Leader of Lev Tahor cult drowns in Mexico

Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, 55, said found dead in river after ritual immersion

The Times of Israel/July 9, 2017

The leader of the extremist ultra-Orthodox cult Lev Tahor has reportedly drowned in Mexico.

Local media reports said the body of Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, 55, was found in a river that he entered for a ritual immersion late Friday afternoon.

The Foreign Ministry said it was aware of the reports and investigating, but could not confirm the information, according to Channel 10.

The Lev Tahor group practices an extreme form of ultra-Orthodox Judaism started in the 1980s under which the women wear black head-to-toe cloaks similar to the Muslim chador.

The 500-strong sect has left Israel, Canada and the United States in recent years amid allegations of child abuse and has been dubbed “the Jewish Taliban.”

In March 2014, the community resettled in Guatemala.

The anti-Zionist Helbrans, who left Israel in 1990, served two years in prison in the US in the 1980s for kidnapping a boy.

In April 2017, an Israeli court designated Lev Tahor a “dangerous cult” that is abusing children.

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