Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Jewish What?

Well, the answer to that is somewhat complex, it seems. This is a sect of Jews, hugely conservative in their religious-cultural expression and lifestyle. The sect originated in Israel, but, claiming harassment in Israel, applied for refugee status in Canada. In Israel they are considered somewhat more than fundamentalist in their conspicuous attire and their obvious fanaticism, embracing a medieval-style religious devotion.

It was in Israel that they were dubbed the Jewish "Taliban". And their garb, particularly the black, all-encompassing robe that women and girl children are forced to wear, does resemble the Muslim burqa, though faces remain uncovered.

Members of the Jewish sect Lev Tahor are seen in a townhouse complex north of Chatham, Ont., on Tuesday, November 26, 2013. The group has settled in the area after fleeing Quebec.           (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE/The Windsor Star)Members of the Jewish sect Lev Tahor are seen in a townhouse complex north of Chatham, Ont., on Tuesday, November 26, 2013. The group has settled in the area after fleeing Quebec. (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE/The Windsor Star)

Like all fundamentalist religious adherents, girl children appear particularly vulnerable to abuse in the small community. As soon as girls are deemed to be of marriageable age they are forced to "marry" men of the community, often much older than they are; a fifteen year old girl married to a man in his 30s, for example. The legal age for marriage in Canada is 16.

One of the young girls, 17 years of age, was taken to the Montreal Children's Hospital by ambulance, reporting to nurses she had been beaten by her brother, sexually abused by her father and married at age 15 to a 30-year-old man, as revealed by Montreal court documents, after the group had removed themselves holus-bolus from Quebec to Chatham, Ontario. 

The recorded incident of two years back represented one of several allegations of abuse documented about the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in abuse of their children. Photographs were taken of the girl's injuries, but because she was incoherent at the time of her admission, neither police nor youth protection case workers had been enabled to adequately question her.

None of the allegations have been proven. The children's identities are protected by court order. And no charges have yet been laid in relation to the Surete du Quebec investigation. Quebec youth protection workers examined some of the children, finding them to be in need of dental work, and that some were suffering from infections relating to hygiene problems.

There have been charges, unproven, that members of the community have been controlled with drugs, that girls aged 14 to 15 have been forced into marriages. Unsanitary conditions in the homes of community members were noted by Quebec's Youth Protection Department. The larger Jewish community in Montreal is appalled at the conditions in which these cult children live, and have offered to give them protective homes within the custody of the larger community.

Police had information from a bus dispatcher claiming to have received a call on November 15 to reserve three buses to arrive at 1:00 a.m. on November 18, to drive the entire community from their homes in Ste-Agathe, Quebec, to a new location where the sect had purchased property in Chatham-Kent. The relocation surreptitiously arranged to prevent Quebec Youth Protection from taking any of the children into protective custody.

A former Lev Tahor member has informed investigators that it was his experience that people were forced to take 'pills' during their meals. That the community leader, Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, had ordered a women or girl to be beaten for refusing to wear her black cloak, mandatory for women in the community. He also stated that Rabbi Helbrans orders all community members to turn their finances over to him.

"We have endured here extremely hard times, from persecution, from hate, and the hate has only been growing until now. No one has ever harmed the children, at least not from our community", the rabbi stated in Yiddish with subtitles, in a video dating from February 6, in response to the allegations of child abuse.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet