The Jewish Case for Domestic Adoption

Nov. 12 2018

Frequently, American couples wishing to adopt children look abroad, sometimes because they see children born in the U.S. as less desirable, sometimes out of ignorance of their options. Malka Groden, having adopted two American-born children, explains, in both ecumenical and Jewish terms, why more families should consider domestic adoptions and comments on her own experience of doing so as a member of the tightknit community of Chabad Ḥasidim in which she and her husband live. (Interview by Kathryn Jean Lopez.)

God tells the Jewish people repeatedly in [the book of] Isaiah that we’re meant to be a light unto the nations. We have an ability to transcend considerations of race and other dividing factors, because they should be of no consequence to us as Jews and more broadly as believers. Our adoption agency couldn’t fathom that [two] ḥasidic Jews from Brooklyn were one of their more [openminded] waiting families. I think as believers we’re uniquely armed for that role.

[Yet when it comes to adoption], there really hasn’t been much of an approach or vision in the Jewish community. Orthodox Jewish families have many biological children and simply don’t have the bandwidth to adopt or foster, so it hasn’t been part of our culture unless it’s emergency services within our own communities. . . . [W]hen I speak about adoption in the Jewish community, I am constantly asked about Jewish children, because we have an ethic of taking care of our own first. That just isn’t the landscape of adoption today. There aren’t many Jewish children waiting for homes. . . .

Another important factor to consider here is race and pushing ourselves beyond what we originally thought we would be comfortable with. Children being placed for adoption are disproportionately [members of racial] minorities. I struggled with the decision to open myself to a child of another race primarily because I feared what it would be like growing up in a predominantly white Jewish community, but the numbers our agency shared with us struck me. Out of 150 waiting families, only 30 were open to a child of another race. A family that is [unwilling to adopt] a child of another race can wait for eighteen months to two years to adopt. A family that’s open has an average waiting time of six months or less.

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More about: Adoption, Chabad, Family, Racism, Religion & Holidays


Maintaining Security Cooperation with the PA Shouldn’t Require Ignoring Its Support for Terror

In accordance with legislation passed last year, the Israeli government has begun to deduct from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) an amount proportional to what the PA pays to terrorists and their families. Last year, a similar law went into effect in the U.S., suspending all payments to the PA so long as it continues its “pay-for-slay” policy. The PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has retaliated by refusing to accept any tax revenue collected by Israel—raising concerns that the PA will become insolvent and collapse—while insisting that payments to terrorists and their families are sacrosanct. To Yossi Kuperwasser, Abbas’s behavior amounts to mere extortion—which has already worked on the Europeans to the tune of 35 million euros. He urges Israel and the U.S. not to submit:

Abbas [believes] that influential Israeli and European circles, including the security establishment, view strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and certainly preventing its collapse, as being in Israel and Europe’s best interests. They will therefore give in to the pressure he exerts through the creation of an artificial economic crisis. . . .

[T]he PA leadership’s insistence on continuing wage payments to terrorists and their families, even at the price of an artificial economic crisis, shows once again that . . . the Oslo Accords did not reflect a substantive change in Palestinian national aspirations or in the methods employed to achieve them. . . . If paying wages to terrorists (including the many terrorists whose attacks took place after the Oslo Accords were in force) is the raison d’être for the PA’s establishment, as Abbas seems to be saying, . . . one cannot help asking whether Israel has to insist on maintaining the PA’s existence at any price.

True, Israel cooperates on security issues with the PA, but that serves the interests of both sides. . . . The short-term benefits Israel gains from this security cooperation, [however], are of less value than the benefits enjoyed by the Palestinians, and worth even less when measured against the long-term strategic damage resulting from Israel’s resigning itself to the constant incitement, the promotion of terror, and the political struggle against Israel carried out by the PA. Israel should not do anything to hasten the PA’s breakdown, because it has no desire to rule over the Palestinians and run their day to day lives, but it also should not feel more obligated to the PA’s continued existence than do the Palestinians themselves, thereby leaving itself open to continuous extortion.

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More about: Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror