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.

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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 – Proof of Their Lies, Deceit and Treachery


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Photo Taken by Oded Twik

In my last post, I wrote about Oded Twik, and his trip to Guatemala, to find his sister and hopefully convince her to leave the cult.

In reading Oded’s report, the first thing that one realizes is that the move to Guatemala may have been planned for some time. Apparently, Helbrans was able to establish a foothold in Guatemala from what I was told. It was through a religious intermediary living in Monsey, New York.

Helbrans was able to gain the confidence of a Guatemalan Mayan, who was being taken through the process of conversion by Helbrans himself. He, in turn, was able to gain the confidence of other Mayan families. This Mayan has since become a caretaker of the original 9 members of Lev Tahor who fled Chatham, Ontario, and reached Guatemala.

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San Juan de Laguna (Photo Taken by Oded Twik)

Over the past few days, the media has reported that the original 9 members have been joined by up to another 50 members from Chatham and elsewhere. Included are the senior members of the cult: Avraham Dinkel, Yosef Bibi, Abraham Kashani, Yoel Helbrans, Yosef and Sima Sulemani and their six younger children, Uriel Goldman, Meir Rosner, Michael Goldman, Yochanan Laver and Yoel Weingarten. As the days go on, the trickle of members of the cult leaving Canada for Guatemala may become a flood.

I happen to believe Oded and what he saw.

The reason for this is because his mother, the grandmother of two of the children placed in foster homes, along with a close family friend were guests in my home for 10 days, around the time of the festival of Purim. These two grandchildren were apprehended in Trinidad, and then returned to Toronto to be placed in foster homes.

I heard the stories by the grandmother, about how she was treated by the cult when she visited her daughter in the past. I also heard of how her daughter’s children were forcibly taken away from her by the cult for months at a time because they felt that she was unholy and unfit. I heard the story that when she was talking to her daughter on the telephone, she would say my children are passing my house, I wish that I could speak to them. Imagine not being able to speak to your children for months at a time. If this isn’t sadistic cruelty, I don’t know what is. Continue reading

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?

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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

Immigration Puts a Dent in Lev Tahor


Canada’s Immigration agency has shown that members of Lev Tahor cannot be trusted.

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Members of Lev Tahor

Until now, we have all been bombarded by Lev Tahor’s cries of their innocence. The supposed denial of their human rights, the claim that there has been no proof of allegations of abuse by them against children, persecution supposedly because they choose to worship their faith in a manner that is stricter than any other sect of Judaism, and the so-called anti-Semitic war that is being waged against them, are just some of their cries.

For a while, I’ve argued that many of them are in Canada illegally.

Now I have proven to be correct. Earlier this week, the Canada Border Security Agency (CBSA), accompanied by officials of the Chatham-Kent Police Service, and Chatham-Kent Children’s Service visited their compound in Chatham and took several of their members into custody. In all, the CBSA arrested and detained 7 members who are known to have 28 children in all.

Uriel Goldman, a board member and community elder of Lev Tahor, or as I refer to him, one of Shlomo Helbran’s 3 stooges, reacted with indignation to the arrests. He went on to say:

… the action makes it appear the group was targeted for harassment. Why raid our community? There is no evidence of abuse. It’s discrimination, it does not smell good. Men and women are panicking. It has been hard on the children, after all these visits from social workers … There are 200,000 illegal immigrants in Toronto and they have no problem at all. But we are the target. Why? You decide.

Let’s help Goldman out on this one.

Uriel Goldman

Uriel Goldman

Here you have a group of people that came to Canada because they thought it was the promised land. There are allegations of child abuse, abuse of women, children were not meeting the minimum educational standards, they were not being taught either one of the official languages, authorities found that children were sleeping on urine soaked mattresses, and girls as young as 14 years of age were being forced to marry, much older men. By the way the legal age of marriage in Canada is 16 years of age.

After committing these acts, they evaded authorities. First they flee to Ontario to avoid answering these allegations, and then they flee to Guatemala for the same reason.

If they aren’t guilty, then why did they flee? They would have been given every opportunity to prove their innocence in the courts.

In the words of Uriel Goldman: You decide.

Now with the involvement of the CBSA, and after an immigration hearing that took place on Friday, two men and woman — all Israeli citizens– were ordered to remain in custody after the Immigration and Refugee Board found they weren’t likely to leave Canada voluntarily if released. Goldman remained indignant saying that they were in the process of arranging a meeting with immigration officials within the next few days, and that the CBSA acted irresponsibly and in haste.

It was found that 3 of these people, all Israeli citizens: Avraham Kabaz Kashani, 39, Odel Malka, 30, and Yochanan Lauer, 19, had each flouted immigration rules multiple times and were without permanent legal status in Canada.

Kashani first came to Canada on a temporary resident visa in 2000, made multiple but failed attempts to gain legal status and once his avenues for appeal were exhausted, was ordered out of the country in 2007. He did not leave voluntarily, nor did he directly contact authorities about his situation before he was arrested this week. More than likely, if anything, it was immigration’s incompetence that allowed him to go underground and overstay in Canada. So, 9 years of tolerating his presence in Canada, is not exactly acting in a hasty manner.

Apparently, Kashani did not leave in 2007 because his wife was expecting to give birth. To how many others has his wife given birth since that time? As soon as his wife had given birth, and both mother and child were able to travel, they could have returned to Israel. If his wife was a bonifide Canadian resident, did they ever consider a legal sponsorship of Kashani to Canada?

Based on their past behaviour can one trust him? He has been ordered into custody until he is deported back to Israel. Hopefully, that will take place sometime later this week.

Odel Malka was ordered to leave in 2002, but only left in 2012. She then returned using a fake passport. The third person has one more avenue of appeal left.

Not one of the sect members, so much as made reference to the separation of these people from their children. When the CBSA came, they were accompanied by officials of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services who also took the children into temporary custody. Shortly afterward, the children were either returned to Lev Tahor, or were re-united with their parents. This shoots down the arguments being put forward by those who are always at odds with Children’s Aid Societies that CAS’s are “hell bent” on taking children away from their parents and their communities.

The overall message is that Lev Tahor cannot be trusted. They’ve run twice to escape the courts. Members have come to Canada and have remained here illegally. This just shows that they cannot be trusted. In saying this, they can’t be trusted when they claim that there is no child abuse, or any of the other allegations.

CBC’s The 5th Estate – Shlomo Helbrans, “The Don” of Lev Tahor


The 5th Estate, CBC’s award winning news program has now aired an hour long segment on Lev Tahor. After watching this program, one can only come to the conclusion that Lev Tahor, meaning “pure heart”, might more accurately be called “impure heart”. As well as discussing the allegations of physical abuse, forced confinement, separating children from their parents, brainwashing, beatings, illegal marriages and mind control, they have gone further than anyone else, by calling into question, the supposed lies and deceitful manner in which Helbrans gained admission to Canada as a refugee. Continue reading

Being Played by Lev Tahor on the Global Television Network


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Members of Lev Tahor

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.

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Rabbi Reuben Poupko

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.

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Shlomo Helbrans

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.

wantedHelbrans 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.