Rabbi Eliezer Berland is a wanted man, on the run from Israeli police after young followers – some allegedly underage and most married – made allegations that Berland sexually abused them during counseling sessions in his office.
Breslov Rabbinic Leader Still On The Run From Police, Allegedly Won’t Go To Uman Due To Fear Of Arrest
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
As long as it has been physically possible to do so, followers of the Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the first and in many ways only rebbe of the Breslov sect who died during the fall festival of Sukkot in 1810, have gone to their sect’s founder’s grave in Uman during the fall Jewish holidays. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, that pilgrimage has turned into a large carnival, with tens of thousands of Breslov hasidim and hangers on flooding into the small Ukrainian town to pray, eat and dance, staying days and even weeks at the grave site.
The Breslov pilgrimage has turned into a major money-maker for the town and for the Ukraine. It has also become a large point of friction between the hasidim who visit and the Ukrainian locals.
Now, for the first time in years, a Beslov leader will reportedly not be making that pilgrimage.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who heads the Shuvu Banim Breslov ba’al teshuva (repentance; ‘return’ to Judaism) movement that what was once based in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, will not be visiting Uman this year, Arutz Sheva reported.
Because Berland is a wanted man, on the run from Israeli police after young followers – some allegedly underage and most married – made allegations that Berland sexually abused them during counseling sessions in his office.
Berland fled arrest in Israel and eventually ended in in Morocco, where he has lived for approximately the past six months.
Israel Police have reportedly Interpol to help arrest Berland – something much easier to do on an international flight or in the Ukraine than in Morocco, where a wealthy Sefardi Jewish follower of Berland is close to the king.
The allegations have split the Breslov sub-sect, with many of the men and the older women staying loyal to Berland.
There have been physical clashes between the two groups in Israel, including one incident involving gunfire, leading to several arrests.
Berland allegedly used Kabbalistic doctrine to justify his acts.