Video Recap: Judge Orders ‘Lev Tahor’ Children to Foster Homes


UntitledA Quebec Court judge has ordered the removal of 14 children aged 2 months to 16 years from the ultra-Orthodox sect Lev Tahor, to be placed in foster homes.

Judge Pierre Hamel issued the ruling Wednesday night, ordering the children be removed from the community and placed in foster homes immediately, for at least 30 days. He ordered members of the Lev Tahor community to refrain from contacting the children in any way, except for their parents, whose contact will be supervised by youth protection officials. Among the children ordered removed are a 16-year-old girl and her 2-month-old baby.

Each child will be given a full examination by a doctor, and their psychological needs will be assessed. Youth protection officials have alleged extreme neglect and malnutrition, as well as isolation, and a refusal by sect members to adhere to the Quebec curriculum. They claim the children, who are home schooled, are unable to do basic math, and don’t understand English or French.
The group came to Canada in 2005 when its leader, Israeli-born rabbi Sholmo Elbarnes, was granted refugee status. He claimed he would be persecuted in Israel for his anti-Zionist stance. Elbarnes had earlier served a two-year sentence in the United States for kidnapping a child.

Rosner says authorities are now targeting the group because of its anti-Israeli stance, conservative treatment of girls and women, and arranged marriages of teenagers as young as 16. The group moved to Ontario, Rosner says, to practice its religion freely.

“The nature of this community is to go back to the old traditions,” he said. “Freedom of religion is important to us. This is something that in Ontario that is much more respected.”

(YWN – Studio B)


  1. The frum community should have its own agency/procedure to investigate such matters. Given that Quebec is known for its anti-Semitism (they are now considering laws to ban Jews from civil service, which in Canada includes the practice of medicine), anything their courts decide is inherently suspect. We need a Beis Din to deal with such matters so we know the truth of the matter.

    The ideal vehicle would be to ask the accused to designate a Beis Din, and that Beis DIn appoints a Shaliach Beis Din to conduct an impartial investigation.

  2. Legally Quebec lost juridiction since they are now legal residents of Ontario. Previously, when these people were legal residents of Quebec, Quebec never intiated any legal action against them. The first legal action only came once they were legal residents of Ontario.

    All of the children currently remain with their parents.

    The only real complaint anyone has against them is that they dress weird. Once that makes them nervous and brings out their prejudices they start going to look for problems. Since they can’t find any they start ranting about “hygiene” and the fact the children speak Yiddish rather than French or English.

    Imagine they were African children who spoke Afrikaans rather than French or English. Do you think the Quebec authorities would dare start up with them over their language? Most certainly not.

  3. @akuperma:
    If it would work it would be great, but sadly there is a wealth of accounts where (sexual) abuse is reported to rabbinic authorities and instead of working with psychiatric and social services the only measure taken is moving the perp/family to a different area where the problem repeats until someone goes to the authorities (and on the way gets called “moser” for doing the right thing)

  4. This is child neglect at the very least. By not educating your children with secular subjects as well as Torah you are not giving the children a chance to compete in later life, not withstanding the strange lifestyle they lead.

  5. Unfortunately it is “fellow” Jews who are out for blood and have been the ones to make the claims of neglect and abuse which is unfounded. Some of the community members are baalei teshuva who have anti chareidi, anti Helbrans relatives who have libeled this community.

  6. This so called “rabbi” Solomon Arez Hell-branz and son Nuchman may not even be Jewish, who knows. They are cult-leaders a fraud and always has been.

    Every Jewish organization on earth has been rebuking them even in public, as no different than the David Koresh cult in Waco, or the Jonestown cult. We should be keeping a spotlight on this fraudster as much as possible and call this what it is: A CULT.

    This cult “leader” and son Nuchman are VERY dangerous man who uses mind-control techniques to pray on the weak minded. Nuchman the son can not be trusted, he is a big lier with out a drop truth.

    Believe it or not, it is VERY easy to start a cult if you want to. All it takes is a few lost souls willing to have a boatload of children for you. ”

  7. Did anyone catch this – “Quebec authorities say they have documented cases of severe neglect, including poor nutrition and health treatment, as well as psychological abuse from a disciplinary regime that involves children being forcibly removed from their parents and being housed with other families.” Sounds like foster care to me. I don’t subscribe to these people’s religious views, however, I do think allegations of actual abuse as such must be proven – lest these agencies threaten “forced removal” from parents for the most minor of issues OR political/ideological issues. I’m pretty sure if these people were more supportive of Zionism they might get better press – or perhaps no press at all.