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Lev Tahor Rally
February 25, 2014 permalink
The scheduled rally in support of Lev Tahor took place today in Chatham. Two news articles are enclosed.
Lev Tahor Rally Shows Support
A rally in support of Lev Tahor members’ basic human rights drew a small but dedicated crowd this afternoon in Chatham
Organizer Dave Formosa says the rally is separate from the ongoing legal battle. “Of course their culture and beliefs are different from ours so we’re just trying to get everybody to support differences within everybody.”
A superior court justice will hear the appeal regarding the future of more than a dozen Lev Tahor children March 5th.
Source: Blackburn Radio Inc
Jewish group humbled by rally, which included area residents
By Vicki Gough, Chatham Daily News, Tuesday, February 25, 2014 5:34:53 EST PM
About 40 people passionate about human rights braved freezing cold winds to wave signs at passing motorists on Grand Avenue West in Chatham Tuesday afternoon.
Their aim was to draw public attention to the treatment of a Jewish group who recently settled in the area.
Rally organizer, Dave Formosa, said he arranged the event through a Facebook group after learning that members of the orthodox Lev Tahor community were being shunned and even spat on.
"I haven't picked a side. Whether allegations (of Quebec child-welfare authorities) are proven innocent or guilty, everyone is entitled to human rights," Formosa said during the peace rally.
About 200 members of Lev Tahor, whose name means "pure heart" in Hebrew fled their homes in Quebec in the middle of a November night amidst allegations — not proven in court — of child abuse and neglect.
The story made national headlines, and has sparked debate in communities across the country, including Sarnia-Lambton.
Community leaders have said they left Quebec in search of a better place to raise their children according to their own religious beliefs.
An Ontario judge ruled 13 children named in a court order be sent back to Quebec.
Lisa Smith travelled from Corunna to join the rally.
"Just because people look different, dress differently, is no reason to turn your back on them," she said.
The 47-year-old plans to marry a Jamaican next year.
"I see it (being shunned in public)a lot," Smith said. "I'm told, 'Oh, you're one of them.'"
Rally member Nathan Koning, 31, said he sympathized with the Jewish group.
"Everyone should have the freedom to live their beliefs," Koning said.
"There is too much hatred in this world already," Koning's wife Alicja Trozynska, 27, chimed in.
The couple held signs with their 17-month-old son Jonathan to show their support of Lev Tahor.
"I actually argued with a guy to know the facts when he called them pedophiles," Koning said.
"If I had to be in their shoes and knew my children were going to be taken away, I would drop everything and run too," he added.
Clifford Quenneville, 66, and Susan Peltier, 61, of Calvary Community Church in Tilbury held an Israeli flag to show their support.
"We're here to build relationships," Quenneville said.
Retta Cadotte, 32, of Chatham, called the Lev Tahor "a complicated story."
"The parents clearly love their children ... they haven't been given a chance to prove themselves," Cadotte said.
Formosa said he visited the Lev Tahor community, north of Chatham, on several occasions over the last month and was always received with a warm welcome.
"I've spent 18 to 20 hours with them and saw kids running around happy," Formosa said.
"If we've influenced just one person today, a difference has been made."
Lev Tahor spokesperson Uriel Goldman told QMI Agency that his community was humbled by the rally.
"We thanked them and hopefully people realize ... the issues here are human rights and religious rights," Goldman said.
While the rally continued, lawyers for the 13 children and local child-welfare agencies were in Chatham court to set a March 5 date to hear legal arguments for and against sending the children into care in Quebec.
Source: Sarnia Observer