YWN EXCLUSIVE: Another Lev Tahor Cult Member Gets Arrested

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Yechezkel Yosel Matisyahu Malka

YWN has learned that authorities have made an additional arrest in connection to the Lev Tahor Cult overnight.

Yechezkel Moshe Matisyahu Malka was reportedly taken into custody by Federal Law Enforcement Personnel. The charges against him along with additional details will be published by YWN shortly.

As YWN reported in December, 5 members of the Lev Tahor Cult – including the cult leader – were arrested and are still sitting in jail without bail.

Four of them were apprehended in Mexico, in a joint operation between Interpol and the FBI. Police had raided two out of three Lev Tahor owned properties in the country in the middle of the night.

The four people arrested in Mexico were:

  • Nachman Helbrans
  • Meyer Rosner
  • Chaim Yankel Rosner
  • Uriel Goldman
  • Aron Rosner was arrested in Williamsburg.

They were 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. Aron Rosner is believed to have driven the vehicle transporting the kidnapped children from Woodridge to the airport in Scranton, on Shabbos R”L.

[PIDYON SHVUYIM?! Is There a Mitzvah To Assist The Imprisoned Lev Tahor Cult Leaders? – Halachic Analysis]

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.

(Charles Gross – YWN)




35 COMMENTS

  1. Why is their restrictions on which foods can be eaten worthy of highlighting? Many people have chumros on a host of different foods……

  2. Instead of pointing out their extreme religious attitudes, follow what is the likely underlying motivator: $$$$$. As law enforcement is accustomed to say: ‘follow the money.” I am sure that underneath all the frum externalities, the ostensible “chumros,” and all the rest — someone (perhaps a few people?) is benefitting financially from all this. As is the case with nearly all cults. They seem to have virtually unlimited financial resources to pull off whatever they want. They own a number of properties. Exposing the monetary angle of this cult will go much further in closing them down than complaining about their eccentric practices. Of course, the arrest of the cult leaders is a great move in the right direction!

  3. There better not be bail set for any of the arrestees. They have proven to be a threat.

    I would hope that there is a way to apply a death penalty to the leaders. These are not sick people who deserve a smidgen of rachmonus. Rather, they are evil people, with a dedication to harm as many people as they can, giving some semblance of delusion that they are Jewish and practicing Torah Judaism. These are resho’im who deserve to be expunged from our planet. May the wrath of HKB”H come down on them.

  4. Much thanks for reprinting all the old articles instead of seriously inconveniencing us by forcing us to click on a link in order to reread the same cult history which has been posted and reposted ad infinitum!

  5. Newspapers and news sites are supposed to be impartial, giving the info and allowing the reader to decide.

    YWN is about the worst site I have come across. Biased anti frum and certainly not Yeshivish.

    YWNs have agendas and you should not be pushing your bias onto your readers.

    Articles are written by yeshivish writers. I only read to be humored.

  6. Of course, there needs to be donations, gelt, to keep a number of families alive with food etc!
    See the truth, don’t be petty and mean!

    And no one is mentioning that the mother took the children away first!
    Give the children back to the father! NOW!

    Several YWN commentators are the mazikim, out in force, their twisted thinking for all to read!
    Get away!

  7. DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE A PENNY
    ANYBODY THAT LOOKS LIKE THEM THAT COMES AROUND COLLECTING
    CHECK OUT WHO THEY ARE
    THESE PEOPLE ARE SICK
    THEY HAVE NO RABONIM TO BACK THEM UP
    THEY SOMETIMES USE KHAL RIMANOV AS AN ALIAS
    THEY ARE SMART CRUEL DEMENTED SE- FREAKS
    CRAZY PEOPLE

  8. All,
    please be warned that IUseBrain and ready now have shown, in previous posting regarding this group, that they are either part of this group or at least sympatric them.

  9. I happen to know this yungerman. He is very aidel and wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s a big rachmanus and a mitzva to help despite what all the people that “know” say.

  10. little
    they are perverted people
    But got to be kidding Of course aren’t you
    can you list 20 things in modern society more deserving of death penalty than these weirdos But don’t receive anything close to it

  11. to i use brains
    everybody are liars just you and helbrans are the tzadikim
    the pictures dont lie
    which normal people live in huts in the heat
    like that
    why do the children look like they are from the warsaw getto
    sick cult
    that needs to be expunged from clall yisroel

  12. Brains?

    So why are you peddling Lashon Hora on so many people that believe that they are a cult..?
    Which part is sheker? The people who testified and were victims?
    I have no doubt you are indeed part of this cult – How come you never post on any other topic ONLY on ‘Lev ToYah’ ??

  13. You write “5 members of the Lev Tahor Cult were arrested and are still sitting in jail without bail.” Nachman Helbrans Meyer Rosner Chaim Yankel Rosner Uriel Goldman Aron Rosner was arrested in Williamsburg.
    Is Aron Rosner who was arrested in Williamsburg also sitting in jail or was he released on bail?

  14. Brains ?:
    “I will try to shlep you out of gehinnom”

    Typical Helbrans scare tactic! as IF YOU have any say regarding Gehinom…

    Well brains, I have news for you: You are not in Lev T… anymore. The magic only works there…

    Concerned:
    I doubt he does…

  15. Aron Rosner is released on bail

    Dear IUseBrains in gehinnom ppl only go if they sin

    and the Torah explain what is a sin i am NOT seeing any sin sorry

    the only sin is that you feel you will NOT go to gehinnom please dubel check your gavea

  16. See the truth, don’t be petty, cruel and devious.
    No one is mentioning that the mother took the children away first!
    Give the children back to the father! NOW!

    Several YWN commentators are the mazikim, out in force, their twisted thinking for all to read, maligning regular Jewish people.

    HOW DARE YOU, you traitors!

  17. brainles
    are you insane!
    have you looked at the picturs
    have you read the stores
    SICK!!!!!! and we should give them money
    i only pray you should have a copora

  18. It’s great that they’ve arrested another one but where is the other leader Weingarten, he is largely responsible for all the atrocities committed there?????

    YWN: You say that you have been covering the subject of Lev Tahor for more than 10 years, so why, every time that you report something new on this do you write it’s history of how it was founded and who founded it etc. etc. Seeing that you have been doing it for so long we all know it’s history from the first time… STOP REWRITING IT EVERY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. tgsm
    absolutley not
    these images have to be imprinted in everyones mind not matter how many times it takes

    ubearta hara mekirbecha

    sick sick people
    YNWN
    PLEASE DONT STOP
    SHOW THE FACES OF THE RESHAIM AND THEIR 501C FILINGS AND ALL THEOR CONGREGATION NAMES SO NO ONE WILL GIVE THEM A PENNY
    DRY THEM UP
    AS WELL AS THE NETUREI KARTA AMD ALL THAT HELP THIS DEMENTED SICK PEOPLE