Unmarried 18-year old fled an extremist Jewish sect called Lev Tahor. The boy has spoken out about his horrendous upbringing and revealed that his father, who was not allowed to see a physician by his leaders, died. 

Mendy Levy was born in Canada in 2003. He recalled having to go swimming in cold snake-filled waters and eating hot peppers if he lied. He was fifteen years old when he was forced to marry his cousin (12 years ago). 

Mendy claimed that the group, founded in 1980 by Shlomo Helfrans was all about “total control.”

“You cannot do anything without permission.” He also said that if asked to do something, they have to ask for permission. 

They don’t want anyone to see outside of their world. The leader must give permission for anyone to travel.  

Mendy spoke of a time that a woman who had an allergy to sesame seeds was told to eat them to prove her faith to the rabbi.

He stated that she was dead two hours later. “She was suffering from an allergic reaction and they refused to let her call an ambulance. Lev Tahor doctors can’t be allowed without permission of the rabbi. The rabbi was to be trusted. 

Similar events happened to his dad, who had an infection in 2016 but needed to be admitted at the hospital. 

Mendy Levy, 18, who fled an extremist Jewish cult called Lev Tahor has recounted his horrific upbringing in the group, and how his father died after they refused to let him see a doctor

Mendy Levy (18), who ran an extreme Jewish cult called Lev Tahor, has spoken out about his terrible upbringing and the way his father killed him after refusing to see a physician.

Mendy said the group, which was started by Shlomo Helbrans in the 1980s, was about 'total control' and that you 'couldn't do anything without permission' (pictured: unnamed members of Lev Tahor in 2014)

Mendy claimed that Shlomo Hlbrans started the group in the 1980s and you “could not do any thing without permission”. (pictured: members unnamed of Lev Tahor, 2014)

Mendy said, “The rabbi told me no,” “My father wasn’t eating. He didn’t walk. In the space of one week and half, his condition worsened. It was over. On October 25, 2016, he died. 

During his days at Lev Tahor, Mendy said he woke up at 5:30 in the morning every day. Following shul (synagogue), the boys were made to plunge into a river of frozen snakes as part of a ritual called “mikvah.”

After that, it was back to shul for morning prayer, also called Shacharis – which would last three hours. They were then required to hear the speech of the Rabbi, sometimes lasting six to seven hours.

You could spend the rest of your day in shul or class. However, school wasn’t what you might expect. Math and science classes were absent. Mendy stated that Shlomo had written every book and wanted all students to have a good understanding of them. Therefore, the children were expected to study them all day.

“Science” was a foreign word to us. The English language was not spoken by us. He said, “No reading.” 

Lev Tahor: “If you write ABC in Lev Tahor you will get punished. Trump’s identity is unknown. We are not sure what Biden looks like. At the time, I didn’t even know what the Holocaust was. There was no iPhone or computer, and there were very few computers. 

Mendy stated that when it was about eating Mendy had to skip certain meals. Mendy also recalls being physically and mentally abused.

He replied, “There is the hitting, and the beating up.” Even a child can believe a lie when someone lies to them. They’ll take the powdered hot pepper and have it swallowed by him. After being hit, or otherwise beaten you were required to hug the victim and express your gratitude.

Lev Tahor consisted of around 60 families. The parents were forbidden from hugging their children and they would have to be removed and moved into a new house if it was discovered that the connection had been positive. 

“Why?” “Why?” Because leaders want people to trust them and believe. They don’t want to see you cry if a leader hits. He added that they had cut all contact between him and his parents. 

Mendy called Shlomo an “genius” due to the fact that he was able to brainwash and control hundreds of people over many years.

Mendy said that people believed him and would be influenced by his system. They made us see the world outside as the worst, and they only saw the good in us.

He recalled being 'physically and mentally abused.' He said he was forced to swim in freezing cold, snake-infested water and eat hot pepper if he told a lie

He recalled being ‘physically and mentally abused.’ He said he was forced to swim in freezing cold, snake-infested water and eat hot pepper if he told a lie

In 2017, Shlomo drowned and his son, Nachman Helbrans, took over. And Mendy said that things got even worse after that

Shlomo died in 2017 and Nachman Helbrans took his place. Mendy claimed that it got worse.

When he was 15 years old, Mendy was told he had to marry his 12 year old cousin, and that was the last straw for him

Mendy, then 15, was forced to marry his cousin 12 years later. That was the end of it all.

“They convinced us that Lev Tahor was the authentic Judaism, and it is better to die rather than leave.

According to the 18-year old, he experienced a panic attack after they moved from Canada in 2014 to Guatemala.

“All this pain has caused my brain to stop working. It was my intention to commit suicide. He recalled that he had just experienced an explosion.

“I spent about half an year in hospital. I was astonished at the wrongness of everything around me. It would be difficult for most children to understand. 

“But, in the hospital I started to think differently. The cult gave me a new perspective. That was when I began to think about leaving Lev Tahor.

Shlomo was drowned while on a Mexico trip in 2017. His son Nachman Helbrans took his place. Mendy claims that life was worse for the rest of the group after this incident. 

Nachman made the final straw when he announced that there would be a new rule: “Everyone must get married by 12 or 13 years of age.”

“Enough is enough,” was what I meant by that statement. At the time, I was fifteen years old. He said that they wanted me to marry my first cousin at 12 years old.

“It was not something I wanted to do and it wasn’t what she wanted to. So, I decided to leave.

He went to Canada’s embassy in Guatemala, and was issued a passport. He was eventually granted a passport after he went through several months. On October 14, 2018, he flew from Guatemala to Canada where he was met by child protection services. 

Mendy lived with at least four to five foster homes over the following years. He was adopted in January by Lavi and Bryndel, who were from the same family. His new family, he said, ‘invested lots of time in school, education and therapy. This taught him how to live and the way that the world works.

“Now I feel that I can take on any challenge. I would not feel the need to be challenged by anything. He stated that he had seen worse.

Nachman and another Lev Tahor leader Mayer Rosner were both arrested late 2018. And on Wednesday, they were convicted of child sexual exploitation and kidnapping by a federal court in New York.

The Times of Israel stated that the mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years and that maximum punishment for convictions are life imprisonment.

Mayer Rosner and Nahman Helbrans brazenly abducted two children from their mothers in the middle the night to bring a 14 year-old girl into an illegal sexual relationship. Today’s verdict makes clear that our Office – and our law enforcement partners – will not be deterred from achieving justice for victims of child sexual exploitation,’ said US Attorney Damian Williams.

Reports indicate that several other people were arrested and indicted. 

He was able to flee to Canada and was taken in by child protective services. He was eventually adopted and is now an aspiring photographer

He fled to Canada but was later taken into the care of child protection services. He was adopted by a family and is now a photographer.

He was recently able to re-connect with his brother (left), who was thankfully able to escape the cult too. He has no communication with his other nine siblings or his mom

Recently, he was finally able to reconnect with his brother (left), but fortunately escaped the cult as well. He is unable to communicate with his mother, his nine siblings and his mom.

Mendy now dreams of becoming a photographer. Mendy said, “I am trying new things.” The camera was borrowed by someone and I became inspired to take pictures. A lot of portraits and family shots are what I do.

He stated that he likes to tell his story through social media. Numerous people have responded with positive comments.

“I strive to instill confidence in them. I don’t mind if someone makes fun of my appearance. Sorry he is feeling down. He has better things to do. Let him feel happy if that makes his day better,’ he replied.

Unfortunately, his mother, three of his sisters and seven brothers are still in Guatemala. He was however able connect with his brother, and he managed to escape as well.

“No one can see the inside. It’s so shut. He explained that there are no phones. 

“But, what I do not know is that I have a brother out there in Israel. He is a pharmacist. He was my first contact since October, when I left Lev Tahor.