Rabbi Berland
Rabbi Berland Flah90

Shuvu Banim founder Rabbi Eliezer Berland was taken to the hospital Sunday for an urgent operation.

Rabbi Berland, 79, is expected to spend about a week in the hospital under heavy surveillance by the prison service.

Followers of Rabbi Berland were asked on his behalf not to come to the hospital to visit him, out of fear that the arrival of his followers could cause the prison service to believe that they are attempting to help him escape and lead to their taking measures to prevent such an escape, causing his condition to worsen.

"We ask all Breslov hasidim and students of Shuvu Banim not to come to where the rabbi is hospitalized. If they see anyone from Shuvu Banim there, it may seem to them [that the students are there] to take the rabbi away, and then they would put handcuffs on the rabbi and cause the condition of the rabbi to be worsened. And then they might never [again] allow the rabbi to go to the hospital," a messenger of Rabbi Berland told the students of Shuvu Banim.

Rabbi Berland plead guilty to two charges of sexual assault against two of his female followers in a plea bargain in November. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.