Argentina’s president adopts Jewish godson

Marcy Oster

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentina’s president has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history.

President Christina Fernandez described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family.

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He was adopted as a godson under a law passed in the 1920s. The law was passed in order to counteract a legend that led to the death of Argentine boys. According to the legend, the seventh son, born after six boys without any girls in-between, becomes a werewolf whose bite can turn others into a werewolf.

The belief in the legend was so widespread that families were abandoning, giving up for adoption and even killing their own sons.

The law only applied to the biological children of Catholic families until the enacting of a presidential decree in 2009, which allows children from other religions to qualify.

The boys receive presidential protection, a gold medal and a scholarship for all studies until his 21st birthday.

Shlomo and Nehama Tawil, parents of seven boys, in 1993 wrote a letter to the president asking for the honor and were denied. But this year Yair wrote a letter to the president citing the 2009 decree, and asking for the designation of godson.

Yair Tawil on Tuesday became the first Jewish godson of a president in Argentina’s history.  Fernandez received the Yair, his parents and three of his brothers in her office, where they lit Hanukkah candles together on a Hanukkah menorah from Israel presented to the president by the Tawil family.

The president in her tweets and photos described to her 3.4 million Twitter followers the “magical moment” with a “marvelous family.” She described Yair as “a total sweety,” and his mother a “Queen Esther.”

She tweeted that the Tawils “are a very special family. They have a sort of peace, happiness and a lot of love that is not common.” The tweet included a link to the presidential blog, which includes more photos from the meeting.

Shlomo Tawil is the director of the Chabad House in Rosaria, located in central Argentina