Kansas City, KS - Agudath Israel Helping Fight Custody For Kids With A Non Observent Father.
Kansas City, KS - As one of the country’s largest ultra-Orthodox Jewish organizations, Agudath Israel of America is hardly known as a liberal trailblazer.
But in an effort to help an Orthodox teenager at loggerheads with his less observant father, the organization has forged an unusual alliance with progressive legal groups seeking to expand the scope of children’s First Amendment rights.
Joining a friend-of-the-court brief filed by an array of juvenile-rightsgroups and legal scholars, the New York-based advocacy group has wadedinto a bitter and long-standing custody battle that pits Kansas City, Kan., resident Robert Solko, 49, against both his ex-wife and their four children.
The custodial parent since 2004, Solko renounced Orthodox Judaism sometime after his divorce 13 years ago. He now forbids his youngest child, 13-year-old Ephraim, to observe such Jewish rites as keeping kosher and wearing a yarmulke, according to advocates.
The protracted feud came to a head last month when local police reportedly picked up the boy after he allegedly ran away from his father’s house during the Tisha B’Av holiday. [forward]
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