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Documentary on Lev Tahor (Jewish Taliban)


mystikchick17

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I've only seen the first part, and to my annoyance have forgotten what the featured survivors are called. So, please forgive me for calling them A and B. (It was late.)

In any case: Part one mostly set up background, while trying to tell the story of A's attempted reunion with the mother that threw him out at 14 years of age, when he couldn't live up to Lev Tahor Rules, in Canada. It starts out with a very, very brief overview concerning Lev Tahor, and a statement that the progamme aims to combat ignorance about the harmful practices that Lev Tahor propagates. Then, it begins telling the story of A. Brief summary: His mother, after an ugly divorce, took him - the eldest- two younger brothers and a younger sister to Canada, to Ste Agathe in Québéc- to meet and get married to a Lev Tahor believer with 14 children. In the course of the documentary he describes the restrictive lifestyle his mother was asked to live further. For example, she wasn't allowed to directly address her new husband. And she had to beat her daughter for not wanting to wear the Lev Tahor's proscribed attire for women.

A and B, apparently were good friends, so in other segments they take turns describing the level of child abuse that went on, and how they tried to escape. Forcible separation of families, beatings for small transgressions, getting stripped naked and whippings etc. In the course of the documentary, you see A trying to return to Ste Agathe to confront his mother and the chief rabbi- Helbrans, the one who was charged with kidnapping a 13 year old boy from the US. The documentary explains Helbrans' story, and besides criminal, he's a colourful character.

A initially doesn't succeed with meeting his mother, and only meets resistance from those he does meet. A and B sound very convincing, while the Lev Tahor statement read at the end refutes every accusation. Apparently, the mother meets up with A in the second segment.

Sorry, that's as far as I got. :embarrassed:

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I saw this, and I have a question for FJers who live in Canada or who are more knowledgable about homeschool law. How was any of this legal? I mean the extreme isolation, child marriages, drugging people up, etc. I can see this happening in the US because of our belief that religious groups, no matter how nutty, should be able to isolate and abuse their members, but I didn't think that this case the case in Canada, or at least to the same degree.

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In the second part, one of the young men, Areyeh, goes back to Canada to see his mother and younger brothers. It does not go well. The mother essentially rejects him. She said as long as he was not observant in the Lev Tahoe way, he was evil. At this Areyeh utters what I think are the two most poignant lines in the documentary, addressing them to his mother:

"Am I not a son?"

"Am I not a person?"

His mother does not answer. He does not reconise his younger brother at first. Who is 18 and already married and the father of 2. His father.in-law is the leader of Lev Tahor. The brother seems genuinely moved to see Areyeh again. But latter cuts off contact. He has obviously been reported.

It ends with Areyeh going back to Israel, having to accept this was probably the last contact he would have with his birth family. He refers to it as "closing the circle". He agrees to do the film in order to warn people about how destructive Lev Tahor is.

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I saw this, and I have a question for FJers who live in Canada or who are more knowledgable about homeschool law. How was any of this legal? I mean the extreme isolation, child marriages, drugging people up, etc. I can see this happening in the US because of our belief that religious groups, no matter how nutty, should be able to isolate and abuse their members, but I didn't think that this case the case in Canada, or at least to the same degree.

Who said it was legal? When the group was in Ste. Agathe, officials got involved and started child welfare proceedings. The group then fled to Ontario, but officials here have now gotten involved and have removed a couple of kids.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e15985904/

I also have no idea why the group would have chosen Chatham. Ste. Agathe is only about an hour from Montreal, and there are other Orthodox Jewish communities in the area (esp. in the summer). I wonder if they were getting flack from those other groups, because Chatham is nowhere near any Orthodox Jewish community.

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Could be entirely random - the first person wanted to live apart from the other communities for whatever reason (this group is very much not remotely mainstream even compared to the most chareidi of charedi) and happened to hit this community, at that point other people all go the same place because "well, I know a guy" or "my cousin knows a guy" "someone can help you get settled" type thing.

I know in my town we have certain nationalities of people living in certain neighborhoods that way or certain apartment complexes and it's just all about what place the first expat from that country happened to find an apartment, and others joined.

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  • 1 month later...
I saw this, and I have a question for FJers who live in Canada or who are more knowledgable about homeschool law. How was any of this legal? I mean the extreme isolation, child marriages, drugging people up, etc. I can see this happening in the US because of our belief that religious groups, no matter how nutty, should be able to isolate and abuse their members, but I didn't think that this case the case in Canada, or at least to the same degree.

This would be like asking how the FLDS under Warren Jeffs was legal in the US. It wasn't. They were flying under the radar and when all of the allegations and accusations came out, the authorities acted accordingly. The group then fled to Ontario from Quebec and so the case came under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and local police forces. When they were getting close to arresting them again, the group fled to the Caribbean.

Serious crimes happen everywhere, Canada did not let them just go willy nilly, it wasn't known what was going on because they were so isolated.

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Most recently, ontario upheld the children's aid removal order of 14 children from quebec and they were ordered not to leave the area. 9 people including 6 children were apprehended in Trinidad and they went to the houses in chatham to look for the other 8 children. They are all gone and at least 12 are known to have left the country. The other two were still unknown last i heard.

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e17347214/

I'm not sure what the Ontario family court judge was thinking when he ordered the children to be returned to Quebec, but gave them 30 days. This is a group that had already fled to get away from child protection officials - they were clearly a flight risk. Is anyone surprised that they tried to flee again?

Trinidad and Guatemala are part of the Hague Convention, so they should make sure that the children are returned. No second chances - they need to go straight into foster care, the adults involved need to be arrested and they need to do something about the rest of the children. I'm getting really scared about the situation - these folks are not thinking rationally, they've got a persecution complex, and their leader Helbrans is a lunatic with a criminal record in New York for kidnapping. If officials in Chatham don't do a better job of managing the situation, I'm afraid of another Jonestown.

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/late-airport-arrival-costly-for-lev-tahor-members-trying-to-flee-canada/article17347214/

I'm not sure what the Ontario family court judge was thinking when he ordered the children to be returned to Quebec, but gave them 30 days.

They had to order them returned to Quebec due to the nature of provincial and federal laws. Quebec is where the alleged abuse took place and where the initial investigation happened, as such, the children fall under Quebec's jurisdiction.

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They had to order them returned to Quebec due to the nature of provincial and federal laws. Quebec is where the alleged abuse took place and where the initial investigation happened, as such, the children fall under Quebec's jurisdiction.

I'm pretty sure what 2xx1xy1JD is referring to is the ridiculous 30-day grace period for the return in light of the group's history of taking off when they feel threatened.

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Yes i dont understand why they didnt take the kids right away, given they already fled once.

Ah, right, sorry for my misunderstanding!

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I'm pretty sure what 2xx1xy1JD is referring to is the ridiculous 30-day grace period for the return in light of the group's history of taking off when they feel threatened.

Exactly. It was like telling them "you have 30 days to flee the jurisdiction". They already did it once, and the leader has a history of fleeing places (got deported to Israel from New York after a kidnapping conviction, then left for Canada 6 weeks later and claimed refugee status). I really hope the federal government here can overturn his refugee status, because it's totally bogus.

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Update on those still in Guatemala:

http://www.theobserver.ca/2014/03/15/je ... -guatemala

Filing for refugee status there? Give me a break.

Let's recap, shall we?

The leader is originally from Israel. He moved to New York. He was deported back to Israel after being convicted of kidnapping. 6 weeks later, he came to Canada and claimed refugee status. While I'm not a fan of the Quebec government in general, he CHOSE Quebec deliberately because it offered the best chance of granting his bogus refugee claim. Then, when Quebec official investigate child abuse claims and want to remove children, they flee in the middle of the night to Ontario. Ontario said they should go back to Quebec, so they flee Ontario.

Enforcing the law is not persecution, and fleeing from the law does not make you a refugee.

This has nothing to do with genuine religious persecution. They have ZERO support from the Jewish community. No, this isn't some Zionist plot - Satmar Hasidim, who are anti-Zionist, manage to live in Quebec without having Quebec officials take their children away.

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  • 1 month later...

I watched the video clip in the last comment. It's incredibly disturbing, and The Fifth Estate is a reliable source. Quebec child protection officials are saying that the kids were living in crowded rooms with urine-soaked mattresses, and there is confirmation that the kids are being drugged with melatonin to make them sleep more.

I know that the Chatham-Kent children's aid is a relatively small agency, without the resources that the Toronto Children's Aid would have, but the lack of follow-up and the crazy court order that allowed the group 30 days to flee the jurisdiction are appalling.

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I saw this, and I have a question for FJers who live in Canada or who are more knowledgable about homeschool law. How was any of this legal? I mean the extreme isolation, child marriages, drugging people up, etc. I can see this happening in the US because of our belief that religious groups, no matter how nutty, should be able to isolate and abuse their members, but I didn't think that this case the case in Canada, or at least to the same degree.

It's not legal, but then again, a lot of people are doing illegal stuff. ;) Actually, homeschooling laws are different depending on the province. In Quebec, the government actually has a program for home schoolers to follow. I know: my cousin home schooled her kid, and so did my music teacher. ;) You need to follow a certain curriculum, the person in charge of the teaching must have a college degree (not in teaching necessarily), kids have exam to do at the end of the semesters and parents must send reports regularly to the education ministry to talk about the kids progress. Parents also have to prove the kids are doing physical activity and a ''socializing'' activity outside the home. Let's just say the Duggars would have a very hard time home schooling if they lived here. I bet Lev Tahor didn't fill much of these requirements either.

This has been in the news for a while so I know a bit about the situation. Officially, the child care services investigated the group because of child abuse. It has nothing to do with religion. So I really don't see this as religious persecution. Apart from child abuse that was mentioned (bad living conditions, unsanitary, etc. ), the sect is also suspected of marrying girls at a very young age, way below Quebec's official age of consent.

I've heard a lot of columnists, people on radio show, etc. saying it would too much of a shock for the kids to be taken away and go out in the world, especially after living in a sect. But they child care services aren't idiots either. Hasidim families living in Montreal had actually volunteered to take the kids in to make sure they would still be in a familiar environment. If only this plan had been put into action. The latest news I gathered was that the court in Chatham ordered some children to be returned to their parents. Now the children are going back and forth and I feel it's bad for their emotional health.

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  • 1 month later...

Rumors have it that more families, including Hellbrans, are migrating to Guatemala. The article seems a bit hyperbolic to me, but the locals seem at least befuddled by their presence.

I wonder why they chose Guatemala. There's another extreme group (Toiras Jesed/Torat Chesed) there, but no real Jewish community. I can't fathom how they'll support themselves; are they assuming donations will totally fund the lower cost of living?

The children are going to be so much more isolated now, and it's going to be so much harder for any of these poor cult members to leave as they're so remote from a support network and don't speak the local languages.

http://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.h ... and-quebec

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