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Lev Tahor Cult Leaders Extradited from Guatemala to the US to Face Kidnapping Charges 

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Edited by: TJVNews.com

Two Lev Tahor leaders who were arrested last year in Guatemala have been extradited to the United States to face trial, according to a report on Monday on the Yeshiva World News web site.

Yaakov and Shmuel Weingarten are facing charges of suspected kidnapping and abuse of children. The kidnapping attempt was intentionally perpetrated on Shabbos to make it more difficult for the parents to pursue them, the YWN report indicated.

On the first day of Passover last year, Yaakov Weingarten was arrested, as was reported by YWN.

The father of the Weingarten brothers, Yisrael Weingarten is currently serving a 30-year sentence in the United States for criminal offenses of a serious nature, according to the YWN report. Another Weingarten brother named Yoel was also apprehended in Guatemala on charges of child abuse and kidnapping and is facing extradition to the United States.

The measure follows last month’s sentencing of Lev Tahor cult leaders Nachman Helbrans and Mayer Rosner to a 12-year prison sentence for the same kidnapping and other serious offenses, as was reported by YWN.

According to the US Department of Justice, Lev Tahor leaders not only engaged in kidnapping but “embraced several extreme practices, including invasive monitoring of members, frequent beatings, and forced marriages of minors to adult members. Children in Lev Tahor are often subject to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.”

In February of this year, Israel National News reported that some members of the Lev Tahor cult had arrived in North Macedonia. This was originally reported in the Kikar Shabbat publication.

The cult members left Bosnia in early February and from there they continued to Montenegro, on their way to Albania, as was reported by INN.

The report added that seemingly, Lev Tahor did not receive permission to remain in Albania, and therefore continued on to North Macedonia, where they plan to remain temporarily.

Kikar Shabbat also reported at the end of January that the secret grave of a Lev Tahor cult leader in Guatemala may soon be moved to a new location.

Israel National News reported that the grave, where cult leader Shlomo Helbrans is buried, is not a legal grave, and cult members are concerned that the authorities may locate the grave and move the body to a non-Jewish cemetery. As a result, Lev Tahor is preparing to transfer the body to a new country.

Near Helbrans, two others are buried, and the cult has nicknamed the group of three graves a “cemetery.” INN reported that one of the other graves is that of Helbrans’ daughter Miriam, who died of an allergy, and the other is that of Yehoshua Levi.

INN also reported earlier this year that throughout haredi communities in the United States as well as on social media, warnings have been posted regarding one Uriel Goldman who is allegedly engaged in collecting funds for the Lev Tahor cult.

“Warning: Uriel Goldman, head of Lev Tahor, is collecting funds in Brooklyn,” reads one such posting. Another reads, “Uriel Goldman is now in Brooklyn, presenting himself as someone who is collecting funds for needy families abroad. In fact, the money is used by the Lev Tahor cult in Guatemala.” Some of the ads are written in Yiddish; several allege that the money collectors raise will be used in order to “kidnap children.”

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