A storm is raging throughout the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel and the US following testimony that a boy from the Hasidic Satmar community in NY was allegedly kidnapped from his parents more than 50 years ago and adopted by a Christian Canadian couple.I also had my doubts about the "missing Yemenite children", so I started to question friends of Yemenite descent. All of those that I talked to claimed that children were stolen or almost stolen from their family. One rabbi told me that he was born in a tent, because it became common knowledge among the Yemenites in the ma'abarot that by giving birth in a hospital there is a risk that the baby will be stolen. Someone else told me that his Grandfather save his Aunt from being stolen by bribing the hospital guard. Once I was at a Yemenite wedding and I asked the people sitting at my table about the scandal. They told me to be quiet, pointing to an old Yemenite that was also sitting at the table. They told me that he still has not recovered from the child that was stolen from him, and that it would pain him to hear the subject mentioned.
The most popular ultra-Orthodox weekly, "Family" is conducting an in-depth investigation into the mysterious story. According to findings so far, some 50 years ago a Hasidic family from Bnei Brak gave birth to twins. One of the twins died immediately after birth and doctors later informed the couple that the other child had also has passed away and had been buried.
Doctors told the family that the baby had become ill and his condition deteriorated until he met his death. The stricken parents had no choice but to accept the news, however reportedly they always bore a persistent doubt as to the circumstances of their child's death. This doubt was reinforced some 18 years later when the "dead child" received a military induction order. The shocked family attributed this to nothing more than an unfortunate error.
About a month ago, in a Canadian city, thousands of kilometers from Bnei Brak, an only child opened his mother's will after she passed away. The words darted in front of his eyes and almost made him faint.
"You are a Jewish child from the city of Bnei Brak in Israel," it was written in the will. "We adopted you when you were just a few days old and we raised you without revealing your true identity. You are now entitled to know the great secret we kept from you."
The surprised son, who was raised as a non-Jew, didn't waste time and set out on a voyage to trace his biological parents.
The man in question, who works at one of the important intelligence agencies in a Western country, was quick to find his Jewish family at the Satmar community in New York, where they moved to from Bnei Brak.
The mother passed away four years ago and the father is now 85-years-old. Besides the twins, the couple had an additional 11 children throughout the ensuing years.
Two weeks ago, the man made contact with one of his biological brothers in New York, he recounted his story and asked to meet. At first, the shocked brother found it hard to believe the story, but ultimately agreed to meet his "brother." Upon their meeting it became quite clear there were clear physical similarities between the two.
For the past few days the man has been undergoing a series of genetic tests to determine his true identity and his connection to the family in question. Only after receipt of the final results will the brother tell the elderly father that his lost son has been found after an absence of 50 years.
It will also become apparent whether this man's story is the Satmar version of the missing Yemenite children in Israel.
BTW, this coming Shabbat the Torah portion tells us about how Joseph's brothers sold him.