Elian Redux (Satmar hypo)
LEVINSON at JURIS.LAW.NYU.EDU
Mon Apr 24 10:59:33 PDT 2000
Assume that a mother flees the restrictive world of the Satmar Chassidic community with her six-year-old child in tow. As she arrives at the home of her secular Jewish relatives (who despise the Satmars and everything they stand for), she dies. The father shows up, asking for the child. The relatives refuse, saying (altogether correctly, from my own perspective as a secular Jew), that the child would have a far better life away from the totalitarian (see Erving Goffman for the definition of "total communities") confines of the Satmar world. Does this support a) the grant of custody to the secular relatives; b) a decision by a judge that it would indeed be in "the best interests of the child" to be raised in the secular (or, to make it slightly less loaded, the Conservative) environment of the relatives?
Eugene, no doubt, will say that Castro's Cuba is altogether worse than the Satmars. Frankly, I tend to doubt that. (Perhaps it's marginally worse.) And, of course, we don't know what Cuba would be like if it weren't victimized by the American embargo (or how much worse the Satmars would be if they weren't the beneficiaries of New York political largesse).
What, if anything, am I missing?
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