Tuesday, April 17, 2018

'God on Earth': Followers of Hasidic Rabbi Convicted of Sexual Assault Hail His 'Superhuman Powers'

If anyone had thought that once he was released from prison, Rabbi Eliezer Berland would remain alone, unforgiven for the acts he had confessed to and bereft of followers, they were very wrong

The invitation to the event explicitly states it will start at 9 P.M. But the hundreds of people gathered in the hall in the southern city of Kiryat Gat, during one of the intermediate days of the Passover holiday, were to endure a long wait. Only when the clock struck midnight did the music heralding the arrival of the star go off.
The “Holy Man” (Tzadik), the term used by Bratslav Hasidim for their rebbe, none other than Rabbi Eliezer Berland, had arrived. The excitement hit its peak. One of the followers ran to him and managed to touch the rabbi’s tallit (prayer shawl). The rest of the men pushed and shoved, climbed on chairs and even trampled those standing in the way between them and Berland. The few who succeeded returned to their seats beaming with excitement and with glazed eyes. A similar excitement could be seen looking up to the women’s section.
A full year has passed since Berland, the leader of the Shuvu Banim Hasidic sect, was released from prison. He had served a year of his 18-month sentence for sexual assault and indecent acts against two women before being released on parole – and returned to his eagerly awaiting flock of followers.

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