EPILOGUE TO BAPTISM ANNULLED
Maria had at least two children by her second husband. I lost track of her around 1990.
Archbishop McCarthy and the Archdiocese of Miami stepped up efforts to improve Catholic-Jewish relations. McCarthy would have made a wonderful Bishop of Rome, but he retired in 1994, and passed away in 2005 at the age of 87. While McCarthy appears to have stood for the best of Catholicism, his Church slipped back to its former ways when it selected as its leader Pope Benedict XVI, a man who had previously worn the Nazi uniform. The good news is that he stepped down and was replaced by Pope Francis, who seems to be friendlier to the Jewish people.
As for Bobby, when he was ten (in 1987) I took him to Mount Sinai, Egypt where we both gave thanks for the answer to my prayer there eight years earlier. In 1988 he and Kathy, studying under the direction of Rabbi Zevulon Yerachmiel Glixman, both earned Orthodox conversions.
We moved to Israel briefly in 1992 where I worked part time at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Maria didn’t show up in court to block my motion to remove him from the U.S. I bought my long dreamed of sailboat and brought it over to operate on a charter basis, but Hurricane Andrew destroyed our house in Florida before we could close on the sale of the property.
Robert never notified his mother of his return to America. He attended four high schools over four years – one in California, two in Florida, and one in Silver Spring, Maryland scoring a perfect 800 in Math on his SAT and 740 in English. He won a Type I ROTC scholarship to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a bachelor’s degree in geophysics and a commission as a second lieutenant. His first set of orders was supposed to be to Space Command, and I was ecstatic.
He never made it to Space Command. Instead, he obtained a five-year deferment from active duty in order to become an Orthodox rabbi and military chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, having served in Texas, Kuwait and Qatar. For about four years (2003 to 2007) we were actually on active duty at the same time. He has many children - see photo of 4 of them).
Kathy and I also had a child of our own. Like his half-brother, David is brilliant and my research partner in the area of Martian Meteorology. At the age of 18, he graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a major is space physics and on July 11, 2016 he earned his PhD in physics at the University of Florida. As for Robert turning out to be an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, all I can say is be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
Barry S. Roffman
August 17, 2016