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Stronger than DNA

Faigy Peritzman

Suddenly, I zeroed in on a cluster of photos of a sweet African American boy with a kippa perched proudly on his head, his warm smile gazing from various photos chronicling different stages of his life. “And who’s this?” I wondered out loud. “Oh, that’s Sruli. He’s our best friend’s son.” Best friend? Had I met this best friend? I mentally ran through the list of guests at my wedding, but couldn’t place anyone who could fit the description of Sruli’s parents.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Yitzchak and Shulamis Ravick* were living in a small community in New York, where Yitzchak was the president of the local Conservative synagogue. Eventually, the Ravicks became more interested in authentic Judaism and decided to become shomer Shabbos. Their “coreligionists” were appalled. Eventually, life became so unpleasant that they were forced to leave town.

They decided to move to a nearby community that already boasted an Orthodox shul, and sent their two children, Chana and Michael, to the nearby day school. The close-knit, growth-orientated group of families who surrounded them convinced them of the wisdom of their move.

Some time later, Shulamis received a phone call from a neighbor, Rena, whose childless sister was looking to adopt a baby. Rena had recently heard of a baby up for adoption, but while the baby’s biological mother was Jewish, the father was African-American.

Rena’s sister wouldn’t hear of it. She had dreamed of a blond-haired, blue-eyed child and couldn’t let go of this image. Rena suddenly remembered Yitzchak and Shulamis. Although they had not been looking to adopt, they had applied to become foster parents the year before, after seeing an ad for a little Jewish boy in need of a foster home. But their application was somehow lost in the bureaucratic maze, the boy had gone to another home, and the Ravicks returned to their own busy lives. Remembering this incident, Rena was spurred to pick up the phone and call Shulamis to tell her about this other child, awaiting adoption. Shulamis listened politely, repeated the conversation to her husband, then ran out to an evening class she was taking at the local community college. She promptly forgot the conversation.


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