham, Toronto’s Jewish Family & Child Services (JF&CS) would oversee the day-to-day care of the two girls.

Since the cult first surfaced to attention, I have been involved “through thick and thin”. I hosted the grandmother and a family friend when they visited the girls in foster care. I negotiated visits with the girls for them, and arranged for them to spend the Sabbath together.

In Guatemala, the cult has already experienced expulsion from the town of San Juan de Laguna where they were accused of arrogance, intimidating local residents and other matters. Moving from a dirt floor house, they are now living in an abandoned office building in the country’s capital where they lack sanitary facilities, and all of the other necessities for a reasonable existence. It is no wonder that an outbreak of typhus has occurred. So much for their paradise!

Apparently, last weekend, the two remaining girls in foster care escaped from their foster home and took a taxi to the Toronto bus terminal, and then a bus to Niagara Falls where they met their father. Apparently Nachman Helbrans, a cult leader, and the girls’ father aided and possibly arranged their escape.

Joseph Solimani & Nachman Helbrans

Father of the Two Girls (left) with Lev Tahor Henchman, Nachman Helbrans (right)

According to media reports, they were stopped by U.S. authorities where they were placed in the care of Children’s Services of Niagara County, New York. Their case quickly came before the U.S. courts, but the children were both returned to the father who more than likely assisted them in evading Canada’s court and justice system. This was reported in the Montreal Gazette.

CKCS may be unjustly accused of allowing the girls to escape and evade the Ontario courts. Although they may be the responsible agency, it must be understood that JF&CS was involved in supervising the day-day-day and overall care being provided to the girls. These arrangements were made to ensure that the needs of the girls were met with respect to kosher food and to ensure their comfort from a orthodox perspective. Let’s face it, there are few if any Jewish families in Chatham where the girls could be placed, and kosher food is not readily, if at all available.

Therefore JF&CS were given the job and authority of responsibility to supervise the day-to-day foster care, safety and security of the two girls. In fact, it was JF&CS that arranged for foster care and placed them into the foster home.

Based on what has been written and reported in the media, there are many questions that have to be answered by JF&CS:

  1. How did the two girls manage to leave their foster home without being detected?
  2. Who had access to the foster home? When I went to pick up the grandmother who visited them for the Sabbath, I was subjected to a very thorough questioning by the security guard at the home.
  3. As they took a taxi to the bus terminal, and then a bus to Niagara Falls, who assisted them and how were they able to contact the girls?
  4. As the girls did not have any money, where did they get the money for the taxi and bus fare?
  5. Knowing that they were not allowed to go anywhere without a male escort, how did the two girls know to go to the bus station? Who assisted them to break the law?
  6. The foster home was located on an “out of the way street”. No taxi would venture on that street unless it was to pick-up or drop off a fare. Who arranged for the taxi?
  7. How did the girls get the money to take a taxi and bus?
  8. How did a foster family in Montreal know before anyone else that the girls had fled? Why did the foster family in Toronto allegedly contact the foster family in Montreal?

But the most important question of all was: did JF&CS did breach confidentiality? On a personal note, I know of two occasions in the past where the agency had breached confidentiality. If true why were these two foster homes allowed to have contact with each other?

As a representative of the grandmother, I immediately called JF&CS. The supervisor denied any knowledge of the incident nor any responsibility for what occurred even though they placed the girls in the foster home or were responsible for their supervision – a totally disturbing and reprehensible attitude on their part.

There are other issues that have to be considered. Why did Lev Tahor’s lawyer allow, and not counsel the father to refrain from aiding and abetting the escape of the girls from foster care against the court order that they remain in care? According to him, he only found out about the girls once they reached the border. But he should have counselled the father to return the girls to Canada.

The two girls were the last members of the cult to leave Canada. A week before the incident occurred, the Hayon family which were the sole remaining family in Chatham made arrangements to leave and return to Israel with their six children. According to the family, Nachman Helbrans, the son of the devious, deceptive and dangerous cult leader, Shlomo Helbrans paid them a visit and kidnapped two of the children – a girl aged 15 years, and a boy aged 18 years.

Once they returned to Israel, the remaining members of the family were honoured with a party. The following photograph shows the uncle of the two girls that escaped from the foster home with Esther Hayon and two of her children. It’s unfortunate that all 6 children could not be reunited in Israel, together.

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This is the kind of criminal behavour which is par for course for Lev Tahor.

Lev Tahor: All Is Not Right in Paradise


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Lev Tahor Members Loading on to a Bus Leaving San Juan de Laguna, Guatemala

It seems that there is trouble in paradise for Lev Tahor. After fleeing Quebec in the middle of the night last December for Chatham-Kent, and then defying a court order not to leave the Chatham area, the cult any way fled to the idyllic village of San Juan de Laguna, Guatemala where they sought refuge. The remaining few families left Chatham quietly for Guatemala over the last few weeks. From what I understand, 2 of the girls placed into foster care by the Ontario courts have now been abandoned by their parents.

They are now being “run out of town” lock, stock and Chumash. According to reports, village elders threatened to cut off water and electricity to the cult if they didn’t leave.

Some boarded buses during the last few days of August in search of a welcoming Guatemalan community which will allow them to build 30 homes. The rest will follow in the next few days.

Once again, the cult leadership, is conveniently playing the role of the poor victim. “I don’t understand why they don’t want us. We’re doing nothing bad here,” Uriel Goldman, a spokesperson for the community wrote in an e-mail, “They also warned us they would remove us from the village by force.”

One community resident was quoted saying that several members of the group had upset residents because of their arrogant attitude. He went on to say that several times members of the Lev Tahor community would go into stores and pay whatever they wanted for the products rather than the marked price. They also bothered tourists where on one occasion there was a tourist taking pictures of a hill and the Jews thought he was taking photos of them and they clashed.

After reading what residents have said, it is easy to come to a conclusion that it’s absolute poppy-cock!  Even if one of the members did say that there were people who liked them and cried when they left, where are his/her witnesses? Statements like this mean nothing without proof. So if any resident of San Juan de Laguna wants to come forward and say that he/she supports this cult, I welcome them to do so. But be prepared to provide your real name and proof that you are a resident.

What bothers me is that there are still Jews who continue to conveniently cry anti-Semitism instead of looking within themselves. Just listen to the following interview by Uriel Goldman where he accuses the Canadian courts of planning genocide against the cult.

Rabbi Shalom Pelman, who leads the Chabad Lubavitch congregation in Guatemala’s capital city, said it is the type of activity that brings to mind the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. He went on to say: “This is not typical in the world I live in. Even in Iran, Jews are not expelled.”

As a child of holocaust survivors, I feel that Rabbi Pelman is cheapening the holocaust when he equates the cult’s eviction with Nazi Germany. During the reign of Hitler, the Jews of many of the towns and villages lived if not in harmony, at least in co-existence with gentiles. It was only with the emergence with Nazism were Jews deported. By the way, at that time they were deported to concentration camps.

I wonder if Rabbi Pelman spoke to his colleague at Chabad in San Pedro, Guatemala which has served San Juan de Laguna since 2010. Is this Chabad House being forced to close down because of anti-Semitism and harassment from the local community?

Shame on you, Rabbi Pelman! Did you go to San Juan de Laguna and investigate? Did you speak with any of the locals?

The answer here lies in the arrogance of the cult according to locals, and their refusal to conform to societal norms. It was seen in Quebec where authorities determined that society’s minimal standards of education were not being met. The CBC showed how children could not add numbers.

There may even be a sense of entitlement by the cult and its leaders. What respectful individual would go into a store, and tell a store keeper how much he will pay for an item, when the price is posted? Central America is not eastern Europe where anti-Semitism has been entrenched for centuries upon centuries.

It’s a holier than thou art attitude that is practiced by Lev Tahor and other Hareidi sects. It’s one thing to practice your religion and culture freely. But it is another thing to practice your religion while invading the norms of general society and mocking society and everyone else’s beliefs.

As a Jew, Lev Tahor has little tolerance for me, and they have called me many names. I have news for them. At the end of the day I can go to sleep with a clear conscience knowing that I have tried to be respectful of others and their beliefs. However, I draw the line at others who commit child and spousal abuse. From what I have been told, and from what I have seen, Lev Tahor practices both types of abuse.

In the case of Lev Tahor, it’s called RESPECT. Without showing respect for others, and in the case of this cult, I doubt that they will be welcome anywhere.

Lev Tahor in Guatemala – A Story of Squalor, Mental Anquish and the Separation of Families


In the last 2 weeks there have been several significant developments concerning Lev Tahor.

As you know, members of Lev Tahor in defiance of a court order fled Canada to Guatemala. Two months ago, 12 members including 6 children were successful in reaching Guatemala, while 9 members, including 4 children, on route to this destination were apprehended in Trinidad, and returned to Canada at the request of the Canadian government. On return to Canada, these children were placed in foster care.

An infant child and her 17 year old mother were apprehended at Calgary International Airport. The child was released to her teenage mother last week. Now another four Lev Tahor children are being returned to their parents.

A ruling concerning the remaining two children will be made on May 29th.

Throughout this, Lev Tahor continues to maintain its innocence and deny the allegations of forced marriages of 14 year olds, beatings, children being forced to wear small shoes as a form of punishment, and other forms of abuse and neglect. Lev Tahor’s cries of its innocence continue even with the concerns expressed by the courts, and evidence, both proven and unproven, of their abusive behaviour toward their members and particularly, their children.

The cult is being controlled by their leader, self proclaimed Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans who entered Canada illegally, and has been found guilty of child abduction in the State of New York.

Throughout these difficult times, there has been one constant – the unwavering concern of Oded Twik and his diligence in trying to help his sister and her 8 children who are members and victims of Lev Tahor. His sister and her children are victims of the abuse, manipulation and the mind control of Shlomo Helbrans and his henchmen. Oded was interviewed several times in the print media and on television, including the CBC’s Fifth Estate.

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San Juan de Laguna, Guatemala

As was initially reported by Hannah Katsman in her blog, Oded spent the period from March 27, 2014, – April 30, 2014 in San Juan de Laguna, Guatemala on a fact finding journey first trying to locate his sister, and then trying to establish contact with her. He prepared a brief report describing his observations, findings and feelings, and trying to assess the situation of his sister and her family. His report is found by clicking the link at the end of this post.

Since the arrival of Oded’s sister and the other members, others have followed, leaving Chatham and arriving in Guatemala. They have included senior members of the cult, including Yoel Weingarten (who may have stood by while his father repeatedly sexually abused his sister), Uriel Goldman, Meir Rosner, and Helbrans’ son, Yoel.

From what I understand there are now upwards of 30 members who have left Canada, virtually unobstructed, for Guatemala. Most of these children are Canadian citizens.

Oded Twik goes on to describe his observations, and what he found.

According to his report, when he reached the sect, Raisa Rosner Goldman, a 15-year-old, was about to give birth. The baby was delivered without any professional assistance, while she lay on the dirt floor. A half an hour before Oded arrived, the members of Lev Tahor went to the tiny Chabad centre for tourists in order to request a basin to use during the birth. The center gave them the bowl used to make a Yemenite pastry served by the Chabad centre on the Sabbath.

Raisa Rosner Goldman is the daughter of Rosner and the daughter-in-law of Yoel Goldman, 2 leaders of the cult. Can you imagine 2 senior members allowing their daughter and daughter-in-law to deliver a baby on a dirt floor? I hope that those who have been critical of my portrayal of the behaviour of the leaders of this cult stop for a minute and think strongly about this! Would you allow your child to give birth in this environment?

Oded and Nephew

Oded Twik and Nephew in Guatemala

He then found his year old nephew dirty, hungry and covered with insect bites. There was little he could do; except cry. Oded continues to cry to this day.

The group slept on the bare ground. Only after he arrived, did the members acquire 15 dirty mattresses. The members were sent to Guatemala with little money, so they were forced to beg from tourists on the street. Just remember, Lev Tahor is a cult that has reportedly amassed millions of dollars.

Oded finally was able to meet with his sister. Initially she refused to meet with him, fearing for her brother’s safety. Only after Oded threatened to break into their home, did she agree to meet with him.

Oded found her to be confused, scared, weak and no doubt mentally fragile. It was difficult for her to talk. She appeared to be without any desire or will to live, and worried about the future. The cult was applying pressure on her, so she begged him to leave. He, in turn, begged her to leave with him, and all she could do was say the “situation is not simple!”

So there you have it, a heart wrenching story of mental anguish, abuse, the separation of families, the manipulation of the innocent, and the inability of its victims to escape the clutches of this cult.

To read Oded Twik’s observations of his trip to Guatemala, please click on the following link:  Statement by Oded Twik

Lev Tahor: A Perverse Form of Investigative Journalism


 

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Members of Lev Tahor

As part of their Passover edition, Ami Magazine published several articles about Lev Tahor. They were interviews with Ariel Goldman of Lev Tahor, Denis Baraby of Quebec’s Youth Protection Department, Lev Tahor’s immigration lawyer Guidy Mamaan, an article by physicist Bernard Fryshman, and an article about a visit to Lev Tahor by Yitzchok Frankfurter, the magazine’s editor.

Until now, I have never heard of Ami Magazine. Nevertheless, the article has stirred up a great deal of anger within certain segments of the Jewish community.ami magazxine

Ami Magazine has been described as an anti-Zionist propaganda publication geared to Hareidi Jewish anti-Zionists. If I was reading these articles as a passenger on an Air Canada flight, I would be trying to grab the “sick sac” which would normally be located in the rear pocket of the seat directly in front of me.

One word comes to mind when describing Yitzchok Frankfurter’s views on many issues concerning Judaism, and that word is: demented. When one tries to put forward the hypothesis that the greatest cause for the Holocaust was Zionism, what other conclusion could one have? Continue reading

An Empty Victory for Lev Tahor


The Orthodox sect Lev Tahor has successfully appealed a ruling that would have returned 14 children to be placed in foster care in Quebec.

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Members of Lev Tahor

It was a rare but empty victory for Lev Tahor, which many feel is a cult.

The cult left Quebec for Chatham, Ontario just before a sentence could be enforced by that province’s child welfare system that 14 children be placed into foster care. Once they got to Chatham, they again were required to face Ontario’s judicial system about these same allegations. This time, they attempted to outrun the courts by fleeing to Guatemala. Several of them never reached Guatemala but were returned to Canada from Trinidad.

There have been allegations by child welfare officials, which was reported by the media. Allegations included child abuse, beatings, children forcibly being removed from their parents and being placed with other parents as a form of punishment, underage marriages as young as 14 years, children sleeping in urine soaked beds, poor hygiene, low educational standards, running away from the law, and applying for refugee status in Guatemala and Trinidad. They left Canada to avoid prosecution, and to avoid facing charges, allegations and evidence of the abuse of children .

Some call the recent decision a “rare legal victory” as removing the children to Quebec “would be contrary to their best interests,” and would also “have disastrous emotional and psychological ramifications for them”. I agree that separating the children by moving them to Quebec would not be a good move for any of these children, and would certainly have psychological consequences for them.

The ruling is only an empty or hollow victory for the cult. I say this looking closely at the comments made by Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton in her 36 page decision which she released to the public. Her decision shows that Lev Tahor is not exonerated from the allegations facing them.

One has to realize, when legal appeals are made, the decision that is made and the scope of the issue considered are very narrow indeed. The Courts only look at whether or not the trial decision was correct in law. In this case, Justice Templeton only addressed the issue of whether or not the children should be returned to Quebec, and be placed in foster care in that province.

She was quite clear of that in her decision. She made her decision that would not require the children to return to Quebec based on the emotional and psychological damage that would be created. Her comments throughout the written decision makes it abundantly clear about the court’s concerns about the validity of these allegations of abuse, and the behaviour of the adults.

Justice Templeton’s decision contained a number of statements expressing concern about the circumstances of the children relative to the allegations of abuse. She explicitly points out that the children are at risk.

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Her decision best exemplifies the fact that the concerns and actions of the courts and child welfare authorities are not an issue of persecution, or the religious smear campaign that members of the cult and their outside supporters claim. It may not even be an issue of parents being unable to care for their children. The issue is that it is strongly felt that the children are at risk. It may not even be the fault of the parents. It must be remembered that Helbrans and his enforcers exhibit a great deal of influence on all members of the cult, and especially the parents of these and other children within that community.

The best summary of the concern of the Courts and Chatham-Kent Children’s Services is best found in Justice Templeton’s statement within her decision that:

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In other words, the government or state has an obligation and responsibility to protect children, and particularly these children. As such, Chatham-Kent Children’s Services can no longer investigate or act on the allegations put forward by Quebec’s child welfare agencies, but is obligated to undertake its own investigations and obtain its own evidence. They are also obligated to undertake new investigations and any actions that it may feel are appropriate to protect these children, most particularly from the cult’s leaders.

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In other words, they cannot outrun the Courts. Wherever they go, authorities will always be required to ensure that these children are not placed at risk. Chatham-Kent Children’s Services is required to act on behalf of government and the Courts to ensure that these children are not at risk.

Hopefully, they will not find any proof of the allegations before them. But based on what we’ve heard to date, I seriously doubt it.