רעסטאראנט האט געשריבן:ריעל עסטעיט
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סארי פארן נישט זיין קלאר "איך דארף די ריקארדינג פון די דיספעטשער" (אויך ווייס אז ס'איז דא)
הערשקא האט געשריבן:הלכה למעשה פארגעלערנט דורכ'ן דיין הרה''ג ר' דוד יצחק ווערצבערגער שליט''א
פארגעלערנט א יעדן טאג בקיצור הלכות בערך 10 מינוט.
shimon7323 האט געשריבן:It is unreal how well over 1700 people Thank Hashem for the amazing miracles they see when they say the 3 magic words. *THANK YOU HASHEM*. You can also be part of this great amazing group and be inspired. Click here to join. https://chat.whatsapp.com/8hYXMrLHp4K3MAGpXVAfBZ
Of course האט געשריבן:shimon7323 האט געשריבן:It is unreal how well over 1700 people Thank Hashem for the amazing miracles they see when they say the 3 magic words. *THANK YOU HASHEM*. You can also be part of this great amazing group and be inspired. Click here to join. https://chat.whatsapp.com/8hYXMrLHp4K3MAGpXVAfBZ
we need already a new one....
the group is already full...
פאראויס האט געשריבן:
געפירט דורך אידן פון וולמס"ב?
(איך ווייס אז די ציונים ארבעטן שווער. אבער זיי מיינען נישט כבוד שמים. ועוד, מיר אנ"ש קענען מער אויפטוען.
פאראויס האט געשריבן:
געפירט דורך אידן פון וולמס"ב?
(איך ווייס אז די ציונים ארבעטן שווער. אבער זיי מיינען נישט כבוד שמים. ועוד, מיר אנ"ש קענען מער אויפטוען.
The information contained in this 11-chapter piece of investigative journalism was collected through one on one interviews with people in Canada and Guatemala, exclusive to Bill613. Please read to the end, and consider supporting the efforts of those trying to rescue children from Lev Tahor.
Two days before Yom Kippur, Isaac Weiss received a phone call from a contact at child protective services. "I have a holiday gift for you," the contact said. "A 12-year-old girl thrown out of Lev Tahor for unknown reasons."
By the time the dust cleared, Isaac, Director of Shomrim of Kiryas Tosh and Hatzoloh volunteer who works as a liaison between Quebec's Child Protective Services, Boisbriand Police and the Chassidic community in Tosh, was a foster parent trying to convince the girl to eat some protein before the fast.
Let's back up a little.
1. A short history of Lev Tahor
Lev Tahor was formed by Shlomo Helbrans, who advocated a strict version of Halacha that includes women and girls wearing black head-to-toe coverings day and night, arranged marriages between teenagers, and a violent form of Malkos.
Over time, allegations of physical and emotional abuse surfaced from those who escaped or were thrown out, and Montreal's Chassidic community has absorbed many former members, including numerous children who had been abused.
In 2013, with Quebec's Child Protection Services breathing down their back, Lev Tahor fled their homes in Ste-Agathe and bused to Chatham, Ontario. One year later the group relocated to rural Guatemala.
Former members of Lev Tahor do not recall learning Mishnah or Gemara, nor any Mitzvos Bein Adam LeChaveiro. They spend the majority of the day in deep prayer and are only allowed to study certain sections of the Chumash, with Lev Tahor commentary.
2. A Yom Kippur gift
By day Isaac Weiss works as a hypnotherapist. During the evenings, he is involved in community affairs. He deals with the majority of Kiryas Tosh communications, particularly with the local authorities in Boisbriand, Quebec where the Chassidic community is located.
Erev Yom Kippur is a busy day for Chassidim. There are festive meals to prepare, certain traditions to follow, numerous dips in the Mikvah, and the longest Mincha of the year. The call came in preparation for the busiest day of the year, Monday night before Erev Yom Kippur.
The contact from Quebec Youth Protection Services told Isaac that the girl had been sent away from Lev Tahor in Guatemala, arriving in Toronto on Sunday morning together with her uncle who was immediately deported to the United States. The two had a letter signed by the girl's mother and a Lev Tahor leader named Yankel Nuchem Weingarten. It stated that the 12-year-old is old enough to make her own decisions and has an open case with Quebec's Youth Protection Services.
Toronto Airport handed the girl to Child Protective Services in Toronto who kept her overnight in foster care at a non-Jewish home. By Monday afternoon, they finally reached Quebec's Youth Protection Services and were looking to find her a Yiddish-speaking home where the girl would feel more comfortable.
3. Long distance control
Isaac and his wife agreed to serve as her foster parents. She arrived in a full burka and layers of heavy clothing. Lev Tahor only permits certain fruits and vegetables to be eaten, as well as whole wheat flour made into bread with a stone press. Proteins are not part of their diet.
The girl refused to eat from Isaac's house. After much discussion, the girl finally agreed to have a little vegetable salad on dishes and utensils that were kashered in front of her before the Yom Kippur fast.
Every night, the girl tried calling her mother, who only picked up the phone once to tell her to call the "Hanhalah" (the group in charge of Lev Tahor since Shlomo Helbrans' suspicious drowning in a Guatemalan river. They include current Rebbe Nachman Helbrans, Mayer Rosner, Yoel Weingarten, and Yankel Nuchem Weingarten).
After Yom Kippur, the girl tried calling members of the Hanahalah. It took numerous phone calls to speak with the right person, Yoel Weingarten. He forbid her from speaking to her mother. Isaac then took the phone and asked him to at least allow her to follow the local Tosh Rabbonim with regards to what she may eat but they refused. Montreal's Skver Dayan Rabbi Yochanan Wosner also reached out to ask them to authorize the girl to listen to local Dayanim but they again refused.
Following several weeks of back and forth, the Hanhalah informed the girl that she would never be allowed to return to Lev Tahor, nor would she be allowed to speak to her mother. At the same time, a new development took place.
4. A Gezeirah against music
Over a million people live in Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala located near the active Pacaya volcano. Among them are a group of about 20 Jewish Gerim who converted through Lev Tahor several years ago but were later thrown out of the community for various minor infractions such as eating chips from a Heimishe brand.
A couple months ago, Lev Tahor Hanhalah issued a new edict forbidding music. A 17-year-old boy was allegedly caught listening to Chassidishe songs with headphones and banished from the cult. He made his way to the community of converts (the "Guatemala City community") who hosted him and got in touch with Rabbi Akiva Klein.
Rabbi Klein is a scribe in Kiryas Tosh who for years has been bringing Lev Tahor Mezuzahs and Tefillin, and checking their holy items for free. He has also been providing Lev Tahor with food, clothing, and financial support. When he heard about the incident, he immediately booked a flight to Guatemala and got in touch with Isaac Weiss. Together, they informed Youth Protection Services and the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala.
Then a 15-year-old in great stress contacted the Guatemala City community.
5. Stuck in a Guatemalan hotel
On Erev Yom Kippur, Lev Tahor expelled a 15-year-old boy for refusing to accept a Shidduch with a 12-year-old girl. The only problem was, he had no idea he had been expelled.
According to the boy, his mother and Lev Tahor members drove him to Guatemala City on the pretext of getting a passport. His mother dropped him at a hotel promising to pick him up in the morning. Next day, no one came to get him. Stranded and in a panic, he called his mother but no one answered. He tried reaching other members of Lev Tahor but his calls were ignored. As a last resort, he turned to the Guatemala City community, and they took him in.
Rabbi Klein heard about his plight and decided to foster both boys in Kiryas Tosh. He worked with both the Canadian Embassy and Youth Protection to get the papers in order and set a date to pick them up.
A week after Sukkos, Rabbi Klein arrived in Guatemala City ready to bring his new foster children home but a new development occurred.
6. A year of excommunication
Aron Arye Teller is married to the sister of the current Lev Tahor leader, Nachman Helbrans. Rebbetzin Teller has 6 children: 4 girls and 2 boys. Her oldest daughter is 13, and was forced to marry a 17-year-old boy, the son of Mayer Rosner. They reportedly now have a baby.
Rebbetzin Teller didn't agree with the marriage and was placed in Cherem for a year. Lev Tahor Hanhalah took away some of her children and distributed them to other families, and all members of Lev Tahor were forbidden from communicating with her. She was also forced to work as a cleaning lady in Mayer Rosner's home. Her only friends were fellow cleaning women and old friends from the community of converts.
On Thursday Parshas Noach, she contacted a friend in the Guatemala City community asking for help. The friend immediately traveled hours to see her, and detailed what had transpired with those who had been expelled from Lev Tahor, noting that Rabbi Klein would be serving as a foster parent for the two boys who had been banished.
Rebbetzin Teller decided to travel to Guatemala City to speak with Rabbi Klein. She took two of her children and set out for the long trip back. After speaking to Rabbi Klein, she decided to stay in Guatemala City.
However, on Motzei Shabbos she had a change of heart, wanting to return and rescue her remaining children.
7. Rescue operation
Rabbi Klein contacted several leading Rabbinic authorities, including Rabbi Yochanan Wosner, who advised Rebbetzin Teller to avoid returning to Lev Tahor.
She was still under stress, until someone proposed they contact the police and take a group of men from the community of converts to rescue the other children.
That night, around 11:00 PM, two vehicles set out for the 4 hour trip. It was in middle of the hurricane season and the roads were murky. No police were among the group of rescuers. Arriving in the early morning, Rebbetzin Teller immediately took one of her children. As she approached the other children, Lev Tahor members rushed over and began physically assaulting the men protecting Rebbetzin Teller.
Soon, more members arrived with knives to attack the unarmed rescuers. Rebbetzin Teller and the men from the Guatemala City community raced to their vehicles. As they made away with Rebbetzin Teller and one of her daughters, members of Lev Tahor threw stones at the car, smashing windows and mirrors.
8. A gun appears
A security guard from the area pulled out a gun and started shooting at the vehicles. A bullet grazed the leg of a rescuer but they managed to drive off, moving at top speed to Guatemala City. Both vehicles were badly damaged and several cell phones, which had been used to grab photos and video, were lost in the operation.
Following the rescue mission, police were called but they responded that domestic problems would have to be settled in court. Then Aron Arye Teller started calling his wife, begging her to return. It appeared the ban on speaking to her had suddenly been lifted.
As of this writing, Rebbetzin Teller remains in turmoil and hopes her remaining three children can be rescued.
Meanwhile, the two boys who are safe with Rabbi Klein in Kiryas Tosh opened up about their experiences and horrific stories began to emerge.
9. Imprisonment and beatings
According to the boys, one of the Weingartens was once leading a four-hour prayer service when a 14-year-old boy giggled. After a severe beating, they threw him in an old, broken commercial freezer. The imprisonment in the confined space with no change of clothing or bathroom lasted three months. Yoel Weingarten reportedly told a group of boys that "he was a sinner and if he dies then that's what he deserves."
When the boy was released, Yoel allegedly took a wooden chair and broke it over his head. He collapsed in pain. "Now you've done your Teshuvah," he reportedly announced.
The boys spoke of the squalid conditions in the Lev Tahor grounds. Until recently the only area for bathroom use was the local river, which was also used as a Mikvah and had separate bathroom times for men and women. Members live under the hot Guatemalan sun in metal containers and tarp-covered tents. The only ones living in luxury are the Hanhala, who have air conditioning and other comforts.
They related that a young man under 40 years of age recently contracted a minor infection. Hanhalah refused to pay for treatment and sent him to a local hospital. He left in a body bag, leaving numerous children behind.
They also described the system for Malkos (lashes), dished out to adults and children alike. Malkos is a big event. A day before the ceremony, posters are placed announcing that at this and this time this person will be publicly flogged. Lev Tahor members are required to attend. Victims are then reportedly stripped to their underwear and whipped in front of men, women and children. One boy recalled that he couldn't sit for three days after receiving Malkos from the swelling.
This description of Malkos was corroborated by a public Facebook post written by Rafi King (Refoel Koenig), who had received this punishment, and managed to escape the cult several years ago. In several voice notes that will be made public, Rafi relates his experiences and the terrible abuse he witnessed and suffered under the hands of Mayer Rosner.
10. On a personal note
I write this openly with my name attached. I have no connection with Lev Tahor. I'm a Chabad Chossid living in Montreal. In 2010, following an antisemitic incident that happened to a friend and wasn't recorded in the media, I recognized a lack of news coverage for Montreal's Frum communities and opened a blog which eventually got me a job as Editor-in-Chief of a biweekly Yiddish-English community newspaper. I still manage bill613.com on Facebook, as a Montreal Jewish community news blog.
It was during that time that I found out about Lev Tahor. Members of the cult who had escaped spoke of the beatings that took place, and a family in Outremont took in five children, some of who had been physically abused during their time in Lev Tahor.
I spoke to numerous people trying to help those fleeing the cult and reported on a fundraiser in Outremont that saw 400 Chassidim gather to show support physically and financially to an ex-Lev Tahor member and help him integrate. At that event, he described a beating he received that broke both his legs and shocked doctors at the Montreal hospital.
Isaac Weiss and Rabbi Klein don't have a reason to be involved either. Isaac is a community Askan who works tirelessly to improve conditions in Kiryas Tosh, and Rabbi Klein is a Sofer.
11. What you can do
The intention of this article is not to share Lashon Hara Ch"v. Our goal is to spread awareness about what's currently going on and inform people to stop funding Lev Tahor. Rather than supporting the leaders of Lev Tahor with your money and allowing the abuse to continue, please give their Meshulachim food to eat when they knock at your door and nothing more.
The situation keeps getting more dire. If you have contacts in the Guatemalan government, press them to look into the abuse. Regardless, reach out to your local government officials and ask them to get involved. And share this story so others are aware.
Financial support will also go a long way. The Guatemala City community has lost two vehicles, are hosting numerous members who fled Lev Tahor (with more coming in each day), and have some hospital bills to pay from injuries incurred during their rescue operation.
As people leave the cult, funding will be required to help them get on their feet and live normal lives. Most of them will need therapy, and help integrating back into society. You can make a donation through
By Zvi Hershcovich
באנוצערס וואס דרייען זיך דא: נישטא קיין איינגעשריבענע באנוצערס און 11 געסט