E111: Lev Tahor Pt. 1: Shlomo Helbrans
Thank you so much for listening to cults. We WanNa take this time to tell you that we'll be away over the Thanksgiving giving holiday and it won't be releasing an episode on November twenty sixth but we'll be back with a brand new episode on December. Third have a happy and safe Thanksgiving due to the graphic nature of this cult's crimes listener discretion is advised. This episode includes discussions of abuse abuse that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under thirteen in April of nineteen ninety ninety two a young Jewish mother named Shana Fema stormed into the NYPD's sixty six precinct. She was inconsolable frantic and full of rage. According to Shauna her thirteen year old son shy had gone missing. She was was convinced he had been kidnapped. Only a couple of months ago shy had been normal New Jersey teenager. He was interested in girls. Spent his free time playing video games and enjoyed going to the mall with his friends but all that changed when Shauna brought shy to left of two whore yeshiva a religious school to receive instruction for his impending Bar Mitzvah. The boy she knew was transformed not only spiritually but physically subtly his head was shaved save for payout or side curls now as she stood in the sixty sixth precinct Shana was convinced. Her son had been abducted by the leader of the yeshiva. He was charming electric persuasive man and some accused him of brainwashing his followers. His name was Rabbi Schlomo. Hell bronze and soon there would be a mountain of accusations against him. Hi I'm Greg pulsing and I'm Vanessa. Richardson and this is cults. A podcast original every Tuesday we take a look at cults practices their leader and their followers. You can find all episodes of cults and all other park has two originals for free on spotify qualify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream cults for free on spotify. Just open the APP and type cults in the search bar at podcast. We're grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and Instagram at podcast and twitter at podcast network. And if you enjoy today's episode the best way to help us is to leave a five star review. Wherever you're listening? It really does help this week. We're taking a deep dive into the ultra Orthodox Jewish cult known as lead to Hor led by Rabbi Schlomo. Oh hell bronze will explore the cult's origins and its leaders background. Next week. We'll examine a shocking crimes led to Hor has allegedly committed. And what the future might hold for this dangerous sect Schlomo Hell. Bronze was born. Erez Schlomo L. Barnes on November fifth nineteen sixty sixty two in Jerusalem Israel. His Parents Pin Haas. And you'll heaven L.. Barnes were secular or non practicing Jews years earlier the L. Barnes participated in Zionist youth movement which advocated for social change through education. The group works towards the return earn and protection of the Jewish nation in Israel the L.. Barnes later enlisted as part of the Israel Israel Defense Forces and got married while serving together at kibbutz. Hold I in central Israel. Hell bronze was their only child and growing up without any siblings likely influenced his early development. Vanessa's going to take over on the psychology here and throughout the episode. Please note the Nessa is not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. But she has done a lot of research for the show. Thanks Greg a recent study. From researchers at Southwest University diversity in Chongqing China found that single children scored lower on agreeable nece than their counterparts with siblings. Agreeable nece is seen as a measure measure of sociability empathy and connection to others if hell bronze was less agreeable than most of his peers he may have had an especially difficult time. Living in the densely populated neighborhood of curious at Yeovil. This low income area of South West Jerusalem was established in nineteen fifty two to as a safe haven for Jewish refugees from surrounding Arab countries living in an impoverished household as a child likely also shaped tell bronze according to Geragos me towel of the American psychological association growing up poor can lead to a low sense of control over one circumstances circumstances as a result hell. Bronze may have searched for control by escaping into vivid fantasies. His childhood peers described Lebron's Lebron's as a curious boy with an active imagination. During summer vacation. He often played cowboys and Indians in the local park with his friend. Future filmmaker occur. You Add ben Youssef as a child. Health Lebron's also loved nature and animals. He we had a cat named Cleopatra kept chickens in his parents yard and spent hours hiking the hills surrounding their neighborhood hill. Bronze was also a distinguished. English student accepted into a class for the gifted. He was popular with his classmates and had a strong moral compass. His mother Yo have. It was called to Hebron school several times because her son was compelled to defend other classmates when they were bullied. Sometimes ending up in fistfights in the process nevertheless hell bronze continue to do well in school into his teenage years. In nineteen seventy five. When he was thirteen he received an assignment to research ultra Orthodox Jews he visited the sought mar hoc- deem sect in Jerusalem one one of the largest hasidic groups in the World Hassidic Judaism is an Orthodox spiritual revivalist movement began in the eighteenth century in eastern Europe? It's followers use the Jewish mystical tradition to achieve a direct experience of God through loop prayer and other rituals the sod mar are also anti-zionist. They believe that Israel should not belong to the Jewish people until the arrival of their messiah. The community was welcoming to help bronze. After years of secular living the experience sparked an interest in religion. He later said. I was just curious to know why I'm alive. And why the world exists. I wanted to understand what it all meant. This hunger for meaning lead hell bronze to spend countless hours in the school library. He even got locked in there. A couple of times after classes were dismissed at the end of the day and the janitor had to let him out hill. Bronze religious study was further encouraged when he found a kindred spirit. It and Yosef Ya again. You'll steph was a young Howard. E or Ultra Orthodox Jew who held bronze met through relatives but hell bronze parents didn't approve of his newfound connection with conservative religion. You're headed said. It went against our whole outlook doc. They forbid him from attending the synagogue but he continued to study in secret while enrolled at Denmark High School in one thousand nine hundred seventy six. Hell bronze this was mentored by his history professor. Dr Abraham Folks who was a practicing Jew noticing hell bronze interest in religion. Folks invited his pupil to a Friday night gathering at a local yeshiva. Hell bronze felt like he was part of a community now and he didn't want to leave. Leave it but when he approached his parents about transferring out of his secular school they refused in retaliation. He ran away from home and hit out in several several hundred D Sheba's on two separate occasions. His parents reported him missing to the police. In nineteen seventy seven fifteen year old. Hell bronze transferred to Mercaz Harav a yeshiva in Jerusalem. He was now legally considered an adult and his parents had no say in what he chose to do. Throughout the rest of his youth he continued to study at yeshivas all around Jerusalem. His classmates in the Acevedo's considered hell bronze intelligent. He digested the Torah quickly and effortlessly. Despite being a newcomer to the text he was also naturally gifted at teaching and successful at leading his peers into the faith How Lebron's eventually joined the Saltmarsh sect which he had originally visited for the school research assignment and adopted their anti Zionist views? Believing that Israel shouldn't belong to the Jews until their Messiah arrives and delivers their political and spiritual redemption according according to sought mar beliefs at the time of the Messiah rival what is known as Jerusalem will be physically destroyed and subsequently replaced by a heavenly city shortly after joining the Mars sect. Hell bronze adopted the name. Schlomo his given name Erez was Zionist. Hell bronze continued his religious studies for the next couple of years. Then in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine when he was seventeen he wed Malka also lie at arranged marriage. It's likely that he and his wife who was a recent religious convert like her new husband. Bend move to the Israeli city of spot. Around this time it's important to note the potentially complex effects of it arranged union like Hell Bronze Ronson Malkhaz especially at such a young age studies. Show cultures that support arranged marriages are often patriarchal. The man man is expected to earn income and the woman is expected to maintain the home in this structure. The man effectively exercises control over the woman and since she has no financial recourse without the man with no means to support herself monetarily. The wife is often unable able to leave the arrangement even if she wants to. This culture of Control is something hell bronze would one day take advantage of and that one day would get him into trouble title but for now it's simply suited his personality. He was master of his domain now whereas before he'd been a poor boy master of nothing it also meant that this forlorn only child now now had family. He and Marco went on to have three children together. After they'd been married for a few years they moved from spot back to the capital of Jerusalem and then in nineteen eighty five twenty-three-year-old hell bronze opened his own yeshiva and declared himself a rabbi. The only problem he had never been ordained coming up Schlomo hell bronze creates the community of love to Hor in Jerusalem and recruits his first followers. I used to think that if I switch just to an aluminum free deodorant. I'd have to sacrifice on odor and witness protection. I'm happy to say that I couldn't have been more wrong. 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Back to the story in Nineteen eighty-five twenty-three-year-old Schlomo hell bronze relocated with his wife Malka. Aw and their three children to Jerusalem there. He started his own religious school even though he had never been ordained as a rabbi why he called it led to Hor Hebrew for a pure heart. The name was derived from Psalm. Fifty one ten which states created created me a pure heart. Oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. The love to Hor Movement began with only twelve followers who operated out of a tiny rented apartment in the Bait Israel neighborhood of Jerusalem. This area of the city is predominantly. Haredi ORB Ultra Orthodox. Israel alter was one of two horse I members he also served as Schlomo Hell bronze first assistant don't of hell bronze alter said he starts talking to you and you're attracted to him like a magnet. I forgot where I was a man who can read through other people and read their thoughts hell bronze modeled many of his love to whores teachings after the Sod Mar Hasidic Movement despite the similarities though he did not consider himself Assad Mar as he was influenced by other Hasidic movements as well in order to recruit more followers hell bronze gave public lectures. He also stopped people on the street. He once claimed that he convinced a secular Israeli soldier to return to religion after costing him at a bus. Stop Hell Bronze said. Every time I got on a bus I looked for victim. These tactics display a lack of social boundaries. According to psychiatrist Dr Abigail Brenner Renner. People who do not understand the need for boundaries can be manipulative. It may cause them to be single minded and uncompromising when it comes to getting what what they want. Local newspapers wrote that Hell. Bronze had tremendous persuasive powers and was impossible to resist writer. HYENA air visited love to horror a few times in its early days and recalled that hell bronze was both a radical and extremist according to Dr Peggy Drexler a research psychologist documentary filmmaker. It's possible that radicalism can be linked to mental disorders orders. One route to radicalism that. Dr Drexler sites is abnormal personality development. During a child's early years hell browns was raised. It doesn't only child in a secular home. It's possible that the community he found in religion fulfilled some of the loneliness he felt as an only child and therefore it pushed him towards extremism but regardless of what fueled his radicalism hell bronze continue continue to grow his love to Hor community during this period he was mentor by Rabbi Eliezer Shlomo Schick a prolific religious writer. Schick was a controversial figure. He was investigated for officiating. Underage Marriages schick teachings along with hell. Bronze other influences sustained his anti Zionist beliefs and further cemented his strong opposition to Israel according to him a state for the Jews must be be proclaimed by God which cannot happen until the Messiah arrives also part of Hell. Bronze message was the destruction of Israel which he attributed to biblical prophecies and the three vows of the Talmud. The TALMUD is Judaism's central text which which is comprised of rabbis examination of the Torah some strict Orthodox Jews such as hell bronze interpret the three vows as follows not to migrate on mass and by force to the land of Israel not to provoke the nations of the world and not to establish independent rule rule reportedly he not only believed Israel was evil. He bet it's culture should be outlawed. For example Hebrew Zionist Language Bridge was forbidden by Hal bronze even though it was the first language of most of his followers they were not allowed to teach it to their children. Hebrew was still used for prayer and the studying of religious texts but members of love to whore were only permitted to speak Yiddish in conversation fulfilling. This anti-zionist attitude in nineteen ninety twenty-eight-year-old Lebron's moved to horror from Jerusalem to the United States. By this time he had between twenty and thirty committed followers. The community settled in Brooklyn New York home. To some of the most influential chill ultra Orthodox communities in the world they were warmly welcomed by the local sought Marcet especially an isolationist group called Bene. Yo L will help. Lebron's claimed that his anti Zionist views were the reason for the move and that the Torah prophesized Israel would be turned to to desert and isolation but it may have actually been an investigation into his alleged ties with the Islamic movement in Israel that prompted him to flee we. The Islamic movement was spurred by the Islamic Revival in the Middle East during the nineteen seventies. It insisted on a return to the faith of Islam among Arabs in Israel according to a member of Israel's security agency love to horror communicating with shakes and Muslim clergy. This was the first time her a D. Jews had made contact with Muslim extremists. Hell bronze claimed that he reached out to read Sala. A leader of the Islamic movement in Israel for noxious reasons Sala was the mayor of Ood Afam and in Hebron's wanted to stop the paving of local road over ancient Jewish graves. It's unknown when exactly this occurred but it was possibly right before left to horr for relocated to the. US rights ally is known for his antisemitic. Beliefs is it possible that hell bronze extremist missed views toward Israel led him to seek out someone interested in destroying it ultimately there is no way to know however however after their hasty departure left to horror was heavily criticised in the Israeli press several parents of hell bronze followers accused him of kidnapping and reported him to the police in Jerusalem. But none of these potential kidnappings were investigated. All of the individuals in question were adults who were considered to have left of their own accord. Rabbi Gabrielle Goldman had two brothers who yell and Mickael who traveled to the states with hell bronze and he struggled to understand the reasons his siblings chose to join left to whore Goldman said they left many things that are dear to us the land first of all but also the Jewish people to say they are right to everyone else is wrong is not the way of Judaism or the Torah when Gabrielle. Goldman's brother who yell joined the community in the Mid Nineteen Eighty S. He was a teenaged officer in the Israel Defense Forces as he claimed that he was dispatched to spy on hell. Bronze lectures though this assertion has never been substantiated by the idea instead Goldman became a convert himself and went on to serve as a spokesman for Hell bronze and love to horror. He said we wanna go backwards. Exactly like original Judaism his hell. Bronze stated that the goal of two whore was to attain utmost purity by eliminating worldly influences. Something he said distinguish them from other sects within Judaism he preached that modernity corrupts the spirit it and encouraged piety modesty especially for women after as moved to the US. He began creating an extremely regimented. Set of rules for for his twenty to thirty followers members. Adhered to a strict kosher diet and made their food from scratch. As best they could this included abstaining from eating chickens or chicken eggs because they ran the risk of being genetically modified in regards regards to other types of meat only animals butchered under hell. Bronze watchful eye were deemed kosher skins of vegetables were not consumed nor or rice as they could contain fungal spores or insects respectively. Love to horror. Could not even vint drink milk unless they got it. From the cow themselves members were not allowed to decorate their homes with our work or photographs. At most they had candlesticks. candlesticks or home-made embroidery on display in Lahore. The day always began again with prayer preceded by a half hour of mystical meditation which was reserved for the male members when they prayed it was longer and louder odor than other Jewish denominations prayers were said slowly and were often shouted. This daily ritual was mandatory and lasted several roll hours. Hell bronze decrees also emphasized gender separation which extended to how their children were educated. Boys began school at three years of age. Initially learning the Yiddish alphabet within two years they moved onto studying the book of Genesis as teenagers. The boy school days commenced at seven thirty in the morning and lasted until nine thirty at night. The bulk of their study was spiritual not secular earlier hours were spent examining scripture and dedicating the Jewish laws to memory but if the boys curriculum awesome sounds intense. It doesn't compare to what was expected of the girls while boys were raised to study Jewish texts. Girls -education was more limited though also more practical. They were taught how to cook so and generally how to maintain a home for their husbands and children. In addition girls were allowed to study some secular subjects including English and math. Their teachers were all just members of the insular group meaning they were not accredited in fact most of what they taught was what they had learned in led to whore to maintain hell bronze rule of gender under separation. Men instructed the boys and women mentor the girls when they weren't in school the children into the sect were permitted to occasionally play with a limited collection of toys but even the stuffed animals had to represent kosher creatures. Aw and once. Their education was completed. The girls were married off as young as possible coming up. We'll continue to explore. What living in the love to whore community was really like now back to the story? Um in Nineteen ninety-one twenty-eight-year-old slow-mo hell bronze moved his ultra Orthodox. Jewish community community loved to horror from Jerusalem to New York. There he insisted his followers live at Jakonen Light'-style including arranged marriages. The members claimed that this was demanded of them by the Torah. These marriages were arranged. Hell bronze himself. In most cases the groom was much older than the bride who was typically only fifteen or sixteen at the time of the wedding. It's important to note here that there is a difference. Prince between an arranged marriage and what is referred to as a forced marriage in an arranged marriage both spouses give consent to the union but in a forced marriage one or both of the parties involved have no say in whether or not they wed according to the critics of love to whore what Hell bronze was advocating. Aiding were actually forced marriages with the women suffering as victims as young teenagers. They had no input in the choice of husband bend or when the marriage would occur. Studies have shown that forced marriages unlike their arranged changed. Counterparts can lead to many negative consequences according to Osmo a shroff a research nurse with University College London then forced marriage is a type of domestic violence in the event that the victim is under eighteen years of age. It's also considered child wild abuse. In addition to the alarming labels associated with this practice forced marriage may cause psychological issues for the victim. Down the line ashrof goes on to say that individuals like the child brides in Hell. Bronze community may suffer from self harm eating disorders depression. Depression substance misuse and even genital mutilation as for the men who were older and more likely to give input regarding marriage. Traditional employment was not necessarily encouraged instead. Hell bronze preferred they study on a full-time basis And how the community survived then was a mystery while members claimed that they received financial support from outside donors they refused is to specify who those donors were each family within left to whore had their own assets and property but all members were required to support each other. You're if the need arose. Even though the men were not required to go to work they still had a uniform of sorts they dressed similarly to other ultra orthodox Jews especially the sought Mar Hasidic sect. which greatly influenced tell bronze their tire included black suits reminiscent of Polish Polish nobility from the eighteenth century when Hasidic Judaism began? They also wore keep its or head coverings. As for the women their chosen wardrobe of black burqa like sh- routes which they began wearing at the age of three earn led to hoard the nickname of the Jewish Taliban only their faces were exposed while the rest of their bodies were completely covered. One of the female members has claimed that the women also always covered their feet even when they were in bed with their husbands for one day of the week. During the celebratory a period of the women were able to substitute their black robes for bright white ones. Instead all of the males from the age of three we had their heads shaved once per week there sideburns and beards however were never trimmed. The men also immerse themselves in a daily ritual bath. The water used for this purifying process. Must come from natural spring or River fresh and unadulterated traded hell. Bronze tenants proved his position was one of complete authority. He said every one must negate his or her mind thoroughly and completely to the leader of love to whore they must subjugate soul spirit and will will to the leader of love to Hor. Each man accepts upon his descendants and descendants descendants until the end of all generations rations to be subjugated under the will of Lev two whores leader. He continued everyone must be ready at any time and Dan. Moment of twenty four hours of the day whether on the Shimada and Yom toaff summer and winter healthy or sick to do the will of the leader whether under the person as a young man or an old man virgins and women they must accept do the will of the leader. He must agree to throw away all his physical physical needs including eating sleep and rest until he fulfills the desires of the leader. Every member was also required to to sign an oath of allegiance to hell bronze before they were allowed to join left to hor which is rare among civic groups These rules present hell bronze us a narcissist or someone who has an inflated sense of his own importance as well as the need for attention in an admiration according to Jodi Clark a licensed professional counselor narcissists embellish their abilities and accomplishments which which held bronze did when he started calling himself a rabbi in the absence of formal ordination Clark also says that narcissists tend to believe they're they're more unique distinct and special than they actually are. Hell bronze claimed that he possessed special insights that others was in his religion weren't privy to and as we've seen many times before a cult is fundamentally about a central figurehead setting himself up as this infallible hell bronze lengthy list of tenants fulfills this to a T. requiring that members. Show allegiance to him. On top of that Hell Lebron's controlled all information that came in and out of his community this extended to any the and all media members weren't allowed to own televisions computers or radios hell. Bronze would only grant access to these. When certain male leaders leaders in the community asked for a special permission with this permission came the promise that technology would be used only for the betterment of love to whore including the generation of revenue as far as their libraries? We're concerned members were only allowed to stock their homes with Jewish books rather than study the Talmud his followers read the or Husham and direct hot Salah written by Hill bronze himself both of which span more than five hundred pages in these works. He emphasized obedience to authority authority. As the months went on in Brooklyn the group continued to gain followers in February of Nineteen ninety-two when Hell bronze was twenty nine years old. A young boy named shy. Fema right with van showed up on his doorstep shy. It was accompanied by his mother. Shana who had left Israel with her son. Two years prior following her divorce from his father at thirteen years old shy was only a couple of months away from his Bar Mitzvah a religious coming of age ceremony for Jewish boys. Shana wanted help bronze to prepare her son on for this. Momentous rite of passage has life by the following week. Shy was studying and sleeping at hell. Bronze Yeshiva four days of the week when love to whore through a Bar Mitzvah party for shy it was well attended afterward with Sean as approval. Her Son State at Hell Bronze Yeshiva full-time for an entire month. It didn't take long for shy to fall under the spell of hell bronze and his followers followers before Sean Nuit Her son wanted nothing to do with his former life rather than live with her and attend a secular school shy show wanted to remain at the Ashida. long-term his mother refused not wanting her son to join the ultra-orthodox community but Shana Shana who was staying at a shelter for battered women. At the time had little control over her fiery offspring much as hell bronze had done in his youth. Shy Ran away way several times to return to love to her then in April of nineteen ninety two thirteen year old old shine fema row then vanished into thin air and his mother Shawna pointed the finger at Rabbi Schlomo. Komo hell bronze even worse shy. Wouldn't be the last child to go missing. While under the tutelage of leapt to Har- dozens. More what follow. Thanks again for tuning into colts. We'll be back next Tuesday with part two of love to whore will cover the group's alleged kidnapping being and child abuse for more information on left to Hor amongst the many sources we used. We founded two part article by Shea Fogelman entitled pure as the driven snow or hearts of darkness extremely helpful to our research. You can find all episodes of cults and all other podcasts originals originals for free on spotify that elitist spotify already have all your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all your favorite podcast originals like cults for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream cults on spotify. Just open the APP and type cults in the search Rich Bar and don't forget to follow us on facebook and Instagram at podcast and twitter at parkhouse network. We'll see you next time. The colts was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original executive producers. Include you'd Max. And Ron Cutler sound design by Trent Williamson with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden Freddie Beckley and Paul Moller. This episode of cults was written by Andrea Vasilo with writing assistance by drew coal and stars. Greg Poulsen and Vanessa Richardson and uh from all of us at cults. We'd like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving just a reminder that we won't be releasing episode on November Twenty Six but we'll be back with the brand a new episode on December third. Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to check out podcasts. Original Series Dodd Tales. Every Monday dog tales shares inspirational true stories of loyalty courage and sacrifice by some of the most heroic canines in history. No mystery no macab all heart search for dog tales in the spotify APP and listen free today.