Five men have been indicted in the kidnapping of 14-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year-old brother Chaim from Woodridge and later from Brooklyn to return them to the Lev Tahor Cult.
They were abducted as the result of a plot by Nachman Helbrans, 36; Mayer Rosner, 42, and his son Jacob Rosner, 20; members of the Lev Tahor sect, which their mother had fled; and Aron Rosner, 45, of Brooklyn, Mayer Rosner’s brother. A fifth man, Lev Tahor member Matityau Malka, was charged with aiding a second kidnapping plot in March.
The FBI said Malka and other members of Lev Tahor planned to kidnap 14-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year old brother Chaim Teller, three months after they were taken from their mother in upstate New York – on a Shabbos morning – and later recovered by law enforcement in Mexico.
Authorities said Malka gave several cellphones to the girl in Brooklyn, so that cult leaders – including Sara’s brother, Nachman, who is incarcerated in Westchester County Jail – could talk secretly to her about her recapture.
The mother had been a member of Lev Tahor – her father, Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, founded the sect in 1994 – but fled the group last year after its leadership, which include her brother Mayer Rosner, became increasingly extreme, according to the FBI.
An indictment handed up earlier this month charges all five men with conspiracy to defraud the United States and international parental kidnapping. All entered not-guilty pleas, and the case has now been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Nelson S. Roman.
They were indicted earlier this month in District Court in New York on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and international parental kidnapping. They have all pleaded not guilty. Four are being held without bond. Aron Rosner was released on a $10 million bond to home confinement and electronic monitoring.
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.
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 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.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)