THE FATE OF CHILDREN IN A CULT
The author Graeme Hamilton explores a case children being neglected by a sect called Lev Tahor who is being led by a man named Shlomo Helbrans also known as Elbarnes.
Graeme Hamilton’s story, “Secretive Sect Referred to as the ‘Jewish Taliban’ Flees Quebec for Ontario Amid Child Neglect Investigation” National Post, 22 November 2013
David Ouellette who is a director of public affairs for the Centre of Israel and Jewish Affairs in Montreal clearly states that the, “Jewish community services had been active in exposing concerns in Lev Tahor. ‘They are a sect.’ ‘They are not reflective of Judaic values or any stream of Judaism. They are completely out of the norm.’” The author explores the allegations of the children who are grounded in this sect, suffering from poor dental care and also skin problems, which were due to the lack of regular bathing. The children were also not enrolled or were being instructed with the Canadian curriculum and as a result were only able to speak Yiddish and Hebrew. There were also concerns of forced marriages and teen pregnancies. This was seen more evident when two teenage girls were sent to Lev Tahor, but thankfully an uncle in Israel was able to obtain a court order to have the two girls sent back to prevent being harmed by Lev Tahor and potentially being forced to marry.
After reading this article, I had an issue with the terminology used. When David Ouellette stated that this particular group was a “sect” I believe he should have changed his terminology to cult. According to Bryan Wilson, he uses the definition of sects being a movement of a religious protest. Which in recent day’s definition of sect has a closer connotation to Christianity, where this particular group claims close ties to Judaism. James T. Richardson definition of cult is a better definition of what this group is. Richardson states that cults as “a group that has beliefs and/or practices that are counter to those of the dominant culture,” and also that these “beliefs and practices may also be in opposition to those of a subculture.” Since Lev Tahor apparently has no reflection of the Judaic values or any stream of Judaism and are completely are out of the norm. This terminology of sect is invalid.
In addition to my concerns with the terminology used, I also have concerns with the children involved, aside from the obvious neglect that they have already endured, but rather the amount of brain washing and what kind of information these children were taught. It is quite evident that there was some kind of brainwashing going on due the children not being able to speak English and them not being enrolled in the Canadian educational curriculum. So one must question, what else is going on in the inside?