It was only a matter of time until a halakhic question would somehow creep into the Michael Jackson madness. In all the craziness of Jackson’s death, there are very real questions that have to do with the custody of Michael Jackson’s children.
While the issue I’m going to bring up will probably not come up in the actual custody precedings, I still think it is an interesting debate in terms of Jewish community support.
If you know anything about Michael Jackson’s children, you would know that his first two kids, Prince Michael I, and Paris Michael Katherine, were born out of Jackson’s ex-wife, Deborah Jeanne Rowe. The third child, Paris Michael II, was born from a surrogate.
But here is a little known fact about Deborah Jeanne Rowe. She’s Jewish.
For all we know about Rowe, she might be a great mother to these kids if she receives custody. But then again, she has had very little to do with these children during their lives. Jackson had full custody of them and there was no legal battle. This could easily be seen in the court that she cares very little about the kids.
The other option is for the family of MJ, either a sibling or his parents (his mother has actually just filed for custody), to take custody of the kids. Of course, I know nothing about any of these peoples parenting skills (except for the fact that they produced the most screwed up child star in history), but that isn’t what I’m discussing.
As Jews, regardless of who may be the better parent, should we be supporting Rowe because she may raise the children Jewish? By giving the children to the Jackson family, are we saying that we are okay with giving up on two Jews to be part of our community? Then again, I just can’t get past the fact that Rowe has had such small role in these children’s lives.
In this case, does their Judaism matter?