Sunday, March 09, 2008

My Appeal to You

A guest post by TikunOlam

Sometime, in the not so distant future, I hope to have the fortune of having a young African American child join my family. You see, my husband and I are in the process of becoming licensed foster parents in our state. Because in our part of the country, the majority of children in need of temporary and permanent homes are African American, we expect that chances are, the child placed in our home with be African American.

Before you ask, yes, I know what I am getting myself into. I have been working with the social service system for years and I know. I know better than most. How we made this decision is for a whole other post, so I won’t go into the details right now.

So here is my appeal to you:

Please, when you hear people use the term “shvartza” in your presence, don’t pretend you didn’t hear it. This is particularly important if it is your rabbi, shul president, child’s principal, Rosh Yeshivah or other leader in the community. Please, I urge you, don’t stand idly by as people talk in derogatory terms of “goyim” or in elitist terms of the “yiddisha cup.” And not just for the sake of the child that might join my family one day, but for all the Jews of different races and ethnicities in our midst and for all of the adopted children and adults that are already a part of our community and deserve to be welcomed as equals and with open arms. If not for them, then for the sake of raising all of our children as “menches” with “derech eretz” and respect for all human beings.

I know I don’t have to worry much about this in my community at home. There are so many wonderful Jewish multiracial families who have paved the way for my family already. They have had very little difficulty. But I come as a guest to lots of other communities where fostering and adopting may be less common when I go to family Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Auf Rufs, Brises, Shalom Bats and for Yom Tov.

I know the DovBear readers, if nothing else, care about what is right. I hope you can help me with this one.

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