Fighting For Release Of Children

Lev Tahor boys on recess in Chatham.

Members of the Lev Tahor community are now preparing for a legal battle to have seven children ultimately released from Jewish foster homes in the Greater Toronto Area.

A Superior Court judge ruled yesterday 13 children from the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect would not be sent back to Quebec and placed in foster care. However, they will remain in the care of CKCS until lawyers for their parents can prove they will not be at risk in the Chatham-Kent community.

“We are very, very happy. It’s a good beginning, but we still have the kids in foster care and some of them are still very afraid, but this is a good beginning to calm down the situation,” says Lev Tahor Spokesperson Uriel Goldman. “If people do not learn your curriculum, you do not need to destroy them.”

The seven children were apprehended in Central America and Calgary after they fled Chatham-Kent last month ahead of their initial appeal hearing. Six remain in Guatemala where they are reportedly seeking refugee status.

Lev Tahor continues to deny all allegations of child brides, forced marriages, abuse and neglect. Members cite pressures from the education system as their reason for leaving Quebec in the middle of the night last November.

Quebec youth protection has since ordered the apprehension of all 128 Lev Tahor children, but officials tell it is up to Chatham-Kent Children’s Services to act on the court orders.