BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentina’s president adopted a Jewish godson under a law intended to counteract an old legend about werewolves.
President Christina Fernandez described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family.
The adoption practice derives from an old custom by which the president adopts the seventh son born after six boys with no girls in between to prevent him from becoming a werewolf. Belief in the legend was once so widespread that families were abandoning, giving up for adoption and even killing their own sons.
The custom became a law in the 1970s and provided the boys with presidential protection, a gold medal and a scholarship for all studies until their 21st birthday. Until 2009, the law only applied to Catholic boys.
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.
On Tuesday, he became the first Jewish godson of a president in Argentina’s history. Fernandez received Yair, his parents and three of his brothers in her office, where they lit Hanukkah candles together.
The president in her tweets and photos described to her 3.4 million Twitter followers a “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.
CORRECTION: The original brief stated incorrectly that Shlomo Tawil was the director of the Chabad House in Rosario, located in central Argentina. The sentence has been deleted. The original brief also stated incorrectly that the original law was adopted in the 1920s. It was actually adopted in the 1970s.