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Quebec urging action from Ontario on Lev Tahor group that fled province


 

MONTREAL – Child-welfare authorities in Quebec have briefed their counterparts in Ontario on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect that fled to that province last week amid allegations of child neglect.

The child-welfare office that serves the region north of Montreal said it is offering its assistance but will wait to see how authorities in Chatham-Kent and Windsor proceed.

Authorities in Ontario say they are aware of the group’s presence in the region. The local police force in the Chatham-Kent area has given a similar statement.

Members of the Lev Tahor community of about 200 people — about half of them children— were under investigation by social services in Quebec for alleged child neglect and because the kids weren’t attending school.

The investigation began last winter and Quebec welfare authorities have described the situation for some children as “serious.”

They also allege the situation “establishes a presumption of neglect against children.” The Quebec authorities had been working with the group until Nov. 18, when some 40 families left their homes in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts.

“With the Lev Tahor community moving to Ontario, exchanges have continuously been made by the Quebec welfare office and aid workers in Ontario as well as police in that province,” the Quebec organization said in a statement.

The head of youth protection for Quebec’s Laurentians regions said there were concerns about the health and level of education of the children.

There were claims the homes were dirty and littered with garbage and that the children, who are home-schooled, were not capable of doing basic math. Many also spoke neither French nor English.

The Lev Tahor has denied the children are subject to neglect.

Nachman Helbrans, a spokesman for the organization, has said they want to educate their children according to their own religious beliefs and fled to Ontario to avoid Quebec’s education system, which “doesn’t give freedom of religion as most people understand it.”

Helbrans said the move had been in the works for some time.

In a radio interview with Radio-Canada on Tuesday, Quebec Education Minister Marie Malavoy called the situation “sensitive” and one that must be taken seriously.

The Education Department had negotiated with the community over the children’s schooling, largely religious teaching in an environment without proper permits.

Malavoy said the government offered compromises over the months but that the families chose to leave.

“Our biggest preoccupation is the plight of these children, the well-being of these kids who are caught up in a situation for which they are not responsible.”

One expert on sects called the situation complex.

”Part of it is a need to understand how to deal with these kinds of closed groups,” said Mike Kropveld, executive director of Montreal-based Info-Cult.

“Dealing with them and then deciding what to do is far more complex than people want to believe or understand.”

Kropveld says it is important to act without exacerbating the situation. For example, he said if the leader is perceived as the sole representative of God, that person’s power can be enhanced if the intervention of authorities is unsuccessful.

“You can make the group more closed and more extreme,” Kropveld warned.

The Lev Tahor, which means “pure heart,” came to Canada in 2005, after their spiritual leader, Rabbi Shlomo Elbarnes, was granted refugee status here.

Members of the anti-Zionist group, which opposes Israel and advocates Arab domination in the region, settled in a popular tourist destination in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal.

Elbarnes, who also goes by the last name Helbrans and is Nachman Helbrans’ father, made headlines in the United States in 1994 when he was convicted of kidnapping a teenaged boy. The boy was studying under him in Brooklyn.

After serving his sentence, Elbarnes was deported to Israel. He then entered Canada on a temporary visa.

A Federal Court ruling in 2005 upholding Elbarnes’ refugee status in Canada found he could not be considered safe in Israel, in part because his “religious belief and opinion are against the mere existence of Israel as an independent country.”

One Jewish rights organization called the group extreme and that no one in the Jewish community — be they traditional or ultra-orthodox — would view the organization in a positive light.

“This group exhibits cult-like behaviour and is nothing more than a perversion of Judaism,” Frank Dimant of B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement.

“We are very much worried about the well-being of the children and have advised the social service and police authorities to ensure that they are properly cared for.”


 
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Quebec urging action from Ontario on Lev Tahor group that fled province

  1. And what is Ontario supposed to do about it?

    • Invite them over for tea and scones what else?

      • LOL must be!

    • Pay them a visit – and they have. And will do it again.

      • No reason to.

        • Suspected child abuse and unsanitary living conditions are usually good reasons enough to pay sects a visit.

          • There is no suspected child abuse or unsanitary living conditions.

            There were Quebec ‘values’

          • There are suspected child abuse and unsanitary living conditions. It’s all over the papers. As is the fact that the leader of the sect was jailed for kidnapping a teenager before being deported from the US.
            Unless child abuse and submitting children to living in unsanitary living conditions is a typically English-Canadian value, is that your point?

          • Further, today a former member of the sect testified in court that the spiritual leader of the sect would force members to take “psychiatric medication” to stop them from criticizing the leader.

            There’s enough smoke here, and plenty of children, to proceed with caution and in the best interest of children.

          • We have no reason beyond ‘Quebec values’ to go after these people.

          • Testifying in court today…
            “Selon le directeur de la DPJ pour les Laurentides, Denis Baraby, certaines maisons de la communauté étaient insalubres et des déchets jonchaient le sol. “

          • Or are you implying that bringing up children in unhygienic condition is a Canadian value?

          • Who pissed in your corn flakes this morning?

          • Teaching literacy to children who are homeschooled is not an exclusive Quebec value. Homeschooling in Ontario must also meet certain criteria for numeracy and literacy:

            http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/131.html

            These children are not taught any language or math skills, according to testimony in court.
            People who put the safety of children behind their ideology always piss in my corn flakes, for sure.

          • Well fer shure the children are fine under the law as it stands. So go worry about Quebec and it’s ‘values’

          • Today in court a former member of the sect testified that he was ordered by the leader of the sect to beat up children with a metal coat hanger:

            http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/justice-et-affaires-criminelles/actualites-judiciaires/201311/27/01-4715192-lev-tahor-la-dpj-exige-des-familles-daccueil-pour-14-enfants.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=cyberpresse_BO2_quebec_canada_178_accueil_POS1
            That may be fine for your Canadian values, Emily One, and if so, I confess that I don’t share your Canadian values.

          • Well none of the kids are ‘beat up’ and they’re all here in SW Ont….so relax.

          • Relax to the point that the authorities should not pay them a visit, as you suggest? Do they need to find one dead before you start thinking that the Ontario authorities may one day keep an eye on these people?

          • Loraine, the authorities have already visited and cleared them.

            We have lots of these little groups.

          • I think they all moved onto an ice floe

          • And the authorities should continue to keep an eye on them. They have had recurrent problems with the authorities, in Canada and in the US, and they have no intention of changing their ways which include kidnapping of children from parents, severe corporal punishment and denying children the basic education in mathematics and literacy prescribed in Ontario and Quebec. We should not close our eyes in front of what is a clear danger to children. There has already been an unexplained death of a one-year old child in that sect.

          • They are no different than all the other sects this country has.

            What we need is less hype, and a change in the law.

          • In case you don’t read French, the same man told the court today that when his wife was pregnant he was told by the leader that the child would be removed from them and placed with other parents if they were to disobey the leader.
            I don’t live in Quebec. I live in Ontario and I am concerned with children living in sects that are controlled by convicted criminals.
            What do you need Emily to have an ounce of care for a child? Is it because these children are not yours that you think abusing them if OK and concurs with your Canadian values?

          • Yes, I read French…..now stop blaming some cult on me, and give your head a shake.

  2. They oppose the State of Israel because, according to Jewish law, only
    the returned Messiah can establish Israel. Therefore they view Zionism
    and Israel as illegitimate – there are numbers of other Jewish groups,
    religious and cultural, that agree. This is the real reason B’nai Brith
    opposes them. As for the label ‘Jewish Taliban’ – that is just fear
    mongering. They’re no more Taliban than your SW Ontario Hutterites. Fear
    of differences is not a new thing in this country – make sure the kids
    are alright then leave them alone.

    • Most sensible thing said yet….thank you.

  3. This Chasidic cult “ Lev Tahor” has nothing to do with Judaism.

    This so called “rabbi” Solomon Arez Hell-branz and son Nuchman may not even be Jewish. They are cult-leaders a fraud and always has been.

    Every Jewish organization on earth has been rebuking them even in public, as no different than the David Koresh cult in Waco, or the Jonestown cult. We should be keeping a spotlight on this fraudster as much as possible and call this what it is: A CULT.

    This cult “leader” and son Nuchman are VERY dangerous man who uses mind-control techniques to pray on the weak minded. Nuchman the son can not be trusted, he is a big lier with out a drop truth.

    Believe it or not, it is VERY easy to start a cult if you want to. All it takes is a few lost souls willing to have a boatload of children for you. ”

  4. This Chasidic cult “ Lev Tahor” has nothing to do with Judaism.

    This so called “rabbi” Solomon Arez Hell-branz and son Nuchman may not even be Jewish. They are cult-leaders a fraud and always has been.

    Every Jewish organization on earth has been rebuking them even in public, as no different than the David Koresh cult in Waco, or the Jonestown cult. We should be keeping a spotlight on this fraudster as much as possible and call this what it is: A CULT.

    This cult “leader” and son Nuchman are VERY dangerous man who uses mind-control techniques to pray on the weak minded. Nuchman the son can not be trusted, he is a big lier with out a drop truth.

    Believe it or not, it is VERY easy to start a cult if you want to. All it takes is a few lost souls willing to have a boatload of children for you. ”

  5. This Chasidic cult “ Lev Tahor” has nothing to do with Judaism. This group must be shut down!!!

    This so called “rabbi” Solomon Arez Hell-branz and son Nuchman may not even be Jewish. They are cult-leaders a fraud and always has been.

    Every Jewish organization on earth has been rebuking them even in public, as no different than the David Koresh cult in Waco, or the Jonestown cult. We should be keeping a spotlight on this fraudster as much as possible and call this what it is: A CULT.

    This cult “leader” and son Nuchman are VERY dangerous man who uses mind-control techniques to pray on the weak minded. Nuchman the son can not be trusted, he is a big lier with out a drop truth.

    Believe it or not, it is VERY easy to start a cult if you want to. All it takes is a few lost souls willing to have a boatload of children for you. ”

  6. This Evil Cult leader: Mobster: Kidnapper: Solomon Arez Helbrans and his son Nachman are accused of hitting children with tire irons, forcing loving couples to divorce, forcing little girls at the age of 12 into marriage with old men 40-50 year old, forcing children to wear small shoes, forcing people to get “nude” so he can give them 39 lashes, placing people in solitary confinement for six month, denying people of nutritious food, issuing monetary fines, placing little children and babies with strange families against the wishes of parents, forcing people to take psychiatric pills without being diagnosed by doctors,he does not allow them to have a job, he forces them to go begging for money for him self for the mobster. what an evil, dirty, disgusting, way of life .

    Before it’s to late, Please help Save all of these children from these evil monsters! Throw the cult leaders into a high security jail and sentence them to 50 years hard labor! Remember the Charles Manson cult?? etc.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Google for: the rest of the story on: Lev (lo) Tahor

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