A Lev Tahor cult member was arrested in New York, Wednesday night, and is being charged with kidnapping. Mordechai Yoel Malka was arrested upon his arrival at Newark Airport, as he arrived on a flight from Guatemala.
He was expected to be charged with identity theft, as he allegedly used a fake passport to fly to the United States, and kidnapping charges. Malka was allegedly the Michallel Shabbos who drove 14-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year-old brother Chaim when they were kidnapped from Woodridge early on a Shabbos morning in December of 2018.
The two children of the Teller family had recently escaped from the cult in Guatemala and were spending Shabbos in the Catskills, when the kidnapping occurred.
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.
Earlier this week, YWN reported the indictments of Nachman Helbrans, 36; Mayer Rosner, 42, and his son Jacob Rosner, 20; 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.
Mordechai Yoel Malka who was arrested last night is a brother of Matisyau Malka, who was previously charged and indicted with kidnapping.
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)