New Milford, NJ—If the name Shlomo Helbrans rings a bell with some JLBC readers, it should. He has lately been in the news because of his Lev Tahor cult—with its burqa-clad women and accusations of child abuse by the Canadian authorities in Quebec. This is not Helbrans’ first serious brush with the law. He gained his notoriety in Bergen County when he kidnapped a bar-mitzvah aged boy from his secular Israeli parents in New Milford in 1992. It was a sensational story and is one of the cases that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is alleged to have soft-pedaled. It also inspired a book published in 2001 called THE ZADDIK: The Battle for a Boy’s Soul by Elaine Grudin Denholtz.
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