Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
The convicted sex cult leader (face pixelated) is being moved to his next place of residence for the next quarter century. But the obsession with the "evils of sexuality" that gave him life is still rampant among us.

A district in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning sentenced to 26 years in jail a Breslaw Chassid who headed the “Jerusalem Cult,” after his convictions for sexual abuse and holding women and minors in slavery conditions in the Jerusalem and Tiberias areas. One of his “helpers” was sentenced to six year in jail. The judge also ordered the cult leader to pay some $30 thousand as compensation to his victims, but it isn’t clear how they would go about collecting, since his victims continue to give him their full support.

The story was first exposed in August, 2011, and the police said it was one of the most severe abuse cases ever. Testimonies from the women who had been taken to temporary shelters, and journals that had been kept by the women and children, provided much support to the police case. Various hospitals also provided documentation of many injuries inflicted on the children.


In September, the court convicted the cult leader of 18 out of the 20 counts with which he was charged, including keeping people in slavery conditions, abusing minors, false imprisonment, and serious violations using sex and violence.

Nine suspects were involved in the case, although it is often difficult to separate the perpetrators from the victims. The “leader” had two male assistants, who carried out the punishments he issued. The crimes were, most often, “forbidden thoughts.” The remaining six suspects were the leaders “wives,” who were themselves being abused.

The obsession with “forbidden thoughts” is at the root of a lot of craziness, unfortunately. Together with the obsession with “forbidden sights” and “forbidden sounds” it is the force that turns religiosity into a hellish exercise in fear and loathing.

Then there was the “extended family,” that included dozens of children who were raped, sexually abused, tied up, caned, and shocked.

The court sentence reads like something out of the exploits of the Marquis de Sade, including public sex and sexual punishments. Shmaria will most likely be celebrating this one, so, if you seek hard core content, by all means, go visit.

Over here, we are overwhelmed by what appears to be the bestial outcome of a movement’s obsession with the “evils of sexuality.” We should rightly identify those obsessions as belonging with the school of de Sade, and not, l’havdil, Chassidism.


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Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth,,, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


  1. All those that study kabbalah and join a movement of spirituality face the same problems. Get rid of the practice or raise the age to age 85 to allow it. Remember that two thousand years ago people died early so forty was alright. Today it has to be 85 or 90

  2. Marquee de Sade was an insane prisoner in France, he wrote his crazy stories in prison. This man acted out his blasphemies against women and children endorsing some of the more senior women to do the same. Twenty six years is a good long sentence. I'm just surprised that such cults exist in Israel?

  3. Marquee de Sade was an insane prisoner in France, he wrote his crazy stories in prison.  This man acted out his blasphemies against women and children endorsing some of the more senior women to do the same.  Twenty six years is a good long sentence.  I’m just surprised that such cults exist in Israel?

  4. I am not so sure about de Sade being the model here. Already in the 19th century there were recorded cases of mass orgies (Kock hassidim) and collective extasy among various Hassidic "courts" (hatzerot). The defendant in this trial spoke in the language of Jewish religion not the language of de Sade. In my view this is a case of mutation of something that exists. Btw: the Breslaver hassidim are known for their extreme views of women, and they literally "disappear" them from public space. It's deep pathology which now and then produces the macabre spectacle like this little dictator and abuser.

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