Leader of ultra-Orthodox sect 'Lev Tahor' reportedly drowns in Mexico

The chief of the controversial sect reportedly died after drowning in a river in Mexico.

By
July 9, 2017 13:05
1 minute read.
Lev Tahor, Guatemala

Members of Lev Tahor in Guatemala. (photo credit: JORGE LOPEZ)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The leader of the extremist ultra-Orthodox sect Lev Tahor (Pure Heart) reportedly drowned in a river in Mexico on Friday.

According to the local daily Diario Chiapas, Rabbi Shlomo Erez Helbrans’s body was identified on Friday, after a strong current swept him along the Shujabal River into the town of Unión Juárez. The rabbi, 55, had reportedly been carrying out a ritual immersion in preparation for Shabbat.

The Foreign Ministry said it was awaiting confirmation of the report from official sources.

Helbrans was in Chiapas with a group of 40 families affiliated with the cult, who according to Diario Chiapas, had entered the state three weeks ago after being expelled from Guatemala, as victims of xenophobia, religious intolerance and discrimination over their appearance and dress.


Lev Tahor was founded in the 1980s and practices an extreme form of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and also advocates anti-Zionism. It’s sometimes described in the media as the “Jewish Taliban.”

Helbrans is an Israeli citizen who was granted refugee status by the Canadian government in 2003, after claiming his life was being threatened in Israel due to his anti-Zionist teachings. He was convicted in the United States for kidnapping a boy he was tutoring for his bar mitzva in 1994, and served a two-year prison term before reportedly being deported to Israel in 2000.

In April, an Israeli court ruled that Lev Tahor was a “dangerous cult” because it was physically and emotionally abusing the children in its community.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prescription pain pills are dumped out on a table.
May 19, 2019
MET to turn down Sackler money amid opioid crises

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF