2 Canadian Children Returned to Extremist Lev Tahor Haredi Sect

Judge Orders Supervision by Social Workers

By JTA

Published December 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Two children seized by Canadian authorities from an extremist haredi Orthodox sect were returned to their parents with strict conditions.

The parents, members of the Lev Tahor sect, agreed to scheduled and random visits from children’s aid workers and said they would not leave the Chatham-Kent region, in southwest Ontario, or use “physical discipline,” among other conditions. The agreement also specifies that one of the parents get help for mental health issues. The children, a boy and a girl, are both under 5 years old, the Toronto Star reported.

Child welfare officials in Ontario, where Lev Tahor members moved last month from Quebec, seized the children last week following a visit in which an official noticed a bruise on one of the children, a lawyer representing Lev Tahor families told the Star.

The children are not connected to a Quebec court ruling last month that ordered 14 Lev Tahor children, ranging in age from 2 months to 16 years, into foster care.

Authorities have been visiting the sect since they arrived in Chatham. During a visit Dec. 12, a worker noticed a bruise on the female child’s face. An accompanying police officer seized the child.

The judge who ordered the return of the children with the conditions said the mother denied it was a bruise and said the child had been playing with markers. Two doctors independently evaluated the child and told the court it was a bruise. The judge called the injury “relatively minor.”

“I have a picture of some cause for concern and, at the same time, some signs that the children were well cared for,” he said, according to the Star.

Leaders of Lev Tahor have called the allegations a smear campaign.

“We will still cooperate with child protection, like we said beforehand the first day when we came to Ontario,” said Uriel Goldman, a spokesman for the sect.

The sect, led by Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, reportedly uses violence and mind control. Most of its members are Israeli-born with children born in Canada.

About 40 families from the sect fled from north of Montreal to Chatham, about 200 miles southwest of Toronto, on Nov. 18, a few days before the Quebec ruling was issued. On Dec. 4, Ontario child welfare authorities sought a warrant to seize all the children. An Ontario Justice of the Peace denied the request; an appeal of that decision is to be heard on Dec. 23.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.