We are all one family: Lev Tahor included. By Bernard Fryshman, Ph.D. | AMI Magazine | April 9, 2104 9 NISSAN 5774. pp. 172 - 175.
The author of this article is Dr. Bernard Fryshman. Dr. Fryshman is executive director emeritus of the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools. He is Professor of Physics at the New York Institute of Technology, A noted askan, Dr. Fryshman writes on issues of Jewish public policy as well as on higher education.
I had encountered the thoughtful opinions and calm, methodological approach of Dr. Bernard Fryshman before. He is included among those offering professional and personal opinions in support of the Lev Tahor community. He is also quoted extensively in Exhibits F and G, paragraphs 49 - 70 of the affadavit 267/13 submitted by a Lev Tahor couple to the Ontario court of justice on January 30, 2014 and his twenty page summation concludes the document, "With Liberty and Justice for All...? The Trial and Prosecution of Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans." By Yacob Y. Zick, 1997 - a well-documented explanation of the events as they unfolded in the community and the courts before, during and after the 1994 conviction of Rabbi Helbrans in the USA for kidnapping.
This article begins with Dr Fryshman stating that there is not a shred of evidence that Lev Tahor children have suffered abuse or neglect. He uses the record of Denis Baraby's own statements to substantiate this claim and notes that despite two years of intense investigation, the Lev Tahor children had not been slated for foster care until the community left the province and defied a court order. Lev Tahor's reasons for leaving Quebec were all to do with the education of their children because it had been concluded that they could never comply with Quebec's required school curriculum and the tone of the communications from the authorities was becoming threatening. Dr. Fryshman refers to two other cases involving the Mennonites and The Beth Esther Academy (Satmar girls, elementary and high school ) in Montreal to illustrate that Lev Tahor's case is not unique. Having fled to Ontario, the parents were not present in the court when a former Lev Tahor member and child protection workers testified against them, resulting in Justice Hamel's court order for mandatory placement of the children in foster care for 30 days.
Dr. Fryshman goes on to consider the terror that prompted some of the members to make the drastic decision to flee the country and their subsequent experiences in Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala. He reminds the Jewish community of the urgency of addressing Quebec's Education, Culture, Religion (ECR) curriculum and the difficulty of leaving the province to escape it since a precedent has been set with Quebec pursuing Lev Tahor into Ontario.
"Does anyone think that Quebec authorities will hesitate to make children (perhaps on a selective basis) wards of Child Protection, should there be any resistance to ECR?"
He decries the use of the word "cult" to describe the community and the use of the word "felon" to describe Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans. He states that the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is a secular group with which the Torah community has little or anything to do, although it has commented prominently on Lev Tahor.
"It is inappropriate to describe Lev Tahor's acceptability through the eyes of CIJA, particularly when there are so many esteemed rabbanim and mosdos in Montreal who could share a Torah'dik view. None of us would want our destiny to be determined by CIJA, and it's unfortunate that the Province of Quebec does not recognise this."He concludes by recognising that Torah Jews are dangerously alone in an increasingly impatient secular society, and that an attack on Torah Jews should not be ignored, no matter how unloved they may be. Please read more of this article here.