An American professor on a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan finds a newborn baby girl abandoned in a railroad station. In China, where the population explosion taxes the country's resources to the limit and beyond, and where, traditionally, little value is placed on female offspring, this almost commonplace occurrence could hardly be considered noteworthy. But for Allan Scwartzbaum, it was an event that was to alter his life irrevocably. The Schwartzbaums, married for seven years and unable to have children of their own, adopt the foundling and bring her back to America with them. Because they are Jewish, although not observant, it seems only natural for them to provide their new daughter with a basic Jewish education, but this turns out to be far from simple. In order to qualify for enrollment in the local Jewish Day School., the child has to first be converted to Judaism. And in order to qualify for a legitimate conversion, she has to first be guaranteed an Orthodox upbringing. This heartwarming, true story, filled with humor and pathos, joy, frustration and ultimately, fulfillment, describes the providential chain of events that lead the Schwartzbaums from the discovery of a Chinese infant to the discovery of their Jewish heritage. Along the way, they also discover that the burdens and obligations of authentic Judaism are outweighed by its myriad benefits.
by Avraham Schwartzbaum
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