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Kansas City, KS - Agudath Israel Helping Fight Custody For Kids With A Non Observent Father.

Published on: October 12, 2007 09:16 AM
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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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Read Comments (10)  —  Post Yours »


 Oct 13, 2007 at 11:11 PM Anonymous Says:

"This one case is about a Sick man who went off the Derech and became anti-religious. His hatred grew so large that he went out of his way to make sure he was mecholel Shabbos, Eat tarfis, etc""

Are ya kidding me? Sick man??!?! You are joking right...cuz he must be really sick and what a fanatic...right, cuz we never seen a "frum" jew sell us non kosher meats...much have some psychiatric disorder...

trust me..its a pandoras box that shouldnt be opened...and the search for child molesters should be stepped up...But then again, they dont get much PR for that..

This one is Hock!


 Oct 13, 2007 at 08:02 PM G-4 Commission Says:

What ever it takes to set this boy free we must do. Agudas Yisroel Had an abligation as the fighter for yiddishkiet to step in to set him free. This one case has been brought before many Rabbonim and Gedolim, not just those of the Agudah, but Rabbonim throughout the USA. This one case is about a Sick man who went off the Derech and became anti-religious. His hatred grew so large that he went out of his way to make sure he was mecholel Shabbos, Eat tarfis, etc... I incourage everyone to call the Agudah, and let them know that we stand with them in this battle.


 Oct 12, 2007 at 02:23 PM Anonymous Says:

Hey Aguda,
Its interesting how you step into peoples religion but you fail to step into children being molested. Can u explain to us why this case has priority over child molestation??


 Oct 12, 2007 at 01:00 PM Anonymous Says:

At 13 years, a child is old enough to accept the responsibility to keep the mitzvos. At that age, he should be allowed to keep them, especially since that is the way the child was raised.


 Oct 12, 2007 at 12:46 PM Anonymous Says:

To 11:18am:

The difference in this case is, that the child was brought up frum; it was the lifestyle enjoyed by the parties while they were married and while they raised their childrent. So the status quo should not be hampered with. This is a well-settled principle in regards to religion, atleast here in NY.


 Oct 12, 2007 at 12:08 PM Anonymous Says:

ok anonymous 11:18 so we let a child who wants to be a shomer torah and mitzvos be subject to coercion to violate the torah because you think it sets a bad precedent.


 Oct 12, 2007 at 11:44 AM Anonymous Says:

11:18 am - could be your right - but in this case the agudah should step in. This is a case where the boy ran away from his father because his father didn't want him being frum. Its a case where he was the happiest child around when he celebrated his Bar Mitzva just recently with many rosh yeshivas present. Its a case where the father dosent want the kid to be frum, because he went off the derech and wants to spite his wife. This is a case where this is what the kid wants & it was proven over and over again and he has no one who has the political powere to help him out. The Agudah & many rish yeshivas were involved in this particular case for a while, I'm not sure why its hitting the pess now. This is a child who was raised frum, has a loving mother and brothers where his father who used to be frum r"l got custody over the kid & is doing everything in his power to make the kid not frum. Kudos to the Agudah for finally getting involved in something they actually should be getting involved with.


 Oct 12, 2007 at 11:31 AM Anonymous Says:

Hello Agudah, Start fighting for Jerusalem the eternal capital of hakodeshbaruchwho.


 Oct 12, 2007 at 11:18 AM Anonymous Says:

I disagree with Agudah entering this debate and arena.

Once the government start getting involved in how to raise children, it is opening the pandoras box, which will be very hard to close again ever.

What will happen when a family decides to become religious, and the child refuses to be religious. Will Agudah defend the child's first amendment right to not live a religious life. Of course not, but instead secular organizations will be able to step in and claim the child for themselves, and claim that the child's rights are being violated.

I think that they have picked the wrong fight. The may win the battle, but the war that they have dragged themselves into, is not something that they want to engage themselves in.


 Nov 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM RachelJD Says:

Does any one ever know if the legal case was ever settled or if there was any type of final outcome. I have not been able to find any mention of the case or even find the Agudas Amicus Curiae brief in either the Westlaw or Lexis Legal data bases. I an researching this for a project at school


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