Bloggers Aliza Hausman and MaNishtana, two excellent Jews of color, have recently called their readers' attention to the plight of a 6-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy whose mother lost custody of him. Why was this? Was she beating him? Neglecting him?
No. She converted to Judaism, prompting an anonymous tipster to accuse her of being "psychotic" and "religiously preoccupied."
Her son's well-being, for which you would think groups like Ohel would be extremely concerned, is compromised by the fact that Miryam Kohen and her son, Moshe, are African-American.
What if it were your child?
"While Moshe was tested, admitted and enrolled at the Yeshivah of Flatbush in May of 2010, Ohel removed him from Yeshiva and placed him in a public school instead. Despite Miryom Kohen's religious identification as a Sabbath observer, Miryam's visits have been set up in West Hempstead on Fridays and Saturdays, forcing her to choose between Sabbath observance and seeing her child. The birth mom Miryom Kohen states that she has experienced extreme difficulty getting Ohel to treat her as a "fellow Jew". She has also repeatedly stated that she feels she is being discriminated against because she is a Black Jewish woman of Haitian decent."The child has now been away from his mother for 15 months.
So, in the month of Elul, I think it's appropriate that we show a little ahavas Yisroel, and support this unjustly removed child and his mother. You can read more on the websites linked above, and then, when you're ready to state that Judaism and Jews care more about Tzedek than about skin-color, click here to sign the petition.
DB: Read Manishtana's post. Ohel's treatment of this woman and her son is absolutely deplorable. They deserve to be raked over multiple coals if even 10 percent of these allegations are true.
Search for more information about loving the convert at 4torah.com.