Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Two Children Fleeing Lev Tahor Cult Kidnapped On Shabbat In Catskills

Two children were reportedly kidnapped in Upstate New York on Saturday morning after attempting to escape from the Ultra-Orthodox cult Lev Tahor, The Yeshiva World reported.

Two children of the Teller family, which fled from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in Guatemala, were spending the weekly holiday with a family in the Catskills, sources told YWN.

On Shabbat morning, a 12 year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were missing. Two children were seen going into a vehicle at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, according to YWN. Police are investigating.

The children’s mother is Sara Feige Teller, sister of current Lev Tahor leader Nachman Helbrans, and wife of Rabbi Aron Aryeh Teller, the dean of the sect’s yeshiva.

Sara Feige Teller escaped the cult several months ago and has been trying to rescue her six children. This has reportedly led to reprisals from Lev Tahor members, including being attacked by people armed with guns, knives and rocks.

Lev Tahor, whose members have moved from Canada to Guatemala to Mexico over the years to escape from government child service agencies, forces its female followers to wear black robes from head to toe, leaving only their faces uncovered. Leaders of the cult have been accused of abuse and forcing child marriages.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.