July 12, 2017

The charismatic leader of a ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect "was reportedly taking part in a purification ritual last Friday when he was swept away by an unusually strong river current."

The National Post reports in "Drowning of Lev Tahor leader raises fears over ultra-Orthodox sect's future/The strict rules [Shlomo] Helbrans imposed led Israelis to nickname the cult-like group the Jewish Taliban, because female members wear burka-like robes beginning at age three."
The group had been established on the outskirts of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, north of Montreal, for more than a decade before Quebec authorities began paying close attention. As they prepared to move in to protect children in the sect in late 2013, community members left en masse overnight for Chatham, Ont. Before the next summer, they had moved on to Guatemala....
The article quotes the University of Pennsylvania religion professor Marci Hamilton:
"To the extent that there are children who are either American or Canadian citizens, at this point the authorities could swoop in and take them. Everything they are doing to those children, at least from the reports we’ve had, violate international standards.... The concern was while (Helbrans) was in power that if the government got too close, he would turn them all against themselves and perhaps have a suicide pact or something horrendous.”

23 comments:

rhhardin said...

Democrats have purification rituals that sweep them away too.

Clyde said...

"40,000 men and women every day..."

I sense a theme here. Maybe it's this? Dumb Ways to Die

MadisonMan said...

Judgement from God?

traditionalguy said...

Did God cleanse His land with a flood again? I guess the turning off the rain part of the Torah had not been mastered by this cult's Daddy.

Clyde said...

MadisonMan said...
Judgement from God?


Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.

rehajm said...

Kool-Aid is Kosher if 'OK' is printed on the label.

Jack Wayne said...

For those who like more government, this is more government. The lessons of Waco go unlearned. My bet is that the Puritans would have been dismayed by the liberality of this group.

C R Krieger said...

Is the attention provided by the Canadian Government something that might not have been done to Muslim Groups?  That is to say, is it OK to go after these folks, but not necessarily others?

Regards  —  Cliff

C R Krieger
Lowell, MA 01852

BarrySanders20 said...

That Marci Hamilton is a whacko. The zealous flip side of the zealots she opposes.

Religious freedom is good and all that but not too much, ya know?

Jeremy Abrams said...

He was taking a dip in a mikva, any body of water with a flowing entrance and exit. I did this with my two sons as part of a conversion ritual. My wife is Japanese, and has not converted, and the conservative wing of Judaism traces Jewish identity through the mother, so to help with their sense of Jewish identity when they're older, we converted them around age 1. It was fun. The rabbi stood on the shore of the Albemarle sound, which qualifies as a mikva, and sang while I dipped our older boy in the brackish water. After the first immersion, he started bawling, and I started dipping as fast as I could. Our friends told me I dipped him four times total and not three. So the family joke is that I made him orthodox.

James K said...

That Marci Hamilton is a whacko.

Yes. The rather important difference between a group like this and the Taliban is that they don't try to impose their beliefs on non-Jews. Not to mention they haven't murdered anyone.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

" Is the attention provided by the Canadian Government something that might not have been done to Muslim Groups? That is to say, is it OK to go after these folks, but not necessarily others?"

Had they been Muslim, the Canadian Government would have been struck deaf, dumb, and blind.

Bay Area Guy said...

Where is Janet Reno when you really need her? (JUST KIDDING)

Gahrie said...

"To the extent that there are children who are either American or Canadian citizens, at this point the authorities could swoop in and take them.

Yes they could...and we've seen how successful that can be...

Everything they are doing to those children, at least from the reports we’ve had, violate international standards.

Child marriages? Pretty standard around the world, and used to be fairly common in the West. Forcing women to wear burkhas...again pretty standard around the world, and tolerated in the West. Enforcing gender roles on women? Again pretty standard everywhere except the West.

So no..what they are doing does not violate international standards...it violates Western standards. But since no culture is better than any other what gives us the moral authority to be so judgmental of this sect?

If these people had been Muslim instead of Jewish would anyone had noticed? And if they did would they dare be so judgmental?

Hagar said...

So, Judaism has sects that are just as crazy as some sects of other religions?
Gee! Who knew?

Fernandinande said...

Fun fact! The Mexican Water Trading Post usually doesn't have any water.

mockturtle said...

Nothing so purifying as a swift river current.

Forbes said...

Marci Hamilton is a law professor specializing in 1st amendment issues (presumably where the religion angle crept in).

YoungHegelian said...

he would turn them all against themselves and perhaps have a suicide pact or something horrendous.”

I doubt that. Even the more fringe Jewish groups are not into apocalyptic spirituality, which tends to be more fringe Christian (I would say ISIS is an example of Muslim apocalyptic spirituality, but some might disagree).

I once had a conversation with an Orthodox acquaintance at a party of a mutual friend. He was berating the ignorance & superstition of some group of Orthodox Jews (Lubavitchers?) who keep watch at the grave of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson**, awaiting his resurrection as the Messiah. I told him, "Daniel, lighten up. There are 2.2 billion people on the planet who believe in a dead Jew that came back to life".

** This is what my acquaintance claimed, & I have heard it from others, but my searches found no mention of a resurrection watch at the Ohel. So, right now I'm skeptical, & would gladly like to hear the facts.

n.n said...

They don't sound very Jewish. Perhaps some kind of reformed movement. An evening with the Torah would clarify his will and expectations. For one, He clothed men and women to protect them from the elements and to assure their modesty (following enlightenment), not to hide or alienate them from each other or the world.

tcrosse said...

FWIW Ste-Agathe-des-Monts is one of the settings in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, as sort of a Quebec Borscht Belt.

mockturtle said...

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Great movie! And I still think it is Dreyfuss' best film. And I think it may have been his first.

Oso Negro said...

Nothing rustles the jimmies of decent folk quicker than the notion of young women marrying much older men! The horror! The horror!