1. This article which was published by the Montreal Gazette and referenced on this Timeline as Source 60 and 63 at 2013/11/28 and 2013/11/27 is no longer available at the Montreal Gazette. It has, however been archived by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine and has been preserved at that site:
SEE: Quebec, Ontario officials discuss fate of Lev Tahor children. 14 have been ordered removed from the community, but enforcing ruling could be a challenge. By Jason Magder
2. This article which was published by the Montreal Gazette and referenced on this Timeline as Source 61 at 2013/11/27 is no longer available at the Montreal Gazette. It has, however been archived by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine and has been preserved at that site:
SEE: Judge orders foster care for 14 Lev Tahor children. By Jason Magder.
2014/09/17 - The two female Lev Tahor children who had been taken into foster care after being returned to Canada by Trinidad and Tobago, have been released to their family. SOURCE
2014/09/09 - Chatham, Ontario - The executive director of Chatham-Kent Children Services reports to the Windsor Star that with none of the families or children in the Chatham jurisdiction, all Lev Tahor files CKCS owns will be closed. SOURCE
2014/08/27 - Chatham, Ontario - - The executive director of Chatham-Kent Children Services reported that the five remaining Lev Tahor families, along with approximately 30 children, had left the municipality in the early hours of the morning on Aug. 27. SOURCE
2014/08/07 - Chatham, Ontario - Follow-up settlement conference on Aug. 7.
2014/07 - Chatham, Ontario - Court proceedings begun on 29th May have been postponed to July.
2014/05/29 - Chatham, Ontario - The fate of the two other children who remain in custody will be decided.
- The parents of the two children are now in Guatemala. [The father has since returned to Canada.] SOURCE The children would have arrived there to join their parents two months ago if they had not been returned to Canada by Trinidad and Tobago.
2014/05/22 - Ontario - A Lev Tahor member who had flown to Guatemala in March with six of his children returned to Canada today without incident ahead of the court date where the custody of his two other children in foster care in Canada will be decided. Both Canada Border Services Agency and the Ontario Children's Services had been notified that he was returning. SOURCE
2014/05/15 - Quebec - It is announced that Quebec's Human Rights Commission will begin to study what went wrong in the handling of the case of Lev Tahor. The study will include examining whether police, youth protection officials, the school board, the health sector and the legal system in Quebec had the proper tools to deal with the situation. SOURCE
Quebec researchers also have a meeting scheduled for mid-June with Ontario’s Human Rights Commission [Correction: Ontario’s Advocate for Children and Youth] to address the aggravation expressed in Quebec that Chatham-Kent Child Protective Services, the police and the courts were unable or unwilling to act swiftly when the Jewish group defied a Quebec court order and sought refuge in Ontario.SOURCE
-Also reported that the lawyer for the group, Guidy Mamann is requesting that Quebec lift an order for the apprehension of all the children of Lev Tahor to allow the group to travel freely outside of Canada. Mamann said since the order won’t ever be enforced, it must be lifted, because keeping it in place could force some families to leave the country without their children. Most of the adults of the group are Israeli or U.S. citizens, and are in this country on temporary visas. Although they have been renewed in the past, Mamann said recent events lead him to believe the government will probably deny future requests. “They’re going to risk being arrested and deported without their kids, and that’s crazy,” Mamann said. “This order that was meant to protect the children may end up harming them if their parents are deported and they end up here on their own, risking being placed in foster care. That makes no sense.” Mamann said the group is looking for a new place to live because it seems to have worn out its welcome in Canada. Several members have recently relocated to Guatemala in Central America. Isabelle Dugré, a spokesperson for the Department of Youth Protection in the Laurentians region confirmed by email last week the apprehension order is being maintained, but refused to elaborate on the reason. The department’s director has declined an interview request.SOURCE
2014/05/07 - Chatham, Ontario - After today's session in court another four Lev Tahor children are being returned to their relieved parents. Lawyers for Chatham-Kent Children’s Services and the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect came to an agreement this morning. The media is banned from accessing any court documents outlining the terms of conditions of the agreement. The four children were among the six placed in Jewish foster homes in the Greater Toronto Area after being apprehended in Trinidad and Tobago two months ago. The children and their parents fled the country after a judge ruled 14 children would be sent back to Quebec and placed in foster care. A ruling on May 29 will decide the fate of the two other children who remain in custody. SOURCE Ontario Court Justice Paul Kowalyshyn paid compliments to the parents, their counsel and lawyers for the children and CKCS after reviewing their motion. "I compliment all parties and counsel in court for the appropriate, thorough and well-thought-out consent," Kowalyshyn said. The judge urged all parties to continue their "notable spirit of co-operation." Terms of the order were not read into court records. While the judge allowed media to be present for what was to be a temporary care and custody hearing, Kowalyshyn made it clear media was to have no access to court files or documents relating to the matter. Nor will media be allowed to attend the follow-up settlement conference on Aug. 7. SOURCE
2014/05/06 - Canada - Julian Sher, Senior Producer of CBC TV's The Fifth Estate, tweets about more Lev Tahor members having arrived in Guatemala and mentions "unconfirmed news" of clashes with locals. SOURCE
2014/04/30 - Quebec City, Quebec - Quebec’s newly elected Education Minister, Yves Bolduc, announced that he will stop government subsidies of illegal Hasidic Jewish schools. “We have to close them, they are illegal, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“What is important is that the students have to have a very good education, and they must acquire the knowledge that is necessary.” SOURCE
2014/04/28 - Chatham, Ontario - An Ontario court judge [Justice Paul Kowalyshyn] allowed a 17 year-old mother, who is a member of the Lev Tahor community, to have custody of her child again, after the infant was placed in foster care in Toronto. The judge imposed conditions, one of which forbids any contact between the baby and her father. The court case for the 17-year-old mother to determine if she will keep custody of her infant will resume in July. SOURCE The now six-month-old baby, was stopped at the Calgary International Airport last month along with its 17-year-old mother. They were flown back to Toronto and both mother and baby were placed in the care of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services, according to Peel police. The young mother was initially part of Quebec’s Youth Protection Services order in November 2013 mandating that a group of young people among the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect be placed in foster care. An Ontario judge later ruled that because of her age and the fact that she was also a parent, she should not be included in the order requiring the children be placed in foster care. SOURCE
2014/04/24 - Chatham, Ontario - Greg Holden of CK Review News reported that Canada Border Services Agency again visited the Lev Tahor compound around noon today. It was reported that their intention was to apprehend a Lev Tahor member but that member was able to produce proof of his Canadian citizenship. The Lev Tahor spokesman stated that the person they wanted was not even a member of Lev Tahor and that is was a case of mistaken identity. No one was taken away. Seven adults had been removed from the community during a CBSA raid on April 2. According to Nachman Helbrans, only one of those members has been allowed to return and she is a mother who is to be deported but needed to be released to make arrangements for the care of her children who are Canadian citizens. SOURCE
2014/04/16 - Chatham, Ontario - Blackburner News reported that Chatham-Kent Children’s Services will not act on Quebec apprehension orders for all 128 Lev Tahor children. “If the children are in need of protection in Ontario that would be up to an Ontario children’s aid society to determine,” said CKCS Executive Director Stephen Doig, who noted that the organization is not legally bound to do anything but investigate complaints. “We cannot act on the Quebec court orders. We are mandated to respond to any allegations of child maltreatment, regardless if it’s in the Lev Tahor community or the general community.” SOURCE
2014/04/14 - Chatham, Ontario - Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton has ruled that 14 Lev Tahor children subject to a Quebec court order no longer have to return to that province, where they would be placed in foster care. Judge Lynda Templeton ruled Ontario Court of Justice Judge Stephen Fuerth erred in his original Feb. 3, 2014 decision that upheld the Quebec order. Her ruling means the children may stay in Ontario, but she directed the Ontario Court of Justice to address the question of what will happen with the seven children who are currently in foster care. SOURCE
2014/04/10 - The Star reported that lawyer for Tev Tahor says families have been denied access to the Quebec court orders, which concern more than 100 children and were discovered after some were denied passports. "More than 100 Lev Tahor children have effectively become prisoners of this country as a result of secret court orders that prevent them from obtaining passports and crossing international borders."... “Quebec knows what they’ve issued: they’ve issued warrants for committal, it looks like for every child in the community, but they haven’t told us, nor did they tell the court,” said Mamann. The families have been refused access to the court orders. Mamann said one of the families demanded to see the orders, which were obtained in Quebec in November, and was told to file an access to information request. SOURCE
Quebec’s Department of Youth Protection for the Laurentians region revealed that shortly after the community fled in November, it was granted a court-ordered apprehension order for all of the children in the sect — about 100 of them. DYP director Denis Baraby told CBC news he was frustrated his Ontario counterparts didn’t try to get an Ontario court to try to uphold those court orders as well. SOURCE Blackburn News puts the number of children for which apprehension orders were ordered at 128. SOURCE
2014/04/09 - The appeal hearing in the child custody case resumed at 10:00 a.m. today. SOURCE Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton opened her remarks at the resumption of an appeal of a Quebec child-protection order of 14 Lev Tahor children expressing extreme concern. She said that she had found unsolicited mail in her mail slot of two Jewish Family Weekly magazines containing stories about Lev Tahor. "I'm extremely disturbed ... I see this solely as an attempt to influence justice," the judge said. The judge also denied a media report that she read a nine-page letter regarding the case and refused a call from someone purporting to be a paralegal who wanted to attend the hearing. "I did not take the call," Templeton said, noting child protection proceedings are not open to the public. SOURCE Justice Lynda Templeton concluded today's appeal hearing stating, "I will endeavour to have my decision (in writing) by Monday afternoon." ..."You will not see me in court again."..."There are a number of silent invisible human beings in this courtroom ... I will now re-focus my thoughts and efforts to the children not here today." SOURCE
At the heart of the issue is whether a Quebec court decision ordering the children in the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect into foster care will stand and the kids need to be sent back there, or if the issue falls under the jurisdiction of Ontario authorities. SOURCE
-Justice Lucy Glenn had refused on Tuesday 09, 2014 to release any of the documents filed with the court that day. It was not known exactly what the record contained, but one element filed by a lawyer for some of the children was an affidavit from a “clinical investigator.” Today, a lawyer for the Toronto Star will fight for access to the court record. SOURCE
- Denis Baraby, director of Quebec's Youth Protection Services said, “If we got involved it’s not because we wanted to persecute. We had worries for these children, the way they are brought up, the way they are taken care of. There are health issues at stake here, if the community was showing intent or making things better for the children we would step down or step back,” He noted if the kids are placed in foster care it would be beneficial to send them back to Quebec. “We have a longer history with this community and we know very well what the problems are. We have more resources and access to Jewish services in the Montreal area.” SOURCE
The parents opposed, arguing that an Ontario court lacked jurisdiction to enforce a Quebec order and their right to freedom of religion, security of the person and and their right to move freely within Canada were being denied. The lawyer for the parents argued Hodgson-Harris used the wrong legislation to gain custody of the children and enforce the Quebec order. SOURCE
Loree Hodgson-Harris, the lawyer representing Chatham-Kent Children’s Services, argued that Fuerth’s order should be upheld and that the Quebec youth protection agency had the best interests of the children in mind. “There is nothing in the evidence that would suggest that the Quebec child welfare authorities have either not acted in the children’s best interest or could not continue to act in the children’s best interest. Nothing,” said Hodgson-Harris.
Earlier, Marnelle Dragila, counsel for the Lev Tahor parents, argued that returning the children to Quebec would place them at risk of harm. “Moving this matter back to Quebec is really about holding the parents accountable for their hasty move, but in reality it punishes the parents on the backs of the children. It’s not about protecting the children or ensuring their best interests, and I submit for this reason it is the wrong choice,” she said.
Gerri Wong, a lawyer acting for one of the young parents in the action, agreed with Dragila’s position. “In my submission it is now a reality that if your honour upheld Justice Fuerth’s order and the society took steps to enforce it, we have complicating factors which really do impact on the best interests of the children,” she told the court Wednesday. Dragila originally intended to file affidavits with the court that may have shed more light on the situation of the children in care, but withdrew that motion Wednesday, saying in court that there were “a few errors and misunderstandings” with regard to the ongoing process. The affidavits remain in the separate Ontario Court of Justice process, where Justice Lucy Glenn is hearing arguments over the current situation of the children in foster care and determining to what extent the parents can have access. She has sealed the court record. SOURCE
- AMI Magazine, in an issue featuring on Lev Tahor, reports in an article by Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter that Rabbi Helbrans on a trip to England with three members of the community two weeks earlier had been returned to Canada by English immigration after arriving at an airport there. There is no court order against any of them which prevents them from leaving Canada but they were refused entry into England. SOURCE
2014/04/08 - Justice Lucy Glenn denied a request for two Lev Tahor children to spend Passover with members of the community, citing a concern over flight risk raised by the lawyer for Chatham-Kent Children’s Services, Loree Hodgson-Harris. Justice Lucy Glenn ruled instead that the two children could have access to the other children in care in Toronto and visits from their parents, but would not be returned to the community for Passover. Glenn also ordered that the parents of the children be allowed eight hours per week of supervised visits. Chatham-Kent Children’s Services agreed to pay part of the cost required for the parents to travel to Toronto where the children are in care. Glenn refused to release any of the documents filed with the court today. It’s not known exactly what the record contains, but one element filed by a lawyer for some of the children is an affidavit from a “clinical investigator.” A lawyer for the Toronto Star will fight for access to the court record Wednesday. SOURCE
- Glenn decided to have one of the access matters return to court on April 28 and the other two come back on May 7. She also ruled the only way media could access any documentation in this case, which falls under the rules of the Child and Family Service Act, is by way of a motion to the court. SOURCE
- According to Immigration Lawyer Guidy Mamann, three Lev Tahor members in Canada on religious worker visas are fighting deportation to Israel. “People who are here on religious worker visas are not considered to be doing ‘work’ because it’s of a religious nature,” says Mamann. “They’re actually issued a visitor record that allows them to work in a religious setting for years on end.” As it stands, Yochana Lavar, a 19-year-old father of three, will be sent back to Israel on April 10. Avraham Kashani, a 40-year-old father of ten, and Odel Malka, a 31 year-old mother of nine, have both also been ordered to leave Canada. Mamann said additional Immigration Review Board hearings are scheduled for Friday. Seven Lev Tahor members have immigration issues. Six were apprehended by the Canada Border Services Agency in Chatham-Kent last week. One has since been sent back to the United States and is banned from returning to Canada for one year. The two others have been released. SOURCE
2014/04/4 - It is reported by Miriam Helbrans of the Lev Tahor community that one of the children of the community had to be taken to hospital as a direct result of the trauma suffered during Wednesday's raid. "The son of ----------- is in hospital after crying and shivering the whole day when he saw in his own eyes, his rebbe, Yosef Biniamin, being handcuffed and eventually deported from Canada. He is 3 years old, he cannot breath well, and he has High temperature." SOURCE
2014/04/4 - Chatham, Ontario - The hearing of the appeal of the child apprehension order by Justice Templeton at a Chatham, Ontario courtroom had been postponed to 10:00 a.m. today, Friday 4th April, 2014. At the same time three members of the Lev Tahor community who had been arrested Wednesday 2, 2104 are to appear at a detention review in Toronto. A lawyer for the Lev Tahor community said that the immigration crackdown at the sect’s Chatham, Ontario community two days before was an unnecessary intrusion timed to disrupt the group’s preparations for this important court appeal. “Someone made a call knowing full well this would derail the community two days before a huge appeal,” Guidy Mamann said. “It looks like they wanted us to wobble into the court on one leg.”
“I guess somebody lost patience and decided to go through with the operation on Wednesday,” Mr. Mamann said. “If they would have waited a day or so, none of this would have been necessary. I don’t agree they needed to spend the resources they did on this.” SOURCE
- The Lev Tahor parents of six children named for temporary foster care who fled to Guatemala have sent a letter to an Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton pleading to be left alone. The nine-page letter sets out to refute the allegations of physical abuse, neglect and inadequate education standards. SOURCE
2014/04/02 - Chatham, Ontario - Seven members of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect were arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency over suspected immigration issues, the local Children's Aid Society said. Chatham-Kent Children's Services co-operated with the Canada Border Services Agency [CBSA], who arrested seven Lev Tahor members "who are believed to be in violation of Canada's immigration policy/laws," Stephen Doig, the Children's Aid Society's executive director. Members of the community told local radio station Blackburn News that those arrested are Israeli citizens and their visas had expired. They had been working with a lawyer in Toronto to be able to stay in Canada. The seven people are known to have 28 children and some of the children have been taken into care. SOURCE The 10 a.m. raid took place at the same hour that the group’s leaders were away in Toronto meeting with immigration officials. SOURCE
- Once the CBSA is done examining detainees they must appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board within 48 hours. As of this afternoon the board had not received information from CBSA, so the earliest a hearing would happen is Friday, but more likely Monday, said an official. CBSA can also release detainees without a hearing, if it chooses. SOURCE
-About a dozen children were briefly taken by the Children’s Aid Society. However, as of 6:30 p.m., CAS had returned all children to their families. SOURCE
2014/03/31 - Guatemala - Newsweek reported that Ana Ines Carpio, spokeswoman at the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "Even if the international appeals come in, the case would have to be reviewed by Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office. “Until that abuse is proven in Guatemala, Canada cannot proceed to take them back.” SOURCE
2014/03/30 - Chatham, Ontario - As of this day the Lev Tahor community is to be represented by veteran lawyer and lead counsel - Mr. Guidy Mamann, of Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP. Except upon the advice of their counsel, they will make no further public comment on the cases. All questions regarding the cases may be directed to Mr. Guidy Mamann. SOURCE
2014/03/25 - Chatham, Ontario - Chris Knowles, the lawyer for a Lev Tahor couple requested that his name be removed as the solicitor of record during a child welfare hearing at the Chatham courthouse. He told The Chatham Daily News that he could no longer represent his clients under rules of professional standards. SOURCE2.1
The Guardian Newspaper would report the next day that a van had been seen leaving the hotel, and the newspaper had contacted the group’s local immigration lawyer, Farai Hove Masaisai, who would only say that he was currently working on an injunction to stop that exact development. Masaisai was too late, as just 20 minutes later, the group was moved to an unmarked white plane and removed from the country. SOURCE15
Spokesman for the group, Lee Bolton, would later report to the T&T Guardian from Canada that around 5:00 p.m., Canadian law enforcement agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Chatham Kent Police, Peel Regional Police and the Canadian Border Police, had boarded a flight to Trinidad to escort the group back to Canada. She said that on Wednesday 5, 2014, the court had given the child protection service in Ontario the green light to return the children from Trinidad and Tobago. SOURCE16
Their lawyer wrote to the Minister of National Security, the Prime Minister, the Chief Immigration Officer, the United Nations and Amnesty International on the situation. He said that when he contacted Immigration officials to determine the whereabouts of the Lev Tahor nine he was told that no one was there. In his letter he stated, “In an effort to ascertain the truth I then took the decision to personally visit the Piarco International Airport and it was with my own eyes the conditions in which the above mentioned individuals were kept in was witnessed.” He said he saw “weary children and adults who had not eaten or been allowed to bathe”. “They were sitting in the cold airport and in a strange country with no one there to render any form of assistance,” he stated. “I was told of incidents where they were threatened by Immigration officers and they were fearful for their safety here in Trinidad. The manner in which they were treated personally brought me to a fundamental low and made me heavily embarrassed and ashamed to call myself a Trinidadian.” SOURCE32
Templeton said the emergency motion brought by the Children's aid society is "separate and apart from the appeal, however falls within the umbrella of the same proceeding, but concerns different issues than the appeal, from a legal perspective." SOURCE34
Superior Court of Justice Judge Lynda Templeton's secret hearing resulted in an order to immediately apprehend the 14 children of the Lev Tahor community. She excluded the media and the public from the proceedings, so the rationale for her order and any evidence presented are not known at that time. SOURCE35 She stated, “I am entirely satisfied that the extremely unusual circumstances created solely by the appellants (Lev Tahor families) themselves require, as I’ve indicated, immediate intervention of the court.” SOURCE36
2013/12/10 - Professor Yaakov M. Rabkin shared his personal involvement in the long planning stages of the ultimate relocation of the community from Quebec, as he stated: "To avoid controls stipulated in the Quebec Public Education Act, they began planning a move to Ontario several months ago. They spoke to me about this when I visited them last summer with a PhD student in anthropology from Brazil." Exhibit E - Affidavit (General) dated January 30, 2014. SOURCE55.1
2013/11/27 - The Montreal Gazetter reported another member of Lev Tahor explaining that the community members had left Quebec because the province's home-schooling regulations are too strict. He denied that there was any neglect suffered by the children. He said the whole ordeal has been orchestrated by authorities in Israel who persecute the group, because it denounces the formation of the state of Israel. He maintained that "(The youth protection director) was under tremendous pressure to find something in our houses because he got hundreds of phone calls and faxes from those people who persecute us for nothing," he said. SOURCE61
- The judge ordered the community not to contact the children, and contact with the children’s parents had to be supervised by youth protection officials. The children had been ordered to be examined by physicians and psychologists. Among the children slated to be removed was a 16-year-old mother and her infant. SOURCE63
2013/11/15 - Chatham, Ontario, Canada - Deborah Bokh was contacted by the Lev Tahor group by phone to ask for her 12 two-bedroom units. She said that they had visited in early October to examine the property ahead of their planned move. SOURCE72
2013/10/__ - Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada - Six children were removed from the community after their father, who had abandoned the sect and moved to Israel, reported they were suffering neglect. SOURCE73 Lev Tahor claims that the children were taken from their mother before civil court proceedings began. They are now in a Montreal home in the care of an Orthodox Jewish couple. Their father is allowed to visit them every day. SOURCE74
2003-2004 - Quebec, Canada - Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans was granted refugee status in Canada on the grounds that he would face persecution in Israel for his anti-Zionist views. SOURCE81