A federal judge has granted bail to a Lev Tahor Cult member arrested on Kidnapping charges.
Judge Paul Davison of White Plains ordered Aron Rosner released on $10 million bail on Tuesday.
As YWN has been reporting, Rosner was arrested by the FBI in Williamsburg on December 23.
Aron was indicted for the kidnapping of 14-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year old brother Chaim Teller from their family in upstate New York, and conspiring to transport them to Mexico. YWN previously reported that the siblings were kidnapped on a Shabbos morning (December 8, 2018) in the town of Woodridge. The teens were seen getting into a vehicle in front of the home in middle of the night, and Rosner is believed to have driven the vehicle transporting the kidnapped children from Woodridge to the airport in Scranton, on Shabbos R”L.
According to court documents provided to YWN, attorneys for Aron Rosner, Henry E. Mazurek and Eval L. Lipton filed a motion on Monday January 14 to have Rosner released on bail with the following conditions:
- A $10M bond was signed by Aron Rosner and nine (9) additional co-signers, secured by four (4) separate properties with equity in the amount of approximately $6.5 million.
- Travel restricted to the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.
- Surrender of Rosner’s passport, and an agreement not to secure new travel documents
- Strict Pretrial Services supervision.
- Home detention with GPS monitoring at Rosner’s Brooklyn residence.
- That while Rosner shall be granted access to a computer in order to review the discovery provided in this case and other case-related materials provided by his lawyers, he shall not be permitted internet access.
- That Rosner is permitted access to one telephone that will be provided and approved by Pretrial Services to make and receive phone calls to and from phone numbers agreed to by counsel for Rosner and the Government.
- That Rosner will not directly or indirectly associate or have contact, outside the presence of his counsel, with his co-defendants, alleged co-conspirators, or any individual currently or formerly employed by or associated with Lev Tahor; however, this does not limit the defense attorneys and their investigators from conducting appropriate defense investigation.
In the indictment, the FBI says that Rosner “unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted and carried away and held for ransom and reward and otherwise, a person when the person was willfully transported in interstate and foreign commerce…. Aron Rosner participated in a scheme to kidnap two victims in Woodridge, New York and unlawfully transport the victims to Mexico”.
Aron Rosner is a brother of Meyer Rosner, one of the five Lev Tahor leaders arrested by Interpol and the FBI in Mexico. That group was later extradited to the United States and are currently being held without bail.
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.
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)