Friday, March 22, 2013

Case of Rabbi Eliezer Berland

Case of Rabbi Eliezer Berland

Mea She'arim, Jerusalem, Israel
Rosh Yeshiva - Yeshivat Shuvu Bonim, Jerusalem, Israel
Betar Ilit, Israel
Brooklyn, NY

Morocco
Zimbabwe 
Venezuela


Allegations made that Rabbi Eliezer Berland sexually assaulted a woman.  Berland was born in Haifa, Israel in 1937.  


A Facebook page for victims of the rabbi's alleged abuse from the Hasidic sect, which was launched by a Haredi woman outside it, has seen a steadily growing number of subscribers. According to the woman who manages the page, several women have been in touch with her privately, and told her that they too had been sexually harassed. The descriptions are similar: "They came into the room to receive a blessing from the rabbi and it ended in lickings, roaming hands and statements such as, 'I am taking all offenses from you.'" She adds that several of the women say they subsequently received money from Berland, sums of $500-1,000, but are afraid to complain and are not willing to speak with the authorities about this.

Eliezer Berland was born 1937.  He's affiliated with the Breslov Hasidic movement in Israel.   In the past he was the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Shuvu Bonim (also known as Yeshivat Nechamat Zion), which was located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.  According to websites he was involved with the kiruv movement and has counseled tens of thousands of Jews from secular backgrounds to draw closer to the Torah path. He is a member of Vaad Olami D'Chasedai Breslov (World Committee of Breslov Chassidim), a supervisory council for many Breslov activities.

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Table of Contents:  


2010

  1. Jerusalem hassidic leader was held ‘captive for years’ (12/20/2010)

2013

  1. Bio: Rabbi Eliezer Berland
  2. 2 men allegedly attack hasid on rabbi's orders (03/05/2013)
  3. An exclusive interview with the main witness against Rabbi Berland: "He lay down naked"(03/11/2013)
  4. Haredi world divided over latest sexual harassment scandal (03/22/2013)
  5. What does it take for a woman to accuse her rabbi of sexual harassment?  (03/22/2013)
  6. Fewer Hasidim fly to Uman this year (09/04/2013)
  7. 100s of Chassidim Traveling to Morocco to be with Rav Berland (07/09/2013)
  8. Rabbi Berland’s Growing Kehilla in Morocco (10/30/2013)
  9. Rabbi Berland Ordered Leave Morocco (11/07/2013)
  10. Rav Berland Has Left Morocco (11/08/2013)
  11. Morocco expels fugitive Israeli rabbi (11/09/2013)
  12. Rabbi Berland Is On The Move – Someplace (11/10/2013)



Also see:


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Jerusalem hassidic leader was held ‘captive for years’
By Jonah Mandel
Jerusalem Post - December 20, 2010


For 10 years Rabbi Eliezer Berland says he was little more than a marionette controlled by his son and grandson.

A scandal that is rocking the Breslov community of Shuvu Banim has taken another twist, with its spiritual leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s return to his Jerusalem home from his hiding place in the North on Saturday night, after breaking away from 10 years of captivity, during which he says he was little more than a marionette controlled by his son and grandson.

Some two weeks ago, prominent members of the small Jerusalem-based community found a DVD outside their homes, containing videos and documents proving that the 73- year-old Berland was in fact being controlled by his son, Rabbi Nachman Berland, and grandson Nathan Berland, who for years prevented direct access to the older man and dictated his every move and action.

Shortly afterward, Eliezer staged his kidnapping to flee to the North, where he took refuge in Moshav Amirim, initially not disclosing his whereabouts. In a phone call with some 20 of his closest hassidim, Eliezer recalled the torment he underwent.

“I was locked at home for 10 years,” he said. “They wanted to admit me to an insane asylum. Over the course of the last year, I’ve been admitted to hospitals every two weeks, because of the duress I was subject to,” he said.

The senior Berland said he’d return only on the condition that he would regain control over the community, and the security personnel surrounding him at his son and grandson’s demand be removed, thus enabling direct contact between him and his hassidim.

Following Berland’s demands, a new six-man management team was formed to help lead the community.

But pressure from within the Berland family led to Nachman being included on the team, following Eliezer’s approval this Friday.

The other members of the team, however, are fearful that Nachman’s presence would mean he would dominate his father.


On Saturday night, the elder Berland returned to his home in the capital’s Morasha neighborhood, where gung-ho hassidim demonstrated their determination that their leader be given his freedom, without the shackles of his son’s alleged domination.

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Bio: Rabbi Eliezer Berland






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2 men allegedly attack hasid on rabbi's orders
By Aviel Magnezi
YNET News - March 5, 2013


Aharon Yaakov Richter and David Avraham Shem Tov, followers of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, were indicted Tuesday of allegedly beating Itay Nachman Shalom, a former follower of the rabbi's, after he accused the rabbi of making inappropriate sexual advances.
  
The indictment, filed with the Jerusalem District Court, said the two were acting on the rabbi's instructions to "Break the bones of the renegade hasid."



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An exclusive interview with the main witness against Rabbi Berland: "He lay down naked"
By Aviad Glickman 
News Nana 10 - March 11, 2013
Crime and Justice 
http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=964075&sid=126

(Translated Using Google) 
Me Nachman Rabbi Shalom see the revered him an intimate situation with a young girl, and decided to tell the police. In response, he was attacked by the students of Rabbi responded by firing at them. He currently sits under house arrest and a special conversation with Channel 10 reporter he says: "Rabbi mental patient who needs hospitalization, I fear for my life"

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ראיון בלעדי עם העד המרכזי נגד הרב ברלנד: "הוא נשכב עליה עירום"

פלילים ומשפט |

איתי נחמן שלום ראה את הרב הנערץ אליו בסיטואציה אינטימית עם תלמידה צעירה, והחליט לספר על כך למשטרה. בתגובה, הוא הותקף על ידי תלמידים של הרב והגיב בירי לעברם. כיום הוא יושב במעצר בית ובשיחה מיוחדת עם כתב ערוץ 10 הוא טוען: "הרב חולה נפש שזקוק לאשפוז, אני חושש לחיי"


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Haredi world divided over latest sexual harassment scandal
Since allegations of sexual assault by Bratslav rabbi Eliezer Berland have come to light, some families have left the community.
By Yair Ettinger
Haaretz - March 22, 2013

A disciple of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who recently ended contact with him, says: "There is the hard core, which does not believe that anything happened. Even if the rabbi were to confess to the actions he's accused of under interrogation, even if you were to show them video documentation of what [is alleged to have] occurred - they would not abandon him. They will say: There is a secret here, it is hard to 'attain' [i.e., understand] the rabbi. Or [members of his community] will say: He did these things intentionally, because harsh 'precepts' [divine punishment] are pending against the people of Israel, and if the rabbi acts contemptibly, he can prevent a future holocaust. There are also those who are convinced that they slipped Ecstasy into the rabbi's medications, without his knowledge. These are excuses that can serve forever."

Indeed, most members of the Shuvu Banim community, an insular group of newly religious believers belonging to the Bratslav Hasidim, have remained loyal to Berland. Among the hundreds of families in the community, the vast majority have remained with the rabbi and are loyal to the educational institutions of the community. Lately, however, with the growing evidence of sexual assaults - evidence that began to emerge with the filing of complaints by individual women that followed publication of an initial accusation by a disciple who claimed to have witnessed the rabbi having sex with a woman from the community - there has been a change. Some 20 families, hardly a negligible number, decided in recent months to leave the fold. Dozens more have begun to distance themselves from the rabbi, and are gradually moving closer to his son, Rabbi Nachman Berland, who heads a branch of the community in Betar Ilit, just outside of Jerusalem. Nachman has long been considered his father's successor, although rivalry and intrigue are palpable between the two men.

Shuvu Banim, founded in the late 1970s, has a yeshiva in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. Most of the group's members live on a single street on the outskirts of Mea She'arim, or in the branch in Betar Ilit. Rabbi Berland has boasted of his relations with crime families, but over the years police and army officers have also been regular visitors to his chambers.

The community operates on the fringes of Haredi society, and many ultra-Orthodox take exception to Berland's directives to his disciples to take risks (such as driving at excessive speeds to the graves of tzadikim - holy men - or, specifically, to infiltrate Nablus in order to visit Joseph's tomb ), and to undergo purification that involves personal humiliation.

Nonetheless, in recent years Berland has been granted increased legitimacy in certain rabbinic circles. The ultra-Orthodox world, which always treated him with suspicion, also began to embrace him. Berland had the privilege in recent months, for example, of sitting at one of the tables of honor at the main siyum hashas ceremony (marking completion of a full cycle of daily Talmud study ) held by the United Torah Judaism party ), and at the same party's most important election rally.

Nonetheless, the testimony against Berland that is now coming to light has the Haredi world, and in particular the Shuvu Banim community, in an uproar. No less shocking than the criminal aspect of the matter is the fact that sexual asceticism is one of the main spiritual foundations that Berland preaches - and in this case he was apparently caught red-handed.
This scandal comes on the heels of a stormy series of events that has been ongoing since late 2010; indeed, it turns out that allegations of sexual assault by him were already being made back then. Berland previously staged a sort of "coup" against his wife, son and members of his court, when he allowed publication of his claim that they were confining him against his will, seeking to have him committed, and denying him contact with his disciples.

The rabbi, as part of his revolt, managed to elude, with the aid of a handful of loyalists, the security guards keeping watch over his house, and announced that he had escaped from captivity. Meanwhile, video clips came to light in which his son and grandson are documented in conversations acknowledging that they were exploiting him. A while later, the rabbi reconciled with his family, but the community was left traumatized and divided. Many left, the rabbi fell into debt, and about a year ago several of his senior disciples, including businessman Eran Hochberg (a former youth chess champion ) and Binyamin Ze'evi (son of the late politician and government minister Rehavam Ze'evi ), also jumped ship.

The speculation within the community is that the allegations of sexual harassment reached his wife, Tehila Berland, and son Nachman even before they became public knowledge. For that reason, sources say, the pair sought to keep him out of the public eye, as Eliezer Berland himself has charged.
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What does it take for a woman to accuse her rabbi of sexual harassment?
It took some time for A. to realize she was being abused. Since then, her world collapsed.
By Tamar Rotem
Haaretz - March 22, 2013

It took A. some time to realize she had been sexually harassed by Rabbi Eliezer Berland - a holy and righteous man in her eyes - and for her to file a police complaint. She is 18, married, her pretty face wrapped tightly in a black kerchief in the so-called Jerusalem fashion. She is going through a crisis, not only as a woman who was sexually harassed, but also as someone who was raised with a unique system of beliefs, at the center of which is the rabbi, the righteous foundation of the world.

Since A. became disillusioned, her world has collapsed. She stopped working, and her life now revolves around both the court case and the rift in her community, which has shunned her since she submitted her complaint to the police.

"I am the daughter of a veteran disciple of the rabbi," she says. "My father still believes in him. I think that if he were to cease believing, he would die from it. Today, now that I am outside, I understand that Shuvu Banim is a false Hasidic sect that is only after money. Everything the rabbi would do was very peculiar, not ordinary. He would yell, would travel around at night to tikkunim [sessions of 'spiritual repair'], and we'd follow after him.

"My husband is a righteous one. Our vart [a Yiddish term for an occasion that proceeds a betrothal] was at the rabbi's. We waited there all night. My husband cried to the guards to let us in to see the rabbi, and only at 5 A.M. did we break a plate. I was pleased. It was a matter of pride between me and my girlfriends that I had a groom who would chase after the rabbi. After the sheva berakhot [the week of nightly meals and blessings after a wedding], my husband continued his pursuit of the rabbi. He would go to Hebron, Amuka [in the Galilee] - wherever the rabbi was, my husband would chase after him. Later I joined in too.

"We thought we were demonstrating our devotion. For a year after our marriage, I did not have a single evening with my husband, because I was busy, in pursuit: We were the rabbi's minions. There was a group of women who pursued the rabbi. The rabbi would excite us, suddenly emerge from the car, do tikkun, and then get in and drive off. I worked from noon until 4 P.M., so that I would have time to sleep in a little in the morning, but many times I would telephone and say that I wasn't feeling well. So I also wasn't receiving a proper salary.

"My father instilled in us at that the rabbi is the essence of spirituality at home. I began going to the rabbi too, because we'd heard you could get a blessing. Once we used to see him from afar, but now we realized that you could get in to see him without paying millions of shekels. We got excited, we started going to him at night.

"The first time I went in to the rabbi, it was with another woman: He gave us a kiss on the forehead. Something gentle, a kiss from the righteous one. At the time I didn't think it was unusual, but from a kiss it developed into holding you, touching, licking. A lot of women don't believe the rabbi touched and kissed [others], because he didn't touch them. These are older Ashkenazi women.

"If he had touched them, they would have done him in. So he did it to us, the innocent disciples. Like that, so we wouldn't feel it, his hands were constantly fluttering about. He would come close and do it quickly without your realizing, with three or four women in the room - caress this one, embrace that one. One day he told my husband, 'Your wife will have the privilege of being in the world of nobility' [a higher realm the soul belongs to, according to kabbala]. It was only afterward that we understood he was preparing him.

"That time I had come with my husband to the rabbi as usual, and he said, 'You stay here and you come with me.' He locked me in his room and went out. When he entered he pointed to the bed. I don't remember what he said to me. He kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth. He held me real tight, my whole body, close to his, and he became dreadfully excited and panted. He told me, 'Now you are in the world of nobility,' and licked my face until it was really sticky. I was fighting with myself not to do anything. To this day I am traumatized by it.

"After that he put his hands under my blouse and felt me up brusquely. And then he opened the door and I ran to my husband and told him excitedly that the rabbi said I was in the world of nobility. We began to fight, because my husband understood."

'I miss kissing you'

A. says Berland frequently preached sexual abstinence. "For nine months he told me and my husband not to touch. From the time we married, we were prushim [abstaining from sexual relations]. It killed us. Sometimes we would touch and then we'd say, 'The rabbi will be mad at us.' My husband and I would go in and I would ask the rabbi, 'When will we be blessed with children?' He would say, 'You are not touching each other? You will be visited.' We were naive. I thought I would have children just because the rabbi promised me we would be visited. But he kept on saying, 'Now go immerse yourself' [in a ritual bath], as though he was ensuring that I would be pure for him. In front of other people he would ask: 'When did you go to immerse yourself?' I whispered in his ear, and he would say in front of the others that I had gone. I would feel embarrassed. The rabbi would call all the time: I love you, miss you, miss kissing you. But he would mix this sort of talk with holy talk. And then all of a sudden he stopped calling me."

A. came to her senses with the help of a veteran disciple of the Bratslav Hasidic sect. "The Hasid's daughter was a friend of mine," she explains. "She would go in to the rabbi every night, like me. After the incident occurred [the sexual harassment], her father told her he a secret scroll, which told of 18 women who were each tied to the righteous one [the rabbi] on a different side of the body and how each has a part in redemption. We came to her father and began talking to him about it. Suddenly he said, 'Enough, there is no secret scroll. The rabbi is despicable.' We were shocked. He called our husbands and told them. Only then did we understand what had happened, and everything blew up."

The public suspicions regarding sexual harassment by Berland arose during the course of an a police investigation into a dispute and shooting within the Hasidic sect. The investigation concluded that the dispute broke out following an attempt to silence Itai Nachman Shalom, a disciple of Berland who witnessed him having sex with a woman from the community, and refused to keep quiet about it. Since the scandal's eruption a few months ago, the Shuvu Banim sect has been split between the rabbi's supporters and detractors.

Berland, who is apparently in the United States now, knows he is under investigation for sexual harassment, and is represented by the Tel Aviv attorney Jacob Weinroth.

Women from the community are now offering support to the ones who say they were harassed and are encouraging them to seek help. The women wish to remain anonymous because they fear the wrath of thugs within the sect. They explain that Berland took advantage of weak women by force of his charisma. They say both he and his disciples explained to the women that by means of their submission, they were "helping" the rabbi to battle the Iranian threat facing Israel, and to prevent a holocaust from being visited on its people. A lot of women were hurt but are for now keeping mum, they say.

A Facebook page for victims of the rabbi's alleged abuse from the Hasidic sect, which was launched by a Haredi woman outside it, has seen a steadily growing number of subscribers. According to the woman who manages the page, several women have been in touch with her privately, and told her that they too had been sexually harassed. The descriptions are similar: "They came into the room to receive a blessing from the rabbi and it ended in lickings, roaming hands and statements such as, 'I am taking all offenses from you.'" She adds that several of the women say they subsequently received money from Berland, sums of $500-1,000, but are afraid to complain and are not willing to speak with the authorities about this.

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Morocco expels fugitive Israeli rabbi
Ha'aretz - November 9, 2013

The leader of a fringe ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem is wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a number of disciples.


Rabbi Eliezer Berland, a leader of an ultra-Orthodox community who fled Israel to escape charges of sexual misconduct, was expelled from Morocco where he has been living for the past seven months, the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom reported.

A detailed article published in one of Morocco's major newspapers had prompted the Moroccan monarch to order Berland, who had settled in Marrakesh after fleeing Switzerland with which Israel has extradition agreements, to pack his things and leave the country, Israel Hayom reported. Israel does not have an extradition agreement with Morocco.

Members of the community Berland heads – Shuvu Banim – said that the rabbi was leaving Morocco for reasons of security.

The story started about a year when a woman in the Shuvu Banim community, an insular group of newly religious believers belonging to the Bratslav Hasidim, charged that Berland had sex with her.

Among the hundreds of families in the community, the vast majority have remained with the rabbi and are loyal to the educational institutions of the community. Lately, however, with the growing evidence of sexual assaults - evidence that began to emerge with the filing of complaints by individual women that followed publication of an initial accusation by a disciple who claimed to have witnessed the rabbi having sex with a woman from the community - there has been a change.

Shuvu Banim, founded in the late 1970s, has a yeshiva in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. Most of the group's members live on a single street on the outskirts of Mea She'arim, or in the branch in Betar Ilit. Rabbi Berland has boasted of his relations with crime families, but over the years police and army officers have also been regular visitors to his chambers.

The community operates on the fringes of Haredi society, and many ultra-Orthodox take exception to Berland's directives to his disciples to take risks (such as driving at excessive speeds to the graves of tzadikim - holy men - or, specifically, to infiltrate Nablus in order to visit Joseph's tomb ), and to undergo purification that involves personal humiliation.


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100s of Chassidim Traveling to Morocco to be with Rav Berland
Yeshiva World - July 9, 2013


Hundreds of Breslov Chassidim are flying to Morocco for Tisha B’Av to be with their rebbe, Rabbi Eliezer Berland. The rav fled Israel to avoid arrest. He is alleged to have assaulted people and if he returns to Israel he will be placed in custody.

Chassidim explain the decision to observe Tisha B’Av with the rosh yeshiva of Shuvu Banim is twofold, to benefit from being in the presence of the tzaddik as well as giving him a chizuk in light of the allegations against him and his forced exile from Eretz Yisrael.

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Fewer Hasidim fly to Uman this year 
By Moshe Heller
YNET - September 4, 2013 

Members of Breslov Hasidic group irked by decision to stop subsidizing trips to Rabbi Nachman's grave in Ukraine. Meanwhile, travel agencies experience drop in reservations following community leader's escape to Morocco over sexual harassment allegations

A significant drop has been recorded this year among in the number of Breslov Hasidim flying to the grave of Rabbi Nachman in Uman, Ukraine ahead of the Jewish High Holidays.

One of the reasons cited for this situation is the escape of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, leader of the "Shuvu Banim" Breslov community, to Morocco. Another reason is the decision to stop subsidizing ultra-Orthodox passengers' flights to Kiev on behalf of the "Shuvu Banim" community.

Following the decision to stop subsidizing the trips, many of the community's Hasidim have declared a boycott on flights to Uman until the costs are reduced.


Travel agencies have been to deal with the new situation by using creative ways to lure the haredi audience to Rabbi Nachman's grave, like posting ads declaring it is a duty to spend Rosh Hashana in the city the rabbi is buried in.

In the information center for the Hasidim, the organizers of the Uman trips have even held a draw for flight tickets for those who pray for yeshiva students that are banned from leaving the country by the army and are interested in reaching the rabbi's grave.

In a petition sent to the homes of the Hasidim, the boycott initiators wrote: "Only about two month ago, a large Hasidic movement traveled with charter planes to Poland, which is further away than Kiev, for $200 round trip. The price was not subsidized; this is what they got from the airline. We can see the power of a large and organized group."

Sources in the Hasidic movement explain that the drop in the number of reservations did not only stem from the costs but also from the possibility that Rabbi Berland, who is suspected of committing sex offenses on women, would not travel to Uman for fear of being extradited to Israel. Therefore, many of the Hasidim are staying in Israel or flying to Morocco to be with him.

At the same time, the Hasidic movement's rabbis banned trips to Uman on a ship for fear of the participation of women in the journey. In addition, round trip tickets were raffled among those who read Psalms for yeshiva students banned from leaving the country without the army's permission.

"It's no secret that many of the passengers are yeshiva students who are not allowed to fly because of the IDF or criminals who are getting closer through Breslov, and the competition was created for them," one of the sources said.

This month marks a year since the period when the "Shuvu Banim" community began splitting and falling apart. Exactly this time this year, economic problems began to surface in the philanthropic companies which helped fund the flights for thousands of Hasidim.


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Rabbi Berland’s Growing Kehilla in Morocco
Yeshiva World - October 30, 2013


Now that it is clear that Rabbi Eliezer Berland is not returning to Eretz Yisrael any time in the near future, dozens of his chassidim have decided to move, relocating to Morocco to be with their rebbe.

Rabbi Berland fled Israel to avoid arrest, and if he returns to Israel he will be placed in custody.

Realizing their rebbe is now a resident of Morocco, Maariv reports it has learned that over ten Breslov families affiliated with the rav’s Shuvu Banim Yeshiva have opted to leave Israel and take up residence with the rav’s new community. Members of the community in Morocco report there are already over 40 children from newborn to 15-years-old in the Morocco community and they are now working to set up schools. At present, the children are home schooled, but for the boys it appears the framework is a bit more organized.


The families are living near the shul, apparently an inexpensive area and because they are together there is a great deal of support with the families assisting one another.One member of the new growing kehilla stated “All that is missing here is Bomba [peanut snack] and cola for we have everything else we need”.


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Rabbi Berland Ordered Leave Morocco
Yeshiva World - November 7, 2013


Ordered by government officials, Rabbi Eliezer Berland is being compelled to leave Morocco after about a seven-month stay. Wanted for alleged crimes in Israel, the rav cannot return home so it appears in the coming days he will have to find a new home, a country that does not have an extradition agreement with Israel. Barring any last minute government change of heart the rav will be compelled to leave Morocco in the immediate future, perhaps as soon as a matter of days.

The announcement comes just as a number of families of the rav’s chassidim have relocated to Morocco to be with him. Schools are being established and recently there were signs the rav was rebuilding his kehilla. It appears the influx of his chassidim and their families is what pushed Moroccan officials to compel the rav to leave. Local philanthropists who are close to the rabbi tried to intercede and use their influence with government officials on his behalf but their efforts were unsuccessful.


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Rav Berland Has Left Morocco
Yeshiva World - November 8, 2013

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, leader of Breslovs’ Shuvu Banim community, has left Morocco after a seven-month stay. As was reported by YWN-ISRAEL, as more families affiliated with the rav relocated to Morocco to be with their rebbe, authorities became uncomfortable with the situation and the rabbi was instructed to leave the country.

It appears the because of the large Muslim population, authorities felt the chassidim arriving with their families, and their obvious outer Jewish appearance, created new security concerns which police felt they cannot or do not wish to address.

While local askanim who are close to the rabbi tried to intervene on his behalf, their efforts were unsuccessful and the rav has left. The rabbi reportedly left on Thursday night the eve of 5 Kislev 5774, accompanied by a small number of close chassidim. They reportedly headed to a stopover country and from there they will select a more permanent place to settle. Because the rabbi is wanted for alleged crimes in Israel he cannot settle in a country that has an extradition agreement with Israel.


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Rabbi Berland Is On The Move – Someplace
Yeshiva World - November 10, 2013


After being forced to leave Morocco, the Rosh Yeshiva of Breslav’s “Shuvu Banim” Rabbi Eliezer Berland traveled to Cairo. It is reported by Maariv that from there the Rabbi plans to head for Zimbabwe, Africa as he seeks a new home.

Rabbi Berland’s  travels began when he fled Israel to avoid arrest. He set up shop in Morocco, where he was for seven months until being instructed to leave, last week. However, some of the rav’s talmidim contradict the Maariv report, stating he spent Shabbos in Johannesburg, and not in Cairo.

Maariv quotes one of his chassidim explaining “The rav has chassidim around the world and he is welcome anywhere and will receive assistance wherever he decides to go.” It is explained that he left S. Africa after Shabbos with a very small entourage and purchased tickets to a number of destinations to confuse those trying to track him down.

He appears to be deciding between Zimbabwe and Venezuela. He decided to head to Zimbabwe as a temporary stop over and he does plan to continue to Venezuela, Maariv adds.

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