FBI Arrests Brother of Top Lev Tahor Cult Leader in Williamsburg

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Authorities have arrested another main figure in the Lev Tahor Cult, this time in Brooklyn, New York.

Aron Yeshaya Rosner was taken into custody by FBI and NY State Police on Motzei Shabbos at around 1:00AM, in front of the “Frankel Simcha Hall” in Williamsburg.

Aron Rosner is a brother of Meyer Rosner, one of the five Lev Tahor leaders arrested last week by Interpol and the FBI in Mexico , as reported in a YWN exclusive.

“He’s the ambassador of Lev Tahor to the US,” a community source said of Rosner, reported by The NY Post.

Aron is being charged in connection with the kidnapping of 14-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year old brother Chaim Teller. YWN previously reported that the siblings were kidnapped on a Shabbos morning (December 8, 2018) in the town of Woodridge. The teens were last seen getting into a vehicle in front of the home at around 3:32AM, and it driving away.

Charges include kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

The missing teens are two of the six children in a family that recently escaped from the Lev Tahor cult in Guatemala, following an intense international effort.

YWN has been at the forefront for more than 10 years fighting the Lev Tahor cult – with dozens of articles over the years.

Lev Tahor practices include women and girls wearing black head-to-toe coverings day and night, arranged marriages between teenagers, and a violent form of Malkos. Lev Tahor only permits certain fruits and vegetables to be eaten, as well as whole wheat flour made into bread with a stone press.

[LEV TAHOR HORROR: Tales of Beatings and Torture Emerge From Excommunicated Cult Members]

Former members of Lev Tahor (who either escaped or were otherwise expelled) do not recall learning Mishnayos 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.

Reports indicate cult leaders have suggested death as better alternative than life outside the cult.

Lev Tahor was founded and led by Shlomo Helbrans, from the 1980s until his drowning death in Mexico in 2017. Since then, the leadership has moved into the hands of his son Nachman Helbrans, along with Mayer Rosner, Yankel and Yoel Weingarten, who are even more radical and aggressive than the late founder.

Internal documents of Lev Tahor show that Shlomo Helbrans made his followers swear and sign to uphold the following principles among others.

(1) Everyone must negate his or her mind and mind thoroughly and completely, to the leader of Lev Tahor.

2) They must subjugate soul, spirit, and will.

3) Each man accepts upon his descendants and descendant’s descendants until the end of all generations to be subjugated under the will of Lev Tahor’s leader.. this should be said openly to the leader himself.

4) Everyone must be ready at any time and moment of 24 hours of the day, whether on the Shabbath and Yom Tov, summer and winter, healthy or sick, to do the will of the leader.

5) Whether the person is a young man or an old man, virgins and women they must accept to do the will of the leader.

6) They must agree to throw away all his physical needs, including eating sleep and rest until he fulfills the desires the leader.

7) It is the obligation of each of them at the beginning of the morning prayers to recite and accept upon themselves all of the above with full mouth and supreme joy.

Some observers have written that these are signs of a cult. Indeed, this was the position of an author of an article that appeared in Mishpacha Magazine. Others, however, claim that there is nothing cult-like about the movement. Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter of Ami Magazine met with Helbrans and assured his readership that it was not a cult, even though a previous Ami article stated that it was.

In 2014 YWN ran an article titled “Cults and the War of the Jewish Magazines” in response to Mishpacha and Ami magazines running articles on Lev Tahor. Mishpacha Magzaine had run a fifteen page “expose” on the group, essentially describing Lev Tahor as a cult that has some serious issues involving medicating children, and behaviors that resemble child abuse. Ami Magazine claimed the exact opposite – and ran the following sentence below their headline “The unjust persecution of a group of pious Jews, and the unsettling silence of the Jewish community.”

Originally a citizen of Israel, cult leader Shlomo Helbrans went to the United States where he was convicted for kidnapping in 1994 and served a two-year prison term before being deported to Israel in 2000. He then settled in Canada.

In 1994 he was convicted in Brooklyn for the 1992 kidnapping of 13-year-old Shai Fhima Reuven, a Bar Mitzvah boy he was tutoring, and served a two-year prison term in the U.S. He was originally sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, but in June 1996 an appeals court reduced the sentence to two to six years. Three days later, he was placed in the work release program for prisoners less than two years away from the possibility of parole, where inmates are freed from prison if they have a job. After protests, he was moved back to prison.

The high-profile case drew much attention in the U.S., and gained further attention when Helbrans successfully convinced New York prison authorities to waive their requirement that all prisoners be shaved for a photograph upon entering prison, and to accept a computer-generated image of what he would have looked like clean-shaven instead. After the State Parole Board decided in November 1996 to release Helbrans after two years in prison, the case rose to near scandal with suspicions that the Pataki administration was providing him special treatment.

After his release from prison, Helbrans ran a yeshiva in Monsey, N.Y., and was deported to Israel in 2000. He then settled in Canada, where in 2003 he was granted refugee status, claiming his life was being threatened in Israel.

Helbrans and his followers had arrived in Mexico’s southern Chiapas province after spending three years in Guatemala. They had travelled to Guatemala from Canada, where child-protection authorities were moving to seize children allegedly suffering from neglect.

The group had been established on the outskirts of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, north of Montreal, for more than a decade before Quebec authorities began paying close attention. As they prepared to move in to protect children in the sect in late 2013, community members left en masse overnight for Chatham, Ontario. Before the next summer, they had moved on to Guatemala.

Court documents used by Quebec police to obtain warrants alleged that Lev Tahor girls as young as 13 and 14 in the community were routinely married off to much older men. The allegations in the documents, which became public after the sect had fled and were never proven in court, included sexual and physical abuse of children.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




49 COMMENTS

  1. Chilul Shabbos is the least of their sins (they will argue that kidnapping these children was a matter of pikuach nefesh). They don’t practice Judaism, they are a cult (erev rav).

  2. It’s terrible and dangerous that this cult was operating in Williamsburg. Hopefully with the arrest of AY Rosner their activities in the US will be shut down.

    When you give tzedakah please verify beforehand to which organization you are giving money to. It is against halacha to give to ovdei avodah zora so it should be verified that money is not being donated to them.

  3. If the community does not consider this at least as serious as having a smartphone (filtered), then there is a topsy turvy sense of moral value.

  4. There’s a missing link here. Where’s all the funding for this cult coming from. They obviously don’t have jobs. Who’s supporting them and what’s motivating any outsider to help them?? Without serious money how could they hold out and how could the establish a community over night in Guatemala ??

  5. they knew all along it was him , the question is what real evidence do they have and of course where are the kids . if you noticed in the pic its a state police car in brooklyn which is odd

  6. genuk shoin! genuk! when will people chap that the way to spiritual fulfillment and the general fulfillment of productivity ,is thru toiling in learning and being myigaya batoarah? these people were baalei teshuva looking for a ruchnius fill so its not their fault, but these chassidim who are focused on being radical all day and acting meshuga need to realize that the way for a sipuk and to be mechaper on chatoim ( specifically hirhurim rayim bad thoughts) is not thru acting alll frimm . its thru being involved in learning . to much chassidishkeit and being chanyuked .

  7. Why is the jury out so quick? For all we know they took him in for questioning-which makes a lot of sense given the familial relationship. I know absolutely nothing about the guy, but I’m not jumping onto the guilty ship becauase he was taken into custody. I didnt question the guys arrest in Guatemala. I think they should be taken into custoday regardless of kidnapping. But this guy…have any of you seen him in action?
    To the Little I know: I don’t know if the number of of residents in Willi amount to hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but they are most definitely not a community! There are many, many, many communities there. And even of the one community he belongs to…I wouldnt judge them or make any assumptions about them based on this guy (guilty or not). Where does smartphones come in here?

  8. Brana: He was not just taken in for questioning. He was charged with kidnapping. The FEDs must have something strong on him. They waited till now to arrest him.
    Hope he ROTS in jail..

  9. APDSVYS: Charged does not, in my books, mean committed. Too many studies have proved so.
    Just had a thought: Maybe his dear brother is trying to get back at him for refusing to help? I dont know. Maybe not. Just saying you never know.

  10. QUESTION FOR ANY WILLAMSBURG FOLLOWERS, IS ARON ROSNER A LEV TAHOR SYMPATHIZER OR AN ACTIVE MEMBER THAT DOES WORK ON BEHALF OF THE CULT FROM THE OUTSIDE? LIKE YWN REPORTED
    IF HE WAS INDEED AN ACTIVE MEMBER WAS THIS KNOWN TO THE COMMUNITY?
    “AMBASSADOR FOR LEV TAHOR” (QUOTED FROM YWN)

    YISROEL H
    SEE THE CANADIAN STAR DEC 7 2013 . ” LEV TAHOR AMASSED 6 MILLION AS A CHARITY”
    THEY ALSO HAVE CHARLATANS THAT FUND RAISE FOR THEM USING OTHER NAMES AND ORGANIZATIONS LIKE A WOMAN ON THE PREVIOUS CHAT REPORTED.
    https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/12/07/lev_tahor_group_amassed_6_million_in_assets_when_it_operated_as_charity.html

  11. Brana:

    My comment was so simple I am appalled you didn’t get it. The outcry about smartphones in the chassidishe communities is so loud, it can drown out lots of other things. Is that consistent with turning a blind eye to an avodah zarah cult that commits chilul Shabbos, child abuse, gilui arayos, and proclaims to be a “Jewish” cult?

  12. Brenda you sound concerned with the arrest on aron rosner.
    You are not concerned about the kids or even with the adults what they are going through in the cult/ hell on this world ?
    Your’e not concerned about a mother sitting and crying that someone took away two of her kids ??
    And ppl want to take them back to a place were she knows best how bad it is !!
    And Btw the little i know this guy aron is guilty already 20 years but no one did any masirah on him !
    Now he did it himself ! the proof on him is black on white !
    just give it another day or so and you will be shocked that he was actually running it while in willy .
    And to all others the answer is no !
    only his family is helping him .
    willy/satmer is not helping kidnappers and cult leaders .

  13. Ami magazine has blood on it’s hands, in the last few years it has written articles whitewashing these monsters and depicting them as innocent Jews who are being persecuted ,shame on you

  14. @chugibugi
    As I have seen from some of your comments in the past, everyone that disagrees with you or has a different perspective lost his rights, “lev tahor should be hung”… (which i might not disagree with you…). you also commented once about “Nechemye weberman” nad attacked Satmar for backing him.
    you think should sit 108 years even if there was only an “eid echod” a OTD girl backed by a bunch of other OTD’s, that are ready to do everything and anything to make the frum community look bad.
    Are you so naive? don’t you know what’s going on? do you really think Satmar should of let their person down, only because an OTD girl decided to take revenge in the frum community???
    I am not saying he is innocent or guilty, just saying that Satmar for sure did the right thing by backing him.

  15. As far as the kidnapping, no one knows exactly what happenned.

    So , put that aside and focus on their merits, I think they are Tzaddikiim and all accusations are exagerrated.
    Why isnt anyone modeh to the truth.

    I understand they on a very high madrega, but at least DONT BECOME BAALEI LOSHON HORA.

    BTW, you may be guilty of mesirra, which go to the bottom level of gehinnom and never come out for millions of years!

    Look what happended to Miriam in the midbar when she spoke against Moshe Rabbenu!!!!!!!!!!

  16. The Little I know: That makes 2 of us. I’m appalled too. Should I sit with foled hands all day and never try to do anything worthwhile bec. there’s evil on the planet. A very wise s/o once told me: “Invest your efforts where they have a chance of making a difference.” That means, that those who felt they could help rescue those caught in LT were trying that. Those who felt they could help in other areas try that. I’m not arguing the rights of either cause and I’m definitely not involved in either cause (I have enough stuff of my own to work through, like spending too much time commenting on newsites:) I’m saying that neither one cancels the other.

  17. Abe S. I’m very concerned about ALL those topics mentioned. Do you need me to repeat what e/o else is saying so that you can read the same thing again and again?
    For many years I lived next to a wonderful woman and her large family of children whose husband/father abandoned them for LT (and now has many more children with his new wife decades his junior). You cannot imagine how much I davened (didnt feel capable of doing more than davening) for LT to disband so that more misery is prevented.
    At the same time, I’m wondering why we’ve seen exactly ONE (Abe S) poster saying that he knows about AR’s guilt and many others jumping the gun, w/o telling us that they have reason to. I do not know that he’s innocent and I do not know that he’s guilty. AFAIK hilchos LH says that means I must suspect with defaming. concerned about whether innocent ppl are being judged. +

  18. TLIK: You’re mixing apples and chulent…

    Nobody turned a blind eye to Lev Tahor. But since it didn’t effect most of the “Hamon am” AND VIRTUALLY EVERYONE WAS POWERLESS TO FIGHT THEM what did you expect the leaders to do? It’s not like people were running off to join them left and right. They had their ״Chasidish” members for many years already, before anyone knew what Helbrans was up to, with only “natural” growth adding to their numbers. (I’m not talking about BTs, Israelis & Sefardim. You should maybe ask Rabbi Yosef why he didn’t do anything regarding them.)

    Additionally, we don’t know what was done behind the scenes. I know of people that were rescued, and it wasn’t the Zionists that helped them along the way…

  19. IUseBrains, with people like you, it’s no wonder how they get their members.

    It’s ironic that IUseBrains is saying what’s right and wrong while calling ovdei avoda zora “tzaddikim”…

  20. @Brana
    “ A very wise s/o once told me: “Invest your efforts where they have a chance of making a difference.”
    So you chose to waste your time posting nonsense !!!! Dun Key

  21. Ready Now and I Use Brains,
    Before you call other Baal Loshen HaRah, can you please identify that you are experts in Halchos Loshen HaRah because the discussion is regarding now extraordinary circumstances that may allow for exceptions to the normal rules. Did you ask your Rav whether this is Loshen HaRah?

    Maybe after you have learned 3,000 bat Gemera without Daf Yomi this point will sink in.

  22. Jeff:

    I hope this thread sticks to topic. But you suggested that Weberman was put away because of an OTD girl just taking revenge on Satmar. I would hope you have a bit more saichel. The court case was one individual. Truth is that Weberman practiced a trashing of the laws about yichud, and lost his chezkas kashrus in this area. There were probably other victims, as he was not makpid on being together with girls and young women as an issur. These perpetrators of abuse are rarely limited to a single victim, and everyone knows that. Just that the others never reported it, to preserve their own dignity and not get publicly shamed and attacked the way this girl was.

  23. There is a guy in Williamsburg who claims he escaped “lev tahor” . but from what it looks is that he is a spy sent directly from lev tahor to pick up info and plans

  24. The little I know:

    I’ll stick to the topic but just my last comment about this.
    You are speculating that there were for sure other victims who just never reported, ok I hear… nice speculation… something you can’t know
    But however, in this case, there was enough reason to believe that this was just an act of revenge

  25. To “Some Common Sense” You have thrown Halacha to the wind by….guessing!
    From “accusations” which are flying in the air, you put forth “lashon hara” and “guilty” !
    Are you Jewish?