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Lev Tahor Women Speak To Media, Describe Horrifying Experience In Iraq

Following the report that Bosnian authorities are deporting 24 members of the Lev Tahor cult who had taken residence in the capital city of Sarajevo, cult members took the unusual step of allowing local media reporters into their residence.

After a long period of time during which cult members refrained from allowing photographers into their compound and shying away from interviews, on Wednesday, local Bosnian news outlet N1 interviewed and photographed the cult members.

N1 wrote: “After several rejections, the N1 team was received by members of Lev Tahor at their temporary home in Istocna Ilidza. Two members, Esther and Chayeh, spoke about their way of life, raising children but also about numerous accusations against their community. This group of 37 should leave Bosnia and Herzegovina soon, and they do not want to reveal their next destination, because they claim that they are constantly persecuted because they are different.

Source: F. Z./N1

Esther told N1 that she was born into Lev Tahor and isn’t interested in knowing about other ways of life. She said that the Lev Tahor members were happy in Canada but then the social services “knocked on their doors.”

Source: F. Z./N1

“They came, they came, they came, trying to make us send our children to their public schools,” she said. “But we know that’s not the way we want to raise them. It is not written that way in our holy book, to learn various things like that man came from an animal, from a monkey. I will not allow my children to learn such things.”

Source: F. Z./N1

Esther said that the discrimination became unbearable and after three families were summoned to court, they realized they had to leave.

“We knew what that meant, we knew the next step was to take our children away and then we decided to leave,” she said.

Source: F. Z./N1

Chaya, originally from Belgium, joined Lev Tahor when she was 24. She admitted to N1 that her husband is in the US awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping but claimed it was a misunderstanding based on a family conflict.

“He is still awaiting trial, he has no right to bail, as if it is a danger to the community, for the United States, he has been there for 2.5 years, without good reason, he didn’t commit any crime, he only helped save the child from his mother and her friends who abused him.”

Source: F. Z./N1
Source: F. Z./N1

The woman told N1 that now they are persecuted wherever they go but their worst experience was in the Kurdistan area of Iraq, where they were interrogated for days due to the numerous accusations against their community.

“We tried to get in touch with the Red Cross, human rights organizations, but they took away our phones, kept us trapped with very little food, just enough to survive, without beds, showers, clothes to change,” Chaya said. “When they let us go, the children already had fungus on their feet for the first time in their lives. On Saturday afternoon they carried us to the airport, holding our arms and legs, taking our children from our arms, and today the children live in fear, they talk about it, my daughter hurt her arm because she clung to me.”

The reporter ended the article by describing some details about the cult members’ living space. “The men pray in the house next door. Apart from tables and chairs, we did not notice any other furniture. The children are playing with commercial toys, and the women have prepared food for us, and what is known in Bosnia as Kljukusa – a traditional Bosnian dish made of grated potatoes combined with flour, oil, eggs, finely chopped onion and spices.”

Source: F. Z./N1
Source: F. Z./N1
Source: F. Z./N1

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

17 Responses

  1. Just to point out that while it would be terrible if even some of the crazy things about them were proven true, the way they dress is their choice. Even if it isn’t specifically Jewish, so isn’t some of the ways people in our communities dress.
    Some like to look like Hollywood stars (Non-Jewish way of dress) and some like to look like Muslim extremists (another form of Non-Jewish way of dress).
    There is, unfortunately, no difference between these 2 examples as far as Judaism is concerned.
    The fact that it’s a cult doesn’t make it better or worse for this matter.

  2. I’d add that there’s no difference as far as non-Jewishness is concerned, but there may very well be a difference by default as far as Kedushas Yisroel is concerned. Covered up is covered up even if the reason for covering is not specifically Jewish in nature. I consider them a cult and I’m very critical of them, but people need to look into themselves also.

  3. The only thing in this story that bothers me is that last pic of an immodest woman sitting at the table showing a smart phone to a Jewish mother and children. Seriously.

  4. the fact that there is ONE or TWO ladies who enjoy this type of life doesn’t mean it is a healthy lifestyle for their kids. Growing up so very sheltered and different from any one else, with a totally closed mind is not the mark of a healthy person.

  5. Though its probably not the popular opinion, I am actually in awe of these people who move from place to place and make do with what they can find. They aren’t weighed down by the baggage of leaving comfortable, prosperous homes. Whereever they go, they regroup right away, start functioning and running their homes with bare basics. Here they made a nice lunch of kugel and cookies for the media. Its amazing!

  6. Good job by the Kurdish forces.

    They doing a great job, we should know it at least since they nab the killer of a Jewish girl, murdered in Europe, in Ebril ( Kurdistan)

    Understandable that they treat them like this…. The Kurdish army fight the IS, they also able fight the Jewish Taliban…….!!!!

    Sad to see that in Brooklyn and Monsey still Yeshivot are connected to Lev Tahor or their former members .
    That a leading Rabbi from Yeshiva Derech Chaim has connection to one guy who regularly flew to Guatemala and has big connection to Lev Tahor.
    Additional to that a girl just gave a few days testimony against this Rabbi and this guy. What they did? It must be something really bad……. She is actually a former member of Lev Tahor, when she was a child.

    Other Yeshivot like Torat David in Monsey invites people and has currently people from the Lev Tahor environment, in their Yeshiva.

    That’s a big big big big big shame!!! This girl wants to write a letter to the wive of this rabbi and his kids. Than as soon as the police allows us she will go public.

  7. Why is everyone harassing these frum Jews. They daven longer than you do fine. No one stops you from davening long. Why don’t all of you protest at reform temples for desecrating shabbos and demand they remove their Sefer Torah’s. We have real enemies out there and it’s not Lev Tahor.

  8. I’m tired of seeing religious Jews,yes more religious than most of us being persecuted. I would support Lev Tahor over these ADL and secular skunks any day. They daven unlike some of you OTD guys condemnin frum Jews. If was young I would join them. They live a healthy lifestyle unlike those yentas running to Bloomingdale spendng their hard earned husband’s money. Lev Tahor should open a branch here in Brooklyn.

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