Why Did Josephine Baker Hire a Torah Tutor for a Non-Jewish Orphan?
To populate this “world village,” scholar Heather Roberson explains, the expat entertainer in the early 1950s set about gathering orphans of different origins. A Japanese orphanage contributed a Japanese boy and a Korean boy. She found a Finnish boy, and a Muslim boy and a Catholic boy from Algeria. “Eventually,” Roberson writes, “she had 12 children of diverse backgrounds.” She had trouble, however, procuring a Jew for her gorgeous mosaic.
But Baker was nothing if not determined.
When necessary, Josephine fudged the facts. Israel refused to hand over a Jewish child for her project, so she adopted a boy from a nearby orphanage and converted him, procuring a tutor of Hebrew and the Torah, and hiring a chef to keep the child kosher.
(Alas, the article is not online.)