Eluzor Moscowicz said the children were not clean and wore shoes that were so ill-fitting that they were not walking normally. Even the toddler girls were attired from head to toe in the black chador-like cloaks and kerchiefs that all female members of the sect are required to wear. Disturbing as well was their suspicion and timidity, even about taking a shower or using soap that might have a scent, and the boys’ fear that their heads would be shaved with a straight razor, as was the custom each Friday among the Lev Tahor. Moscowicz was struck by the children’s habit of talking against one another…
File photo: Unidentified Lev Tahor children
The Canadian Jewish News reports:
When Eluzor and Vita Moscowicz welcomed five young foster children into their home about six months ago, they were shocked by their appearance and demeanour.
The kids, ranging from infancy to seven years old, had been entrusted to them by Quebec’s youth protection officials after they were removed from the controversial Lev Tahor chassidic sect, then based in Ste-Agathe des Monts, Que.
Eluzor Moscowicz said the children were not clean and wore shoes that were so ill-fitting that they were not walking normally.
Even the toddler girls were attired from head to toe in the black chador-like cloaks and kerchiefs that all female members of the sect are required to wear.
Disturbing as well was their suspicion and timidity, even about taking a shower or using soap that might have a scent, and the boys’ fear that their heads would be shaved with a straight razor, as was the custom each Friday among the Lev Tahor.
Moscowicz was struck by the children’s habit of talking against one another, behaviour that he persuaded them was not right, reassuring them they were all now loved and safe.
His wife sent written testimony about the children to a Knesset committee, which has been hearing from Israeli relatives of Lev Tahor members who are worried about what is going on within the group.
Allegations against it include forced underage marriage, failure to provide adequate education and inappropriate discipline of children using force
Moscowicz said in an interview that the foster children’s father ran afoul of Lev Tahor chief leader, Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, when his unhappiness with the sect became apparent. He made plans to leave and bring his family with him.
Rabbi Helbrans had already split up the family, placing the children among other families in the community because he felt they were not being brought up according to his notions of proper Jewish practice.
Moscowicz said the authorities got involved after Lev Tahor leaders called in the police, claiming the father was acting violently, including abusing his kids.
The father lodged a complaint with youth protection that his kids were not being adequately cared for by the Lev Tahor families they were with.
Moscowicz, a marriage counsellor and social worker, came into the picture when a rabbinical council serving Outremont-area chassidic communities asked him to interview the couple to see if their troubled marriage was salvageable.…
[Lev Tahor spokesman Uriel] Goldman denied that members are cowed by their leader. Goldman, who has been with Lev Tahor for more than 20 years, said he comes from a prominent Israeli family – his father was a surgeon – and served in the Israel Defence Forces.
“These are ridiculous allegations. Rabbi Helbrans is a straight guy. He says exactly what he thinks. You can ask him anything directly… about why you are doing this… Every single point is discussed.
“But we believe that if you practise Judaism, it has to be the right way. This is very reasonable.”
As for the order by a Quebec court in November, upheld on Feb. 3 by an Ontario court, that 14 children from two Lev Tahor families should be placed in temporary foster care because of gross neglect, Goldman responded that the community was under investigation for two years and received “hundreds” of visits by police and child-welfare workers and “they found nothing… We were not charged with anything.
“It is very difficult to hide such a thing [abuse]. If small children are questioned a lot by a social worker, if there is a trauma like that, they will talk.”
It would be “impossible,” in any case, he added, because abuse is “against the Torah.”…
You can read the whole story here.
"Talking against one another" really means snitching on siblings and friends to a senior adult cult figure, who in this case has been replaced by the children's foster father.
That, and the extreme suspicion exhibited by these children, are cult hallmarks.
As for Goldman's claim that the kids would have told Youth Protection workers about the abuse, that is absurd. All credible data clearly shows that children are terrified to expose their abusers, and this fear would certainly be greatly heightened in a cult like Lev Tahor which demonizes the government and police.